The Honour Day of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was held at the Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition (Expo 2019) on 6 July 2019.
The event was attended by members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of the Chinese government as well as business and artistic communities, plus journalists who admired the SCO pavilion and landscape exposition.
At the opening, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov pointed out that the main theme of Expo 2019, Live Green, Live Better, expressed humankind's desire to live in harmony with nature. The SCO countries are known for their unique nature, clean air, divine mountains, endless forests and wide steppes, as well as deep rivers and mirror-like lakes, the SCO Secretary-General said. The flora and fauna in the SCO countries is also very diverse due to the vast territory of the member states.
"There are many pristine regions free from the impact of industry in the SCO countries. It is the task of our nations to preserve our unique nature and to think not only about human comforts but also about future generations," Vladimir Norov noted.
He pointed out that the SCO Concept on Environmental Protection, which was adopted following the Qingdao Summit in 2018, stipulates joint efforts in environmental security, adaptation to climate change, waste management, improving the quality of environmental education and the promotion of the principles of Green Growth. This is evidence of the SCO's desire to consolidate efforts to protect the environment in the vast Eurasian space.
The Beijing International Horticultural Exhibition features a wide array of exhibits from some 100 countries and a number of international organisations, which demonstrate their knowledge, traditions and unique innovations in landscaping.
"It is gratifying to see how the exhibition complex has become a huge flourishing garden at the Great Wall of China. The SCO was one of the first to support China's initiative, and visitors have been flocking to the SCO Garden and Pavilion since the comlpex opened at the Expo," the SCO Secretary-General noted.
Deputy Special Envoy of the Chinese Government at the Expo 2019 and Deputy Head of the Foreign Affairs Office of the People's Government of Beijing Municipality Li Yi expressed gratitude to the SCO for taking an active part in the International Horticultural Exhibition.
The SCO, which was the first regional organisation to be established in China and is named after a Chinese city, is making a huge contribution to regional peace, security and stability and to the development of a democratic, fair and solid new political and economic world order. It also plays a key role in advocating the Belt and Road initiative among the member states.
Attracted by the idea of the horticultural exhibition, the SCO provided all-round assistance in the construction of the pavilions. The SCO Garden is a fine example
of the member states' landscaping traditions combined with new technology, which visitors find very comforting.
The Beijing exhibition provides not only a landscaping link between China and other countries, but also a venue for sharing the latest gardening achievements and for promoting international economic and trade exchanges as well as the Belt and Road initiative, Mr Li Yi said. He also urged the participants to use this occasion to spread the ideas of Green Growth around the world.
Mr Yu Jun, a counsellor at the Department of European-Central Asian Affairs of the Foreign Ministry of China, noted that the SCO Pavilion and Garden contributed to the success of the exhibition and demonstrated the traditional culture and landscaping traditions of the member states.
"China sets a high value on the development of an eco-friendly civilisation, and we therefore support the SCO's efforts to strengthen cooperation in the field of environmental protection and its idea for an environmental cooperation centre to train personnel, exchange information and provide practical support towards the implementation of projects. China is ready to invest more in environmental cooperation and to work together with all sides in order to implement relevant decisions on the path towards Green Growth," the Chinese diplomat pointed out.
General Secretary of China's SCO Committee on Good-Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation Ms Zheng Wei noted that the concept of the Beijing horticultural exhibition was to promote the idea of a caring attitude towards the environment and that the SCO's exhibits were highly informative and had an attractive design and style.
The programme of the SCO Honour Day included a concert. The audiences enjoyed the festive atmosphere created by a virtuoso performance by musicians playing ethnic musical instruments and a dance group from the city of Shihezi in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, as well as a new international youth choir, the SCO Countries' Youth Choir created by the International Federation for Choral Music (IFCM).
After the concert, the audience was invited to the SCO Garden and Pavilion.
The concept of the open-air SCO Garden is based on the three vital elements: earth, air and water, which are consonant with the three main goals of the SCO: cooperation, joint development and mutual prosperity. The SCO Garden offers a warm atmosphere, abundant greenery and flowers and a view of the SCO member states' banners.
The main landmark of the SCO Pavilion is an array of the member states' most popular flowers made by talented Tajik artists Jamshed Juraev and Nasim Negmatov in the inlay technique of Pietra Dura or Florentine mosaic. The unusual flowers are composed of natural semiprecious stones in a unique pattern. According to the creators, the stones emanate powerful energy and create an atmosphere of peace and harmony.