Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an international organisation of six member countries (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan), which was established in 20011 for the purposes of political, military and economic cooperation. A particular focus is put on fighting the ‘three evil forces’2 of terrorism, separatism and extremism.3

In 2009, the Agreement among the Governments of the SCO Member States on Cooperation in the Field of Ensuring International Information Security (Yekaterinburg, 16 June 2009) was concluded (an unofficial English translation is here). On 12 September 2011, four members of the SCO submitted a Draft International Code of Conduct for Information Security to the United Nations General Assembly. This initial group was expanded to six members in 2015, when it submitted a new Draft to the UN General Assembly, though the substance of the document does not drastically depart from that of the previous document (see INCYDER news).

The concept of ‘international information security’ is controversial. Whereas the SCO Member States believe that content is a potential security threat and should be regulated, the ‘Western consensus’ considers this level of content regulation to be a threat to fundamental human rights.4

At the Ufa Summit on 10 July 2015, leaders of SCO Member States reaffirmed their position on information security. Besides that, the procedure of accession for India and Pakistan was officially started.5 Nevertheless, the accession of any new Member States to existing documents of the SCO, such as the Yekaterinburg Agreement, is uncertain.

  • 1. Declaration on the Establishment of the SCO (Shanghai, 15 June 2001)
  • 2. CNTV English, “SCO exercises show resolve to fight Three Evil Forces: official,” 9 October 2009,
  • 3. The Shanghai Convention on Combating Terrorism, Separatism and Extremism (Shanghai, 15 June 2001)
  • 4. For further information on this topic, see Giles, K. “Russia’s Public Stance on Cyberspace Issues ,“ In 2012 4th International Conference on Cyber Conflict, edited bty Czosseck, C., Ottis, R., Ziolkowski, K. Tallinn, 2012.
  • 5. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, "After BRICS, Putin Hosts Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit In Ufa",
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