Youth of SCO member states hail closer exchanges for better regional prosperity and fight against terrorism

(GLOBAL TIMES)   08:22, June 22, 2022

The opening ceremony of the SCO Youth Technology and Innovation Forum Photo: Courtesy of the forum

Officials and representatives from Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) member and observer states vowed to further enhance international cooperation and exchanges to commit to the "Shanghai sprit" and fighting terrorism, extremism, and separatism on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the three-day SCO Youth Technology and Innovation Forum kicked off both online and offline in Shenzhen.

The forum was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in his remarks at the 21st meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO in September last year for further unleashing the creativity of young people across SCO countries. 

Besides officials from SCO member countries and observer states, foreign diplomats in China, young scientists and entrepreneurs, and representatives from youth organizations attending the forum have all recognized China's efforts in boosting interactions and mutual learning among youth of SCO member states across areas including science and technology, education, culture, health and poverty alleviation.

Youth cooperation is an important priority within the SCO cooperation agenda. About 800 million young people in the SCO member states are the future hope of the organization and the bearers of the baton of future SCO development, Zhang Ming, Secretary-General of the SCO, said at the ceremony, in a video speech. 

The SCO needs to strengthen cooperation and measures to prevent youth from participating in activities of terrorist, separatist and extremist groups, and to pay attention to the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on young people, Zhang alerted.

The SCO will further train young people in the region to be qualified future leaders of the SCO through various projects such as youth entrepreneurship, e-commerce and distance education. To effectively respond to new threats and challenges, it is more important than ever to cultivate the younger generation so as to carry on the successful paradigm of SCO and shoulder the historic responsibility of developing regional peace, Zhang noted.

The opening ceremony of the SCO Youth Technology and Innovation Forum Photo: Courtesy of the forum

Today there are 1.8 billion young people in the world — the largest number in the history of mankind. Almost half of the world's youth live in SCO member states (over 800 million people). Young people, with their energy, innovative and bold ideas are regarded an important pillar on the path of further development of the SCO.

The organization created the SCO Youth Council in 2009 at the initiative of the Youth Organizations of the SCO member states - an effective mechanism for protecting young people from various destructive ideas by creating conditions to receive modern education and acquire professional skills, as well as on the further expansion of volunteering and cooperation in online learning projects in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The SCO Youth Council adopted India and Pakistan's accession in 2020.

"Since half of the world's youth live in its territory, the future, security, sustainable development and well-being of a huge part of Eurasia directly depends on how we raise the younger generation," said Uzbekistan's Deputy Prime Minister Aziz Abduhakimov at the ceremony via a video. "Young people with their energy, innovative and bold ideas are an important pillar on the way to the further development of the SCO in all aspects of its activities."

Over more than 20 years of existence, the SCO has been able to build one of the world's largest models of multifaceted regional cooperation with an emphasis on guaranteeing political stability, strengthening security, expanding economic cooperation, joint development and prosperity of peoples, and establishing an multilateral dialogue in the region, according to Aziz Abduhakimov, who stressed that Uzbekistan fully supports this strategic line of the SCO and, moreover, continues to make a worthy contribution to turning the youth of the "SCO family" into a powerful driving force of progress.

Nikolai Snopkov, First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus, vowed that Belarus, a current observer state of the SCO, is ready to get involved in the practical implementation of the SCO-proposed ideas to promote youth development. 

"Today, China is confidently moving towards technological leadership in the 21st century. And this gives all SCO countries confidence that political and economic sovereignty does not contradict joint technological development," said him. "We count on the active participation of young scientists in the formation of a pool of SCO technology parks, which is aimed at integrating the scientific, educational and industrial sectors in the SCO countries."

The opening ceremony of the SCO Youth Technology and Innovation Forum Photo: Courtesy of the forum

Chinese President Xi also urged to encourage exchanges, dialogue, harmony and co-existence between civilizations, fully tap into platforms including the youth exchange camp, and social organizations such as the SCO Good-Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation Committee at the 21st meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the SCO in 2021.

"The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China to be held in the second half of the year will draw up a blueprint for China's future development. China welcomes closer exchanges between the SCO countries and China's Guangdong Province and the city of Shenzhen, and seize the opportunities of the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area to strengthen cooperation and achieve common development," Shen Yueyue, Chairman of the SCO China Committee for Good Neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation said at the ceremony.

Themed "Youth Building Dreams of Technology, Innovation Leading the Future," the forum includes six parallel summits to spotlight topics centered on youth innovation and cooperation, people's health, digital economy development, AI, green development, poverty alleviation collaboration and rural development.

Chairman of the Youth Public Council of Kyrgyzstan Taalaibek Daiyrbekov who attended the forum suggested that the cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and China, "a great neighbor of the SCO," has been highly recognized.

"I've been to almost each Chinese province, and I've always marveled at China's potential. We need cooperation, we need to maximize the use of the SCO platform to develop our relationship with China - mutual understanding and mutual support," Taalaibek Daiyrbekov told the Global Times. He said that since 2009, Kyrgyzstan has sent about 200-300 students to participate in various mass activities run by  the SCO.

Abdullo Rahmonzoda, chairman of the Committee for Youth Affairs and Sports of Tajikistan, called for the youth of his country to be more "committed to the term 'Shanghai spirit', which has become the embodiment of common trust, equality, respect for the diversity of cultures, and the desire for common development."

Founded in 2001, the SCO comprises eight member states, namely India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, four observer states which are Iran, Afghanistan, Belarus, Mongolia, while dialogue partners include Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey, as well as Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The combined GDP of SCO member states topped US$23 trillion in 2021, over 13 times more than that when the organization was established, according to the People's Daily.

(editor: Wenjing,Guo)

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