On 15 May 2019, the city of Bishkek in the Kyrgyz Republic was the venue of the 16th meeting of ministers of culture of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation's member-states. Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of India Shri Arun Goel, Vice Minister of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Kazakhstan Aktoty Raimkulova, Representative of the Minister of Culture and Tourism of the People's Republic of China Wang Xiaofeng, Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic Azamat Zhamankulov, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan to the Kyrgyz Republic Faisal Niaz Tirmizi, Deputy Minister of Culture of the Russian Federation Nikolai Ovsiyenko, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Tajikistan Shamsiddin Orumbekzoda, First Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Uzbekistan Ozodbek Nazarbekov and Deputy SCO Secretary General Xie Xiaoyong took part in the meeting.
Minister of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic Azamat Zhamankulov chaired the event.
The ministers of culture of SCO member-states discussed expanded cooperation in the field of culture and art during the period under review in a friendly atmosphere and also voiced mutual understanding. They exchanged opinions on the implementation of the agreement on cultural cooperation between the governments of SCO member-states that was signed on 16 August 2007 in the city of Bishkek, as well as agreements reached during earlier meetings of ministers of culture of the Organisation's member-states.
Representatives of member-states voiced their mutual striving to further expand intra-SCO cultural ties, to strengthen their shared understanding and respect, to ensure the harmonious co-existence of various ethnic groups and to actively spread knowledge about age-old traditions as well as the customs of the peoples of SCO member-states.
The sides called for further streamlining bilateral and multilateral cooperation with SCO observer states and dialogue partners in the sphere of culture and the arts.
Representatives of member states reaffirmed their readiness to invigorate cooperation in such fields as studying and preserving cultural and natural heritage, including UNESCO's world heritage sites in the SCO region, preventing the theft and illegal imports/exports of cultural values, the creation of databases listing cultural landmarks, training specialists in the area of cultural-heritage preservation, the restoration of art masterpieces and other aspects of mutual interest.
The sides noted that joint events in the sphere of culture and art facilitated greater mutual understanding between peoples, as well as the preservation of the diversity of cultures and the dissemination of knowledge about national cultures worldwide.
They agreed to actively strengthen cultural exchanges and cooperation between SCO countries that are located along the historic Silk Road and also acknowledged the Kyrgyz side's report about the possibility of holding the Silk Road Fest International Great Silk Road Festival from 2021.
The sides will continue to work actively to fulfil the plan of events to implement the agreement on cultural cooperation between the governments of SCO member-states in 2018-2020 that was approved 17 May 2018 in the city of Sanya.
The parties thanked the Ministry of Culture, Information and Tourism of the Kyrgyz Republic for the warm hospitality and for the wonderful organisation of the meeting of ministers of culture of the SCO member-states.
Representatives of the member-states agreed to hold the next meeting of ministers of culture of SCO member-states in 2020. The meeting's specific deadlines and venue will be coordinated through diplomatic channels via the SCO Secretariat.
The heads of the delegations are convinced that the implementation of the entire range of cultural events will help expand mutual understanding as well as further develop relations of friendship, neighbourliness and mutually beneficial cooperation between the SCO member-states.