I am honored to greet the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on the occasion of its Summit in Astana.
Ten years ago, your countries pledged to work collectively to guarantee peace and security in the region. The establishment of the SCO demonstrated a shared commitment to strengthening trust, dialogue and cooperation in a large part of Asia. In a short span of time, the SCO has developed not only an extensive framework for interaction, but also concrete means for addressing security in all its forms –economic, political, military and environmental.
The United Nations shares your conviction that security is not a narrow concept, nor one defined only by national borders. Hardly a challenge arises which does not require actors at the local, national, regional and international levels to cooperate in the search for solutions.
Last year, I signed the Joint Declaration on Cooperation between our respective Secretariats. This document builds on the 2009 General Assembly resolution that highlighted the many areas where there is good potential to increase our collaboration.
I welcome your focus on illicit drug trafficking, including through a comprehensive strategy that has been submitted for the approval of the Council of Heads of State. To reinforce this effort, I encourage you to make the most of tools such as the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the UN Convention against Corruption, and to deepen cooperation through bodies such as the Central Asian Regional Information and Coordination Centre. This year, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime will launch the “Regional Program for Promoting Counter Narcotics efforts in Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries,” which will provide an additional avenue for cross-border cooperation.
Our organizations also share a commitment to counter-terrorism. The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy sets out comprehensive measures to tackle this threat, but their success depends on implementation at the national and regional levels. In Central Asia, the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy in Central Asia has been working to support implementation of the Strategy, and we welcome the ongoing participation of SCO representatives in this effort.
Just as global interdependence is accelerating, so is the interconnectedness of your Member States growing, thanks in part to the SCO's initiatives to develop investment, trade and infrastructure. These efforts are helping a population of nearly 1.5 billion people to foster economic growth, counter negative trends and create more opportunities. From addressing the situation in Afghanistan and related threats in Central Asia, to increasing economic cooperation, the SCO has shown the enormous value of transforming the comparative advantages of countries into shared strengths.
The SCO's expanding contacts with the United Nations –including ESCAP, UNDP and other agencies -- can make further contributions. As the SCO enters its second decade, I look forward to our continued partnership for common peace, security, and prosperity.