SCO speaking up on global stage

Summit sees concerns voiced on major international issues from Ukraine to Afghanistan

Foreign ministers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization member states gathered earlier this month in Goa, India, at a critical moment in history for a meeting that truly depicted global dynamics.

Among three issues that stood out, the Russia-Ukraine conflict comes first. Although the situation could get worse before de-escalation is achieved, the meeting echoed China’s stance in pushing for a peaceful resolution of the conflict. 

Second, the de-dollarization drive has intensified economic competition among major powers. The weaponization of the US dollar and the Western financial system are catalyzing the momentum. 

The majority of world economies are fed up with the merciless use of the dollar to penalize countries that do not bow down to US power. Cuba has been one of the worst victims of this policy for decades. Iraq, Libya, and Syria have been destroyed through the imposition of wars and sanctions, while the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, and Venezuela have faced prolonged sanctions.

As unilateral sanctions have destroyed economies and compelled millions of common citizens to live in miserable conditions, including shortages of food and medicine, the SCO foreign ministers again raised their voices against unilateralism, protectionism and power politics.

Moves by the US-led Group of Seven (G7) are compelling emerging economies and the developing world to look for better alternatives.

They are looking for a just, fair and balanced financial system that must protect the rights of every country, regardless of its economic might. At the forefront of finding a better solution, China has started to pitch the internationalization of the yuan in trade and economic transactions.

Third, the Afghanistan situation is complicated, with food insecurity being prominent. The United Nations World Food Programme has said that 19.9 million Afghans face challenges in trying to secure healthy food. The situation will be further aggravated, as millions of people do not have secure jobs.

Failure to tackle these issues could give impetus to new terrorism. It is feared that terrorists could use the situation to create problems for the people of Afghanistan as well as for other countries in the region and beyond.

Still, the Western powers that created the problems are hardly giving due attention to Afghanistan. Western countries have chosen to focus on fulfilling their agenda at any cost, rather than solving the problem or properly caring for human life.

Against this backdrop, the cooperation of China, Pakistan and Afghanistan is important for the region, as demonstrated by the foreign ministers of the three countries in Islamabad, Pakistan, on May 6. Afghanistan peace has direct relevance for Pakistan.

In the context of these developments, China’s position paper on Afghanistan and its plan for resolving the Russia-Ukraine conflict can help start a meaningful consultation process and find durable solutions.

Both proposals address the required actions to solve these problems in line with international laws and human rights.

The major characteristics of both proposals can be summarized in five key points.

First, both proposals highlight the importance of noninterference in the internal matters of Afghanistan, Russia, and Ukraine. All parties are urged to respect the sovereignty and independent choices of countries according to international norms.

Second, the two proposals do not waste time on the blame game but rather focus on finding solutions.

Third, the positions keep human life at the center of all proposed actions.

Fourth, both proposals emphasize the simultaneous deployment of dialogue and development actions, a cornerstone of China’s philosophy of achieving peace.

Fifth, they reiterate the importance of coordination to tackle issues including development.

The foreign ministers of other SCO members and even those in the developed world can build on these proposals and join efforts to find a sustainable solution for all.

Moreover, the efforts will consolidate the SCO as a major global player that aims to solve complicated issues through cooperation by adhering to the principles of dialogue and development. 

A consensus among members will also give a message to the world community that the developing Global South has the will and the wisdom to solve hot problems peacefully.

The author is CEO of the Asian Institute of Eco-civilization Research and Development in Pakistan. 

The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.