Twenty years ago, on 15 January 2004, Beijing, China, hosted the opening ceremony of the SCO Secretariat, which was attended by Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Foreign Minister of the Kyrgyz Republic Askar Aitmatov, Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Ivanov, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Tajikistan Talbak Nazarov, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Sodiq Safoyev and SCO Executive Secretary Zhang Deguang.
On this occasion, the first SCO Executive Secretary (the position was later transformed into the SCO Secretary-General) received congratulatory messages from the heads of the SCO member states and a message from the UN Secretary-General.
Today, the SCO Secretariat plays a crucial role in coordinating and providing information and analytical support for the Organisation's activities. It also conducts preliminary legal and financial expert analysis of SCO treaties and regulatory documents. Additionally, the Secretariat serves as the depository of documents adopted within the SCO framework, and provides organisational and technical support for meetings and sessions of SCO bodies. Furthermore, it coordinates SCO’s interactions with observer states, dialogue partners and international organisations.
The Secretary-General, who is approved by the SCO Heads of State Council upon the proposal of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the SCO member states, leads the Secretariat. The position of the SCO Secretary-General has been held by Zhang Deguang (People's Republic of China) in 2004-2006; Bolat Nurgaliyev (Republic of Kazakhstan) in 2007-2009; Muratbek Imanaliev (Republic of Kyrgyzstan) in 2010-2012; Dmitry Mezentsev (Russian Federation) in 2013-2015; Rashid Alimov (Republic of Tajikistan) in 2016-2018; Vladimir Norov (Republic of Uzbekistan) in 2019-2022; Zhang Ming (People's Republic of China) from 2022 onwards.
SCO member state has permanent representatives in the SCO Secretariat.
The staff of the Secretariat consists of 36 officials appointed by member states according to country quotas. Additionally, a number of technical staff are hired from among the nationals of the host country. The Secretariat comprises six departments that handle political, economic, humanitarian, information and analytical, administrative and legal affairs and international relations.