Astana, 7 July 2023 (TDI): Kazakhstan assumed the rotational chairmanship of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization from July 2023 to July 2024 during the Heads of State Council virtual meeting on July 4.

During the virtual summit headed by India, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan highlighted the priorities of the country’s upcoming chairmanship of the SCO.

He mentioned that the primary focus of the organization would be on ensuring security and stability in the SCO space.

The President underlined that, in the face of the current issues, the main focus of the SCO countries is to prevent a geopolitical rift between East and West while offering the world a vision for a sustainable future.

Therefore, in the scope of its chairmanship, Kazakhstan will introduce the initiative “Promoting Global Unity for Equitable Peace and Harmony.”

President Tokayev stressed that this comprehensive document would provide the principles for strengthening confidence-building measures and maintaining stability and security.

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Moreover, while underscoring the commitment to update the Program of Cooperation on Countering Terrorism, Separatism, and Extremism for 2025-2027, the President put forth Kazakhstan’s suggestion to endorse the SCO Anti-Drug Strategy for 2024-2029, in addition to the Action Program for its implementation.

Geographical connectivity in SCO space

Furthermore, the President identifies the expansion of trade and the economy as his secondary focus.

He highlighted that the SCO region is characterized by geographical connectivity of states, transit and transport opportunities, a huge market, and economic synergy.

However, there is no single major economic project under the auspices of the SCO, mainly due to the lack of financial support mechanisms for project activities.

Therefore, the President proposed the Astana International Financial Center as an effective platform for stimulating financial and portfolio investments in Shanghai Organization regional projects.

Emphasizing the strategic significance of modern transport infrastructure and new competitive routes, the President urged the creation of a network of major strategic ports and logistics centres among the SCO countries.

New SCO development strategy

President Tokayev underlined the necessity of a new SCO development strategy to expand cooperation in promising areas.

Thus, he called on the SCO countries to coordinate the energy strategy for the next Astana SCO Summit and also expressed Kazakhstan’s readiness to hold the SCO Energy Forum in Kazakhstan.

The top leader also underlined the need for cooperation in the digital sphere and highlighted that Kazakhstan has already provided favourable conditions for a comprehensive digital transformation.

Additionally, the President drew the attention of the participants towards the strengthening of humanitarian and cultural ties along with energy cooperation within the SCO space.

President Tokayev also proposed adopting the concept of strengthening the SCO’s potential by the next summit in Astana. He concluded by stressing the role of Kazakhstan in strengthening security, peace, and prosperity in the SCO region.

Being one of the six founding countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2001, Kazakhstan has taken on the role of chairmanship four times already and played an effective role in propagating the agenda of the organization.