SCO and CAN at a Glance

By | October 6, 2021



The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (abbreviated as SCO according to ETAIZHOU) is an international organization founded in June 2001. It emerged from the organization founded in 1996 as “Shanghai 5” by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. In the same year (2001) Uzbekistan joined the SCO. India and Pakistan were accepted as members at the Astana Summit in June 2017. The SCO has had observer status at the United Nations since 2004.


The original focus was on security policy cooperation in the border regions of the member states. Today’s focus is on stability in the region, the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism as well as economic and trade issues and aspects of energy security.

Member States (8)
China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

Observers (4): Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia, Belarus
Dialogue partners (6): Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey


  • Annual meeting of heads of state or government
  • Regular meetings at ministerial and senior official level
  • In 2004 the SCO Secretariat was set up in Beijing; the general secretary is appointed for three years at the SCO summit.

The members observe the principle of non-interference. Decisions are made by consensus. The official working languages ​​of the SCO are Chinese and Russian.

Activities In
2004 a regional anti-terrorism cooperation was established (Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure). Cooperation agreements exist with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Various major military maneuvers shaped the face of the SCO in the first few years.


The SCO is currently a relatively loose cooperative community. On the Russian side, the (re) integration of Central Asia and a good relationship with the coming world power China should be the focus of considerations; on the Chinese side, the fight against cross-border terrorism and the energy supply are likely to be top priorities.

Both states are certainly also trying to counterbalance the increasing influence of the USA in Asia. In 2012, Turkey, a NATO member state (!), Joined as a dialogue partner.

Organizations and initiatives in the Central Asian context

The graphics give an overview of the membership of Central Asian countries in selected “European” as well as in selected “Asian” organizations and initiatives. From the outside to the inside

  • OSCE
  • EAPR
  • GUAM
  • CSTO
  • EAEU
  • SCO
  • ARF

The meaning of the abbreviations can be found in the table at the bottom of the page. Recommendation: Print out both graphics in the image enlargement and the following table in order to be able to view the parts that belong together and that complement each other.

Organizations in and around Central Asia

The above organizations are incorporated geographically in the graphic. Central Asia is – and is increasingly becoming, not least for reasons of energy policy, a key region for Europe as well. The “Strategy for Central Asia” of the European Union initiated by Germany in 2007 makes this clear.

It is noteworthy that the “Europe” of the OSCE and the EAPC / PfP extends as far as the Pacific, and that all Central Asian states on the territory of the former Soviet Union are members of the EAPC / PfP and OSCE, but Russia and China are also trying to do so To integrate space organizationally. This competition or competition is strikingly referred to as “The New Great Game”.

overview of the organizations and initiatives

OSCE Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe
EAPR Euro-
Atlantic Partnership Council
GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development
(Organization for Democracy and Economic Development)
CSTO Collective Security Treaty Organization
(Collective Security Treaty Organization)
EAEU Eurasian Economic Union
(Eurasian Economic Union)
SCO Shanghai
Cooperation Organization – also known as Shanghai-Group or “Shanghai-Six”
SAARC South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
(South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation)
Regional Forum



Comunidad Andina (CAN)

The Andean Community is an international organization in South America. It was founded in 1969 with the Cartagena Agreement as an Andean Pact and developed into the current Andean Community in 1997.

Economic, political and social integration of the participating countries, in particular the objective of a common internal market, definition of common positions in foreign policy and strengthening of police and judicial cooperation.

Member States (4)
• Bolivia
• Ecuador
• Colombia
• Peru

Associated States (5)
Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay

States with observer status (1)
Spain (since 2011)

Further external link

  • Comunidad Andina
    (Official website of the Andean Community through the Secretariat in Lima, Peru – in Spanish)


Andean Presidential Council
The Andean Presidential Council is the highest and also the governing body. It consists of the heads of state and government of the member states, who usually meet once a year in the state that holds the presidency. The Presidents of the Associated States and of the States with observer status also take part in its meetings.

Andean Parliament
The Andean Parliament is composed of members elected by the national parliaments of the member states. It has no legislative competence and only has an advisory role.

Andean Community
Commission The Commission is responsible for drawing up proposals for Community policies and for implementing Council decisions. It is made up of five members who, however, also hold government offices in their countries of origin.


Formally, the institutions of the Andean Community are modeled on those of the European Union, but they have never achieved a comparable level of supranational integration. The cooperation of the states is still characterized by intergovernmental activities.

The Andean Community is America’s third largest area of ​​integration after NAFTA and Mercosur. However, the CAN is significantly smaller than the Mercosur. After Venezuela left the CAN in 2011, it lost even more importance. Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez justified his country’s resignation with the signing of bilateral trade agreements with the United States by Colombia and Peru.

Shanghai Cooperation Organization