Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO)

Reference work entry
Part of the The Statesman's Yearbook book series (SYBK)

Origin and Aims. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was founded in June 2001, having evolved out of the Shanghai Five grouping formed in 1996. All member states come from the Eurasia region.

Its principal aims are to promote closer defence, economic and cultural co-operation between member states and to ‘strengthen mutual confidence and good neighbourly relations’.

Organization. The SCO’s highest decision-making organ is the Heads of State Council, which meets once a year, as does a Heads of Government Council. There are also regular meetings of member states’ foreign ministers and other government officials. In addition, there are two permanent bodies—a Secretariat based in Beijing, China and a Regional Counter-Terrorism Structure in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The SCO has observer status at the UN General Assembly.

Membership. As of Feb. 2018 there were eight permanent members: China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. There are also four observer states (Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia) and six dialogue partners (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey). At the SCO annual summit in Sept. 2014 a framework was put in place for admitting new members. India and Pakistan became full members in June 2017 and Iran has also requested full membership. The SCO now comprises member states accounting for over 40% of the world’s population.

  • Headquarters: 7 Ritan Rd, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100600, China.

  • Website:

  • Email:

  • Secretary-General: Rashid Alimov (Tajikistan).

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