“SCO +”: PARTY DIMENTION
In 2021, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will celebrate its twentieth anniversary. Its founding fathers were China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, the headquarters are located in Shanghai, and the official languages are Chinese and Russian. Nowadays, the SCO includes India and Pakistan as well. Another two dozen states of the planet’s largest continent are about to join the largest association of Eurasia. Assessing the current role and significance of the Shanghai Organisation, Russian President V. Putin, when addressing the foreign ministers of the member countries, said in September this year: “SCO has demonstrated an ability to respond promptly to new acute challenges…” In 2020, Russia has become the chairing country of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Preparations for such an important political event were carried out, as is customary, in advance. In particular, in addition to the traditional summit program, ministerial meetings and negotiations at the expert level, the International Commission of the All-Russian party "UNITED RUSSIA" proposed to hold a business forum of the SCO countries leading parties. This will be the first step towards creating an inter-party platform and laying the foundations for the party dimention of cooperation within the Shanghai Organization. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has had its impact here too. The original plan - to hold our international forum in March in Chelyabinsk with the participation of members of the leading political parties and business circles representatives of two dozen countries under the motto “Economy for People” - has been changed. Firstly, the forum dates were postponed to the end of October, and when it became clear that, in October, direct face-to-face contact between the participants would meet some obstacles due to the well-known sanitary-epidemiological restrictions, we have decided to hold all the main events online. Thus, for the first time, in October 2020, not only will the SCO party dimension be given a start, but also a large-scale international inter-party forum will be held virtually, with use of modern digital technologies and global means of communication. We shall return to such an aspect of the large international party meeting, but for now I will answer the question: what is the main task of the October meeting of leading politicians, eminent experts and business community representatives? In addition to some traditional inter-party meetings issues, we intend to consider best practices in supporting vectors of economic development that can directly and positively affect the lives of most people. These issues pertain not only to stimulation of socially responsible business, but also to the production of goods and services of particular relevance to the society. For instance, it is known that aluminum production is tied to significant environmental risks. Its protection from possible negative factors of aluminum production with advanced “green” technologies require considerable capital investments and serious operating costs. Thus, if some aluminum companies provide adequate environmental safety while the others refuse to, the profit of the first in the global aluminum market will get lower. Therefore, those who care about nature and humanity and produce aluminum without negative consequences are in the least advantageous position. Meanwhile, all responsible political parties should be interested in encouraging manufacturers, through legislative and other regulation, not only to extract and process raw materials, manufacture products from it and provide services to their consumers, but also to comply with all reasonable environmental standards. This kind of issue will be considered at one of the specialized platforms of the “SCO +”. Another significant topic of the upcoming discussion will focus on the socio-economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. Certainly, we will also discuss issues related to the development of digital technologies. There are, undoubtedly, not only positive aspects. Consequently, the concern of society is to protect the legitimate interests of citizens (including proper protection of personal data and counteraction to the use of the virtual world for inadequate purposes) and to stimulate such directions for the development of information and computer technologies, which are of obvious progressive importance and really do work for the benefit of people. The forum is also supposed to raise an issue of party support for interregional partnership to ensure the socio-economic development of its participants. Also here, at the “SCO +”, an international expert group will be formed and will begin its practical functioning, and will in the future become a kind of collective “think tank” - a supplier of ideas and a global analytical center. The Russian Academy of Sciences has already been actively involved in such an important and promising work. In conclusion, I would like to draw your attention to the fact that most of the events of the SCO + forum will operate online, on a specially created virtual platform www.iiip.online. It remains for me to add that the work of the International Inter-Party Internet Platform (IIIP), as well as the forum site, will have started by October 15. The forum itself will be held from October 21 to 23, 2020. Its main events can be seen real-time via webcast on the indicated electronic resources.