A sense of governance
  ·  2021-08-09  ·   Source: NO.32 AUGUST 12, 2021


Chen Xi, President of China's National Academy of Governance, addresses the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Forum on Governance and Leadership via video link in Beijing on July 27 (COURTESY PHOTO) 

Different national circumstances can set the stage for exchanges in diverse fields ranging from  development to statesmanship among Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) members, experts said. The SCO, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of its founding this year, groups China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India. At the SCO Forum on Governance and Leadership held in Beijing in late July, representatives discussed how the organization can create greater synergy. Edited excerpts of their views follow: 

China's experience 

Chen Xi, President of China's National Academy of Governance: In response to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the tasks of economic recovery and world stability, all countries need to enhance communication and work together.

In the past 20 years, the SCO has established a new system of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) has united the Chinese people and led them to achieve remarkable feats. China has eradicated extreme poverty and has built a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

The CPC's governance upholds and strengthens overall leadership. It is also committed to a people-centered approach, following scientific theories, and building a community with a shared future for humanity. The CPC seeks happiness for the people and progress for humanity.

China's development has benefited not only the Chinese people, but also the world at large. China advocates the joint pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative and carries out international cooperation in the fight against the pandemic, contributing its specific strengths to increase the people's wellbeing. As of late 2020, China's direct investment in other SCO member states reached $28 billion, with a large number of collaborations on infrastructure and production capacity carried out successfully. 

The National Academy of Governance is eager to team up with the academies of governance in other SCO countries to forge a closer SCO community with a shared future.

A Tajik perspective 

Azizi Abdujabbor Abdukahhor, First Deputy Chairman of the People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan: Since its establishment 20 years ago, the SCO has proved itself an incomparable regional system with an irreplaceable position in settling international problems.

Security of the SCO region is a promise of the region's development. All SCO countries should continue to forge synergy in dealing with issues such as the spread of extremism, terrorism, and drug trafficking.

Tajikistan has always been an active participant in SCO affairs and has maintained close cooperation with all member states across various projects and fields.

The main principles of Tajikistan's diplomatic strategy are in accordance with the SCO's work. Tajikistan is willing to help the SCO take on a more important role in guaranteeing lasting peace and security, expanding economic exchanges and trade, and deepening people-to-people exchanges.

Tajikistan believes that the SCO is an efficient and pragmatic platform for the exchange of views, development of common grounds, and negotiation from different perspectives. Tajikistan would continuously contribute its knowledge and strong points to help countries keep pace with the times and improve political systems.

On governance, the Tajik version of Xi Jinping: The Governance of China allows me to get a real sense of the people-centered philosophy of the CPC. The ideas put forward in the book on national and global governance, China's approach and practice, as well as the country's initiative to build a community with a shared future for humanity, are of great significance.

I agree with President Xi's saying that "as long as we keep to the goal of building a community with a shared future for humanity and work hand in hand to fulfill our responsibilities and overcome difficulties, we will be able to create a better world and deliver better lives for our peoples." 

People-to-people exchanges 

Du Zhanyuan, President of China International Publishing Group (CIPG): In the past 20 years, as a constructive force in the Eurasian region and international affairs, the SCO has upheld the Shanghai Spirit, promoted solidarity and cooperation, and explored a new path for the development of an international organization. Furthermore, it has created a new type of regional collaboration and contributed to regional peace and development.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, SCO countries stick together and collaborate in various areas, such as the sharing of vaccine research experiences and medical supplies, which, in turn, provides a reference for international collective action tackling common challenges.

In today's world, the international situation is experiencing unprecedented change. No country can distance itself from or remain immune to such challenges. The trends of our times steering toward peace, development, cooperation, and win-win outcomes are irresistible. The SCO could learn from the Shanghai Spirit and SCO wisdom to answer the questions of what has happened to the world and what we can do. 

In the future, we need to enhance our communication on the experience of governance, explore new methods for people-to-people exchanges, and expand cooperation in various fields such as culture, media, tourism, think tanks and academia. We also need to form closer ties among the SCO youth and encourage them to serve as envoys for traditional friendship, by organizing forums and seminars, visits and trainings. 

It is up to the media to better apply new forms, including short videos and documentaries, to promote communication within the SCO framework. The media must present the most solid of SCO stories and illustrate the Shanghai Spirit to the world, to create a better international communication environment for the SCO.

While playing its role in international communication, CIPG, too, supports the development of the SCO.

Economic integration 

Zuo Fengrong, professor at the Institute for International Strategy at China's National Academy of Governance: The establishment of the SCO boosts cooperation and connectivity within Eurasia, allowing SCO countries to develop good relations with one another and foster a new type of international relations for further collaboration.

The SCO must consider the future of economic cooperation and whether to strengthen regional economic integration.

The SCO has the qualifications to promote economic integration. For example, China holds an advantage in manufacturing and Russia has rich energy and raw material resources. The combination of both would benefit such integration. Also, the SCO countries feature large populations with reasonable educational backgrounds, as well as a stable and secure social environment.

More importantly, the integration could promote the development of Central Asia to realize the balance of regional development in Eurasia.

Still, we need to further discuss the model of cooperation. For instance, as the SCO countries have differences in economic development conditions as well as come with various demands, we could have some member states join the integration first and give others time for planning.

In addition, the SCO could enhance cooperation with the Eurasian Economic Union and the Belt and Road Initiative to jointly promote the economic integration of the Eurasian continent.

Copyedited by Elsbeth van Paridon 

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