On 19 November 2019, a high-level special UN-SCO event "Cooperation to promote peace, security and stability: preventing the linking of terrorism with organised crime and its financing through drug trafficking" took place at the UN Headquarters in New York. It was organised by the SCO Secretariat together with Russia's Permanent Mission to the UN, with assistance from the UN HQ leadership.
The opening session included remarks by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Igor Morgulov, SCO Secretary-General Vladimir Norov and Director of the Executive Committee of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) Jumakhon Giyosov.
Representatives of SCO member states, including India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as well as observer countries such as Afghanistan, Belarus and Iran, and SCO dialogue partners represented by Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka were offered an opportunity to deliver remarks.
This special high-level event was also attended by representatives from Argentina, Bahrein, Brunei, Canada, the Central African Republic, Columbia, the Comoros, Congo, Cuba, Egypt, EU countries, Great Britain, Italy, Lithuania, Morocco, Mozambique, the Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, the United States, Zimbabwe, as well as international agencies and structures such as UN Women, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism, UNIDO, UNDP, Interpol, Arab League and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Attendance at the event totalled around 180 people.
The panel discussion offered the participants an opportunity to exchange views on a wide range of matters related to security, efforts to combat terrorism, drug trafficking and transnational organised crime. It was noted that the fact that these threats are fusing together, calls for the need to come up with new universal measures to prevent terrorist activities from benefiting from the proceeds of drug trafficking, the illegal arms trade and human trafficking, as well as other types of criminal activities.
The participants took note of the upward momentum in UN-SCO cooperation on sustaining peace, ensuring security and stability, and also highlighted the importance of holding special joint events for delivering tangible results.
In his remarks, the SCO Secretary-General said that holding special UN-SCO events has become a good tradition that underscores the special relationship between the two organisations.
Mr Norov pointed out that having failed in its attempts to establish its own quasi-state in Syria and Iraq the ‘global terrorist international' is about to change tactics by spreading out across the world and forming a network of sleeper cells and lone terrorists.
"It is becoming increasingly obvious that the close links that are emerging between terrorism and transnational organised crime are feeding terrorist organisations that seek to take drug trafficking under their control and use it not just as a source of revenue, but also by exploiting the contraband routes for moving foreign terrorist fighters around," the SCO Secretary-General added.
It was further stressed during the event that with today's world becoming increasingly interdependent, no single country can overcome these challenges on its own. On the contrary, addressing them requires devising and fine-tuning effective collective approaches at global and regional levels.
In this context, it was noted that the SCO is diligently following the problem of the emerging nexus between international terrorist groups and organised crime: "An extensive and efficient system for enabling the relevant ministries and agencies of the SCO member states to work together and carry out the corresponding joint events have been created in order to counter these dangerous developments."
Mr Norov pointed out the progress in UN-SCO cooperation in a number of key spheres, adding that there was new momentum in the collaboration between the SCO Secretariat and the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism, UNODC and other specialised UN agencies.
He went on to share his concerns regarding the growing drug production and trafficking in Afghanistan, the use of the internet for terrorist and extremist purposes, the fact that international terrorist organisations use the latest financial tools and payment systems, attempts by terrorist organisations to access radioactive and toxic agents, unmanned aerial vehicles and other kinds of robotics. He also drew the attention of the participants to the need to stop the spread of radical ideas among young people, as well as to work with the civil society and the media to counter the terrorist narrative.
The SCO remains committed to providing a reliable framework for Eurasia's integrated and indivisible security architecture by effectively supplementing global efforts to deprive terrorism of its human, ideological and financial resources and prevent it from fusing with transnational organised crime. "We are open to constructive dialogue and cooperation with all interested countries, international and regional institutions to build a common future that would be safe and prosperous," the SCO Secretary-General said.
In his closing remarks, Mr Norov emphasised that the presentations by SCO member states, observers, dialogue partners and other countries and international organisations all demonstrated their shared commitment to counter the evil of terrorism and cross-border challenges and threats. "The SCO is determined to contribute proactively to this process and to take ownership of efforts to consolidate peace, regional security and stability, and to fight terrorism, drug trafficking and other kinds of criminal activity," he concluded.
Every participant received information brochures on the SCO and the way it cooperates with others on combatting drug trafficking, together with documents
governing the cooperation among SCO member states on countering terrorism and extremism.
A live stream of the event was offered by the UN information service on the UN's main channel.
The first special high-level event on the practical aspects of UN-SCO cooperation for addressing common challenges and threats was held on 22 November 2016, and the second event, titled "UN-SCO: Cooperation Aimed at Strengthening Peace, Security and Stability," took place on 26 November 2018 in New York.
UN General Assembly Resolution А/RES/59/48 "Observer status for the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in the General Assembly" was adopted on 2 December 2004 at the 65th plenary meeting of the UN General Assembly, granting the SCO the right to take part in General Assembly sessions and work as an observer.
On 5 April 2010, the SCO Secretary-General and UN Secretary-General signed in Tashkent a Joint Declaration on Cooperation between the SCO and UN Secretariats stipulating, among other things, the determination to further promote their communications and information exchange.