The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a permanent intergovernmental international organization proclaimed in Shanghai on June 15, 2001 by six countries -- People’s Republic of China, Russian Federation, Republic of Kazakhstan, Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Republic of Tajikistan and Republic of Uzbekistan. It was established on the basis of the "Shanghai Five" mechanism.
The main purposes of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are: strengthening mutual trust and good-neighborly relations among member states; promoting their effective cooperation in political affairs, economy and trade, scientific-technical, cultural, and educational spheres as well as in energy, transportation, tourism, and environment protection fields; joint safeguarding and presenting regional peace, security and stability; striving towards creation of democratic, just, reasonable new international political and economic order.
As regards its internal relations, the SCO is guided by "the Spirit of Shanghai," which is based on the principles of mutual trust and benefit, equality, mutual consultations, respect for the multifaceted cultures and aspiration to joint development, and with regard to external relations SCO is not a closed block and is not directed against any states and regions.
The Council of Heads of Member States is a supreme body responsible for decision-making. It holds regular sessions once a year and makes decisions and issues instructions on all the important matters of the Organization. The Council of Heads of Governments of SCO Member States holds a regular meeting once a year to discuss strategy of multilateral cooperation and priority directions within the SCO framework; to decide on actual matters of principle regarding economic and other cooperation, as well as to approve next year budget of the Organization. Besides meetings of the Councils of Heads of State and Heads of Government there also exists the mechanism of annual meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of economy, transport, culture, defense, security, General Public Prosecutors, as well as Heads of border and authorities of Ministry of extreme measures. The Council of National Coordinators of SCO Member States serves as the coordination mechanism within the SCO framework. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization has two permanent bodies - Secretariat in Beijing and Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent. The Secretary-General and the Director of the Executive Committee are appointed by the Council of Heads of State for a period of three years.
The total area occupied by the SCO member states is about 30 million 189 thousand square kilometers, or about three fifth the territory of Eurasia, with a population of 1.455 billion people, or about a quarter of total population of the world.