I am pleased to send greetings to the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The SCO plays an increasingly important role in fostering cooperation among Eurasian States in jointly confronting pressing issues such as terrorism, extremism, illicit drug trafficking and trans-national crime. No Government can tackle these challenges alone. Lasting solutions demand regional and international cooperation and effective and concerted actions. I therefore welcome the Declaration on Building a Region with Lasting Peace and Common Prosperity, approved at your last summit, and the Regulations on Political and Diplomatic Measures and Mechanisms of Response to Events Jeopardizing Regional Peace, Security and Stability.
The transition in Afghanistan, which joined the SCO as an Observer State last year, is entering its critical final stage. I commend the support provided by the SCO and its Member States to Afghanistan and the Istanbul Process. Efforts to tackle the illicit economy and counter the cross-border trade in narcotics and precursors will help to strengthen security in Afghanistan, combat terrorism and extremism and improve conditions across the region. New infrastructure for trade and exchange can boost sustainable development and advance peace, stability and economic growth.
Last November’s General Assembly resolution 67/15 on Cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization reaffirmed the important role of the SCO. The United Nations system is committed to strengthening the relationship between our two Organizations, based on the Joint Declaration on Cooperation signed in 2010 and in accordance with Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter.
There are a number of opportunities to enhance our collaboration, including joint initiatives with the United Nations Development Programme on sustainable agriculture, disaster risk management and customs cooperation.
Your summit takes place in the International Year of Water Cooperation. The efficient management of transboundary water resources in Central Asia is essential to regional security and prosperity. The United Nations hopes to continue supporting SCO Member States as they work to forge mutually acceptable solutions.
The United Nations Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia and the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force have launched the next phase of their project in support of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia. The SCO participated in the first phase and I look forward to seeing this cooperation expand.
Finally, the Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries, implemented by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, would benefit from SCO support for information-sharing, joint operations and the harmonization and standardization of law-enforcement operations.
Your Organization provides a vital contribution to the States of the region as they work to confront a wide array of threats and challenges. The United Nations stands ready to support your efforts, wherever and however we can.
I wish you a successful meeting.