Astana

09 June 2017

Secretary-General’s remarks to the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization

Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
 
I welcome the opportunity to address this summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
 
Let me start by expressing my appreciation for the hospitality and friendship of the Government and people of Kazakhstan, a country that is currently serving on the Security Council and is playing an increasingly dynamic role on the international stage.
 
I would also like to congratulate your new members: India and Pakistan. Today’s summit marks a new phase in the group’s development, broadening both its scope and its impact on the world.
 
The SCO plays a valuable role in promoting mutual understanding, dialogue, stability and development across much of Eurasia. You are working together to combat some of today’s key threats to peace and security, including terrorism, violent extremism, drug trafficking and organized crime. These are complex challenges that require a collective response, as no country can effectively confront them alone.
 
Cooperation between our two Organizations is based on a solid foundation.
 
This is especially important at a moment when we are all being tested on many fronts, as globalization and rapid urbanization are re-shaping the world.  Major armed conflicts show little sign of ending.  We are seeing mass movements of people in search of safety and economic opportunity.  We are experiencing rising inequality and intolerance, as well as xenophobia and racism.  And the impacts of climate change are accelerating by the day.
 
The world has plans to address these challenges and ills.
 
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SCO’s Development Strategy 2025 are our common blueprints.
 
Let me also make a special plea to all of you to show leadership and commitment in efforts to implement the Paris Agreement on climate change.  We must keep ambition high.
 
Looking ahead, the United Nations will continue be your strong partner.
 
Since taking office in January, I have set in motion wide-ranging reforms aimed at strengthening our peace operations and making our development system more effective.
 
Among those reforms is the creation of a new Office of Counter-Terrorism, with high-level leadership, which will aim to deploy the full capacities of the United Nations in supporting Member States in the struggle against terrorism and violent extremism.  I know that all members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization have suffered from this scourge.  I will count on your commitment to fight terrorism, address its root causes and ensure that our approaches meet international standards of human rights.
 
Ultimately, inclusive and sustainable development is the best form of preventing armed conflict and violent extremism.  As we pursue that objective, let us pay special attention to youth employment.  Democratic institutions that uphold the rule of law, and that provide peaceful channels for addressing grievances, are critical for progress and space for civil society, and free and independent media, are further ingredients for success.  The empowerment of the women and girls is a priority that is very dear to my heart.
 
Excellencies,
 
The United Nations and I look forward to our continued partnership in all areas of our common interest.  Please accept my best wishes for success in your deliberations.
 
Thank you very much.