In the last few years, the SCO has emerged as an important actor on the international platform – UN Secretary General

Antonio Guterres
Photo credit: UNDP

In the context of the upcoming SCO Summit in Astana on July 3-4, Kazinform News Agency correspondent talked to UN Secretary General António Guterres.

Last September the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution entitled “Cooperation between the United Nations and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization”. Could you elaborate on the role Kazakhstan played in it as the country holding SCO chairmanship in 2023-2024? 

The initiatives and outcomes of Kazakhstan's chairmanship are in line with the United Nations Common Agenda and have laid a solid foundation for our continued partnership.

Kazakhstan's presidency of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization has been marked by significant efforts to enhance regional cooperation and address development, climate change, trade, economy, culture, and humanitarian issues, hosting around 80 events. In addition, Kazakhstan oversaw efforts to turn the Shanghai Cooperation Organization into a more effective multilateral platform, with a common strategic vision to enhance its effectiveness.

What is the role of regional organizations, such as the SCO, in the current geopolitical dynamics?

We face existential challenges – from the worsening climate emergency and escalating conflicts to the global cost-of-living crisis, soaring inequalities and dramatic technological disruptions. This is a time to come together and to work together, in the face of growing divisions.

Addressing the challenges we face requires effective international institutions, rooted in 21st-century realities, and based on the UN Charter and international law.

Regional organizations play a crucial role in promoting and maintaining peace in various parts of the world. Their expertise, rapid response capabilities, and established frameworks for cooperation make them indispensable in preventing conflicts and building peace.

In the last few years, the SCO has emerged as an important actor on the international platform. While it remains committed to its original goal of coordinating the response to common threats including terrorism and violent extremism, the SCO is also striving to foster deeper economic integration and multi-dimensional cooperation, contributing to regional security.

You have always been an outspoken voice for climate action and quite persistent in your efforts to force all countries, especially the G20, to take steps to change the dependence of their economies on fossil fuels. Last February President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev of Kazakhstan approved the country’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality by 2060. Could you share your thoughts on this bold, yet strategic move for our country?

The climate crisis and water scarcity are two issues with the potential to create serious tensions in Central Asia. Kazakhstan has been active on addressing water scarcity.

On climate, all countries must submit new national action plans by next year, which must be fully aligned with limiting long-term global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. They should include concrete plans to cut the production and consumption of fossil fuels by at least thirty percent by 2030. I am sure that Kazakhstan will play its full part in the energy transition, including at this year’s Conference of Parties in Azerbaijan.

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