Charter of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
The People's Republic of China, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan being the founding states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (hereinafter SCO or the Organization),
Based on historically established ties between their peoples;
Striving for further enhancement of comprehensive cooperation;
Desiring to jointly contribute to the strengthening of peace and ensuring of security and stability in the region in the environment of developing political multipolarity and economic and information globalization;
Being convinced that the establishment of SCO will facilitate more efficient common use of opening possibilities and counteracting new challenges and threats;
Considering that interaction within SCO will promote the realization of a huge potential of goodneighborliness, unity and cooperation between States and their peoples;
Proceeding from the spirit of mutual trust, mutual advantage, equality, mutual consultations, respect for cultural variety and aspiration for joint development that was clearly established at the meeting of heads of six States in 2001 in Shanghai;
Noting that the compliance with the principles set out in the Agreement between the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan on Strengthening Confidence in the Military Field in the Border Area of 26 April, 1996, and in the Agreement between the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Tajikistan on Mutual Reductions of Armed Forces in the Border Area of 24 April , 1997, as well as in the documents signed at summits of heads of the People's Republic of China, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan and the Republic of Uzbekistan in the period from 1998 to 2001, has made an important contribution to the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the region and in the world;
Reaffirming our adherence to the goals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, other commonly acknowledged principles and rules of international law related to the maintenance of international peace, security and the development of goodneighborly and friendly relations, as well as the cooperation between States;
Guided by the provisions of the Declaration on the Creation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization of 15 June, 2001,
Have agreed as follows:
Article 1. Goals and Tasks
The main goals and tasks of SCO are:
to strengthen mutual trust, friendship and goodneighborliness between the member States;
to consolidate multidisciplinary cooperation in the maintenance and strengthening of peace, security and stability in the region and promotion of a new democratic, fair and rational political and economic international order;
to jointly counteract terrorism, separatism and extremism in all their manifestations, to fight against illicit narcotics and arms trafficking and other types of criminal activity of a transnational character, and also illegal migration;
to encourage the efficient regional cooperation in such spheres as politics, trade and economy, defense, law enforcement, environment protection, culture, science and technology, education, energy, transport, credit and finance, and also other spheres of common interest;
to facilitate comprehensive and balanced economic growth, social and cultural development in the region through joint action on the basis of equal partnership for the purpose of a steady increase of living standards and improvement of living conditions of the peoples of the member States;
to coordinate approaches to integration into the global economy;
to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the international obligations of the member States and their national legislation;
to maintain and develop relations with other States and international organizations;
to cooperate in the prevention of international conflicts and in their peaceful settlement;
to jointly search for solutions to the problems that would arise in the 21st century.
The member States of SCO shall adhere to the following principles:
mutual respect of sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity of States and inviolability of State borders, non-aggression, non-interference in internal affairs, non-use of force or threat of its use in international relations, seeking no unilateral military superiority in adjacent areas;
equality of all member States, search of common positions on the basis of mutual understanding and respect for opinions of each of them;
gradual implementation of joint activities in the spheres of mutual interest;
peaceful settlement of disputes between the member States;
SCO being not directed against other States and international organizations;
prevention of any illegitimate acts directed against the SCO interests;
implementation of obligations arising out of the present Charter and other documents adopted within the framework of SCO, in good faith.
Article 3. Areas of Cooperation
The main areas of cooperation within SCO shall be the following:
maintenance of peace and enhancing security and confidence in the region;
search of common positions on foreign policy issues of mutual interest, including issues arising within international organizations and international fora;
development and implementation of measures aimed at jointly counteracting terrorism, separatism and extremism, illicit narcotics and arms trafficking and other types of criminal activity of a transnational character, and also illegal migration;
coordination of efforts in the field of disarmament and arms control;
support for, and promotion of regional economic cooperation in various forms, fostering favorable environment for trade and investments with a view to gradually achieving free flow of goods, capitals, services and technologies;
effective use of available transportation and communication infrastructure, improvement of transit capabilities of member States and development of energy systems;
sound environmental management, including water resources management in the region, and implementation of particular joint environmental programs and projects;
mutual assistance in preventing natural and man-made disasters and elimination of their implications;
exchange of legal information in the interests of development of cooperation within SCO;
development of interaction in such spheres as science and technology, education, health care, culture, sports and tourism.
The SCO member States may expand the spheres of cooperation by mutual agreement.
Article 4. Bodies
1. For the implementation of goals and objectives of the present Charter the following bodies shall operate within the Organization:
The Council of Heads of State;
The Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers);
The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs;
Meetings of Heads of Ministries and/or Agencies;
The Council of National Coordinators;
The Regional Counter-terrorist Structure;
2. The functions and working procedures for the SCO bodies, other than the Regional Counter-terrorist Structure, shall be governed by appropriate provisions adopted by the Council of Heads of State.
3. The Council of Heads of State may decide to establish other SCO bodies. New bodies shall be established by the adoption of additional protocols to the present Charter which enter into force in the procedure, set forth in Article 21 of this Charter.
Article 5. The Council of Heads of State
The Council of Heads of State shall be the supreme SCO body. It shall determine priorities and define major areas of activities of the Organization, decide upon the fundamental issues of its internal arrangement and functioning and its interaction with other States and international organizations, as well as consider the most topical international issues.
The Council shall hold its regular meetings once a year. A meeting of the Council of Heads of State shall be chaired by the head of State organizing this regular meeting. The venue of a regular meeting of the Council shall generally be determined in the Russian alphabetic order of names of the SCO member States.
Article 6. The Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers)
The Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) shall approve the budget of the Organization, consider and decide upon major issues related to particular, especially economic, spheres of interaction within the Organization.
The Council shall hold its regular meetings once a year. A meeting of the Council shall be chaired by the head of Government (Prime Minister) of the State on whose territory the meeting takes place.
The venue of a regular meeting of the Council shall be determined by prior agreement among heads of Government (Prime Ministers) of the member States.
Article 7. The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs
The Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs shall consider issues related to day-to-day activities of the Organization, preparation of meetings of the Council of Heads of State and holding of consultations on international problems within the Organization. The Council may, as appropriate, make statements on behalf of SCO.
The Council shall generally meet one month prior to a meeting of the Council of Heads of State. Extraordinary meetings of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs shall be convened on the initiative of at least two member States and upon consent of ministers of foreign affairs of all other member States. The venue of a regular or extraordinary meeting of the Council shall be determined by mutual agreement.
The Council shall be chaired by the minister of foreign affairs of the member State on whose territory the regular meeting of the Council of Heads of State takes place, during the period starting from the date of the last ordinary meeting of the Council of Heads of State to the date of the next ordinary meeting of the Council of Heads of State.
The Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs shall represent the Organization in its external contacts, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Council.
Article 8. Meetings of Heads of Ministries and/or Agencies
According to decisions of the Council of Heads of State and the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) heads of branch ministries and/or agencies of the member States shall hold, on a regular basis, meetings for consideration of particular issues of interaction in respective fields within SCO.
A meeting shall be chaired by the head of a respective ministry and/or agency of the State organizing the meeting. The venue and date of a meeting shall be agreed upon in advance.
For the preparation and holding meetings the member States may, upon prior agreement, establish permanent or ad hoc working groups of experts which carry out their activities in accordance with the regulations adopted by the meetings of heads of ministries and/or agencies. These groups shall consist of representatives of ministries and/or agencies of the member States.
Article 9. The Council of National Coordinators
The Council of National Coordinators shall be a SCO body that coordinates and directs day-to-day activities of the Organization. It shall make the necessary preparation for the meetings of the Council of Heads of State, the Council of Heads of Government (Prime Ministers) and the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. National coordinators shall be appointed by each member State in accordance with its internal rules and procedures.
The Council shall hold its meetings at least three times a year. A meeting of the Council shall be chaired by the national coordinator of the member State on whose territory the regular meeting of the Council of Heads of State takes place, from the date of the last ordinary meeting of the Council of Heads of State to the date of the next ordinary meeting of the Council of Heads of State.
The Chairman of the Council of National Coordinators may on the instruction of the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs represent the Organization in its external contacts, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure of the Council of National Coordinators.
Article 10. Regional Counter-Terrorist Structure
The Regional Counter-terrorist Structure established by the member States of the Shanghai Convention to combat terrorism, separatism and extremism of 15 June, 2001, located in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz Republic, shall be a standing SCO body.
Its main objectives and functions, principles of its constitution and financing, as well as its rules of procedure shall be governed by a separate international treaty concluded by the member States, and other necessary instruments adopted by them.
Article 11. Secretariat
Secretariat shall be a standing SCO administrative body. It shall provide organizational and technical support to the activities carried out in the framework of SCO and prepare proposals on the annual budget of the Organization.
The Secretariat shall be headed by the Executive Secretary to be appointed by the Council of Heads of State on nomination by the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
The Executive Secretary shall be appointed from among the nationals of member States on a rotational basis in the Russian alphabetic order of the member States' names for a period of three years without a right to be reappointed for another period.
The Executive Secretary deputies shall be appointed by the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs on nomination by the Council of National Coordinators. They cannot be representatives of the State from which the Executive Secretary has been appointed.
The Secretariat officials shall be recruited from among nationals of the member States on a quota basis.
The Executive Secretary, his deputies and other Secretariat officials in fulfilling their official duties should not request or receive instructions from any member State and/or government, organization or physical persons. They should refrain from any actions that might affect their status as international officials reporting to SCO only.
The member States shall undertake to respect the international character of the duties of the Executive Secretary, his deputies and Secretariat staff and not to exert any influence upon them as they perform their official functions.
The SCO Secretariat shall be located at Beijing (the People's Republic of China).
Article 12. Financing
SCO shall have its own budget drawn up and executed in accordance with a special agreement between member States. This agreement shall also determine the amount of contributions paid annually by member States to the budget of the Organization on the basis of a cost-sharing principle.
Budgetary resources shall be used to finance standing SCO bodies in accordance with the above agreement. The member States shall cover themselves the expenses related to the participation of their representatives and experts in the activities of the Organization.
Article 13. Membership
The SCO membership shall be open for other States in the region that undertake to respect the objectives and principles of this Charter and to comply with the provisions of other international treaties and instruments adopted in the framework of SCO.
The admission of new members to SCO shall be decided upon by the Council of Heads of State on the basis of a representation made by the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in response to an official request from the State concerned addressed to the acting Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
SCO membership of a member State violating the provisions of this Charter and/or systematically failing to meet its obligations under international treaties and instruments, concluded in the framework of SCO, may be suspended by a decision of the Council of Heads of State adopted on the basis of a representation made by the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs. If this State goes on violating its obligations, the Council of Heads of State may take a decision to expel it from SCO as of the date fixed by the Council itself.
Any member State shall be entitled to withdraw from SCO by transmitting to the Depositary an official notification of its withdrawal from this Charter no later than twelve months before the date of withdrawal. The obligations arising from participation in this Charter and other instruments adopted within the framework of SCO shall be binding for the corresponding States until they are completely fulfilled.
Article 14. Relationship with Other States and International Organizations
SCO may interact and maintain dialogue, in particular in certain areas of cooperation, with other States and international organizations.
SCO may grant to the State or international organization concerned the status of a dialogue partner or observer. The rules and procedures for granting such a status shall be established by a special agreement of member States.
This Charter shall not affect the rights and obligations of the member States under other international treaties in which they participate.
Article 15. Legal Capacity
As a subject of international law, SCO shall have international legal capacity. It shall have such a legal capacity in the territory of each member State, which is required to achieve its goals and objectives.
SCO shall enjoy the rights of a legal person and may in particular:
- conclude treaties;
- acquire movable and immovable property and dispose of it;
- appear in court as litigant;
- open accounts and have monetary transactions made.
Article 16. Decisions-Taking Procedure
The SCO bodies shall take decisions by agreement without vote and their decisions shall be considered adopted if no member State has raised objections during the vote (consensus), except for the decisions on suspension of membership or expulsion from the Organization that shall be taken by "consensus minus one vote of the member State concerned".
Any member State may expose its opinion on particular aspects and/or concrete issues of the decisions taken which shall not be an obstacle to taking the decision as a whole. This opinion shall be placed on record.
Should one or several member States be not interested in implementing particular cooperation projects of interest to other member States, non‑participation of the abovesaid member States in these projects shall not prevent the implementation of such cooperation projects by the member States concerned and, at the same time, shall not prevent the said member States from joining such projects at a later stage.
Article 17. Implementation of Decisions
The decisions taken by the SCO bodies shall be implemented by the member States in accordance with the procedures set out in their national legislation.
Control of the compliance with obligations of the member States to implement this Charter, other agreements and decisions adopted within SCO shall be exercised by the SCO bodies within their competence.
Article 18. Permanent Representatives
In accordance with their domestic rules and procedures, the member States shall appoint their permanent representatives to the SCO Secretariat, which will be members of the diplomatic staff of the embassies of the member States in Beijing.
Article 19. Privileges and Immunities
SCO and its officials shall enjoy in the territories of all member States the privileges and immunities which are necessary for fulfilling functions and achieving goals of the Organization.
The volume of privileges and immunities of SCO and its officials shall be determined by a separate international treaty.
Article 20. Languages
The official and working languages of SCO shall be Russian and Chinese.
Article 21. Duration and Entry into Force
This Charter shall be of indefinite duration.
This Charter shall be subject to ratification by signatory States and shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date of the deposit of the fourth instrument of ratification.
For a State which signed this Charter and ratified it thereafter it shall enter into force on the date of the deposit of its instrument of ratification with the Depositary.
Upon its entering into force this Charter shall be open for accession by any State.
For each acceding State this Charter shall enter into force on the thirtieth day following the date of receiving by the Depositary of appropriate instruments of accession.
Article 22. Settlement of Disputes
In case of disputes or controversies arising out of interpretation or application of this Charter member States shall settle them through consultations and negotiations.
Article 23. Amendments and Additions
By mutual agreement of member States this Charter can be amended and supplemented. Decisions by the Council of Heads of State concerning amendments and additions shall be formalized by separate protocols which shall be its integral part and enter into force in accordance with the procedure provided for by Article 21 of this Charter.
Article 24. Reservations
No reservations can be made to this Charter which contradict the principles, goals and objectives of the Organization and could prevent any SCO body from performing its functions. If at least two thirds of member States have objections the reservations must be considered as contradicting the principles, goals and objectives of the Organization or preventing any body from performing its functions and being null and void.
Article 25. Depositary
The People's Republic of China shall be the Depositary of this Charter.
Article 26. Registration
Pursuant to Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations, this Charter is subject to registration with the Secretariat of the United Nations.
Done at Saint-Petersburg the seventh day of June 2002 in a single original in the Chinese and Russian languages, both texts being equally authoritative.
The original copy of this Charter shall be deposited with the Depositary who will circulate its certified copies to all signatory States.