[Watch the video on webtv.un.org]
It is indeed a great pleasure to attend this special event of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). I thank the chairmanship of the Kyrgyz Republic for this opportunity.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a leading player in regional diplomacy, promoting multilateralism and fostering cooperation to address the most pressing peace and security issues in Eurasia. Your organization represents the largest combined population of any regional grouping in the world: over 3 billion women and men.
Member and Observer States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization make important contributions to the United Nations, including to our peacekeeping operations which are a concrete demonstration of global solidarity.
The world is changing in rapid and profound ways. Transnational challenges and threats including climate change, terrorism and violent extremism, and the trafficking of people, drugs and weapons require immediate, creative, coordinated solutions.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a vital partner of the United Nations. I would like to underline that we have been working closely with our Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy (UNRCCA). Our partnership contributes to peace and stability in Central Asia, including in counterterrorism and the prevention of violent extremism.
I welcome our enhanced cooperation, the regular exchanges of views between our two organizations, and the development of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure and the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.
I also look forward to the engagement of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the implementation of the third phase of the Joint Plan of Action for Central Asia, which aims to operationalize the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in the region. But our cooperation goes far beyond counter-terrorism and far beyond Central Asia. It is important to recognize that there has been very close coordination of efforts between the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and our United Nations Office for Drugs and Crime. Also, with our United Nations regional economic commission in Bangkok – ESCAP. And we discussed today the future relations involving both UNESCO, but also the FAO – the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, and the World Tourism Organization. This demonstrates the vitality of our interaction and the very close coordination of our common strategy.
It is indeed for me an enormous pleasure to be here today, to welcome my colleague Secretary-General [Rashid Alimov], and to say how much it is important for the United Nations to strengthen and to diversify this cooperation.
Regular exchanges with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization provide us with ways to enhance our cooperation within a broader regional agenda, including the situation in Afghanistan. I am delighted to see the distinguished Permanent Representative of Afghanistan with us today.
The Government of Afghanistan opened the door for peace earlier this year with a bold offer for unconditional talks with the Taliban. Peace in Afghanistan is long overdue and will have enormous benefits for Afghans and their neighbours.
I commend the support provided by the Shanghai Cooperation Organization through its revitalized Contact Group to advance security and stability in Afghanistan and urge further cooperation through the Contact group. Our United Nations Centre for Preventive Diplomacy (UNRCCA) continues to engage with both Central Asian states and Afghanistan, as well as promoting cooperation on peace and security.
Greater inclusivity, particularly through increasing the engagement and participation of women, is another priority shared by the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Women must have a meaningful role in all peace processes and peacebuilding efforts. Women’s participation at all levels has proven essential to creating sustainable peace, and to building resilient societies.
Young people are another vital constituency for all our efforts towards peace and stability. There is a perfect alignment between the strategies of our two organizations in relation to youth. Our new strategy for young people, Youth2030, aims to scale up global, regional and national action to meet young people’s needs, realize their rights and tap into their abilities as agents of change.
Young people have great potential to promote peace and tolerance and champion innovation. I welcome the Joint Address of the Heads of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization on Youth, adopted in Qingdao.
The empowerment of women and young people, in the broader context of a vibrant civil society, is a solid basis for peace and human security.
The United Nations is committed to work closely with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization towards a stable and prosperous Eurasia region where people can enjoy peace, sustainable development and respect for human rights – the fundamental values that led to the development of the United Nations.
We look forward to strengthening the ties between our respective organizations. Together, through complementary approaches and strategies, including preventive diplomacy, we can effectively address the challenges Eurasia faces. Thank you very much.