The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

  • Giles Scott-SmithEmail author
Part of the United Nations University Series on Regionalism book series (UNSR, volume 17)


The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental organization founded in Shanghai on 15 June 2001 by six countries: China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Established to ensure the security of the Central Asian region in the post-Soviet era, in its early years it was interpreted in many studies as little more than an extension of Russian foreign policy interests, but recently it is clear that the initiative has shifted to Beijing. In 2015 its membership was expanded for the first time with the addition of India and Pakistan, and this was formalised at its 2016 summit. Including the two new members means the SCO represents 45% of the world’s population and 19% of world GDP. As Russia and China further develop their cooperation, the SCO is now “increasingly viewed by governments across the world as an organization reflecting the political and economic ascendancy of the Eurasian region” (Savic 2016). This chapter outlines the origins and purposes of the SCO, and its position in relation to other post-Soviet regional entities that have been formed since 1991 under the heading of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), such as the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). The question is to what extent these formations are beginning to represent an inter-connected, multi-layered regional governance structure for Eurasia that could have consequences within a changing global order.


Regionalism Global governance Energy Multipolarity Multilateralism 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Leiden UniversityLeidenThe Netherlands

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