It is a great pleasure to join the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization at this special meeting.
Since the founding of the Shanghai Five in 1996 and its transformation into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2001, the SCO has played an increasingly important role in fostering regional cooperation to confront the most pressing issues in Eurasia.
Your organization continues to evolve, develop new capacities and welcome new members.
Today’s high-level event comes at the time of profound and rapid change in the geopolitical and security situation throughout Asia and around the world. It is more important than ever to explore ways to address existing and emerging challenges, most of which are too immense for any one country to tackle alone.
For this reason, and in the spirit of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter, I support strengthening interactions between the United Nations and regional organizations, including the SCO. The need for enhanced collaboration with regional organizations was also a strong message delivered last year by the high-level reviews of peacebuilding and peace operations.
Cooperation is already well under way with a number of United Nations entities, including the Department of Political Affairs, the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, the Economic Commission for Europe and Asia-Pacific, the Office on Drugs and Crime and the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia.
We are working closely together on country-specific issues, such as the Heart of Asia/Istanbul Process, and on challenges such as the management of natural resources, environmental degradation, the spread of terrorism and violent extremism, border security, and drug trafficking.
A stable and prosperous region, rooted in democracy and the rule of law, with civil society and the media free to play their vital roles, is in the interest of both the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The United Nations looks forward to strengthening our ties in facing common challenges, advancing preventive diplomacy and building a region of peace, development and human rights for all.