Institutional Transformation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization after Enlargement: Status, Problems and Prospects

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Lecturer
Affiliation: Institute for Central Asian Studies, School of Politics and International Relations, Lanzhou University
Address: 222, Tianshui street, Lanzhou, 730000, China
Occupation: Associate Professor
Affiliation: Far Eastern Federal University
Address: 690092, Ajax 10, Russkiy island, Vladivostok, Russia
Journal nameProblemy Dalnego Vostoka
EditionIssue 3

This article was written for the 21st anniversary of the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The SCO is undergoing the period of transformation and development. On the one hand, the expansion of membership can increase the scale and authority of the organization on the global arena. On the other hand, it can bring challenges for the consensus building inside the organization. The Organization has successfully completed the first round of participants expansion, which have altered both global and regional political and economic landscapes. Authors mention that as a result of the enlargement of the Member States number, the organization faces some functional difficulties, including those in the process of elaboration and implementation of important decisions. To improve the efficiency of the organization's secretariat, it is necessary to increase its administrative status and expand its powers. It may be the time to rethink the decision-making format, which would reflect the changed balance of power within the organization after the expansion of participants. The significantly increased complexity of relationship among Member States makes it more difficult to follow the original principle of consensus all the time. The SCO needs an effective decision-making mechanism to avoid turning into a "clubhouse". In this regard, it can be relevant to switch to the decision-making by majority when it is needed to resolve urgent and questions, while maintaining the use of consensus decision-making for long-term issues. An important task for the sustainable development of the organization is to develop a unified concept of cultural values of the SCO, corresponding to the "Shanghai spirit". The authors underline the need to strengthen the coordination of the SCO's interaction with regional organizations in Eurasia, such as the CSTO and the EAEU, to ensure stability and prosperity in the macroregion.

KeywordsShanghai Cooperation Organization, SCO, SCO expansion, SCO reform, challenges for the SCO
AcknowledgmentThis article was written with the support of the Special Fund for Basic Research of Central Universities for Lanzhou University under the project № 21lzujbkydx003. (本文得到兰州大学中央高校基本科研业务费专项资金 (项目编号: 21lzujbkydx003) 的资助).
Publication date21.06.2022
Number of characters32739
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