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By VLADIMIR NOROV | China Daily | Updated: 2020-06-11 07:35


Multilateralism and diplomacy have irreplaceable role to play in preparing for and countering global threats

The novel coronavirus outbreak has highlighted how interconnected the world is. The virus is by no means the last global test the world will face. All countries should be aware of this and make efforts to cooperate on the principles of mutual support, joint development and enhancing the common good.

Without the support of the international community, national and international interests cannot be strengthened. Both can be achieved only when we give the United Nations the real leadership role it needs to protect peace and achieve the goals of human development.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Charter enshrines our organization's commitment to the goals and principles of the UN Charter. The "Shanghai Spirit", which is the main content of our charter, incorporates values such as mutual trust and mutual benefit, equality, consultations on an equal footing, respect for the diversity of cultures and the desire for joint development. It has become a vivid embodiment of multilateralism and diplomacy in the SCO region.

This understanding has become central to the new model of regional development, which has enriched the theory and practice of international development.

At the summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, last year, the SCO member states reaffirmed their strong support for the UN's efforts to uphold multilateralism, maintain international peace and security, encourage global development and promote and protect human rights.

They called for strengthening the key role of the UN Security Council, which in accordance with the UN Charter has the primary responsibility for maintaining international peace and security.

In the current situation in which humanity is struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic, multilateralism is even more necessary.

Now all countries and international organizations are closely linked with each other and the key to victory over this invisible enemy, that knows no borders, is global solidarity and international cooperation.

In this regard, wider international political and financial support should be provided to the World Health Organization in order to collectively protect global public health security. At this difficult time, it is important that the WHO receives concerted support as it is the only international organization for public health security at the global level.

On May 13, the foreign ministers of the SCO members stated that the fight against the pandemic requires resolute, coordinated and inclusive multilateral efforts and stressed the centrality of the UN system in the fight against COVID-19. The SCO is working with the WHO and other international organizations and associations to effectively fight against the pandemic. At the same time, the SCO countries called on the international community to strengthen cooperation with the WHO in order to ensure public health security at the regional and international levels.

Non-traditional security threats associated with new infectious diseases and other sources will continue to arise in the future. Therefore, the experience gained in the fight against the pandemic and the strengthening of international coordination mechanisms under the auspices of the UN are the best choices for the international community. The latest information and communication technologies that can unite people in time and space have come to our aid. Humanity is becoming better equipped to cope with new challenges and crises, and there is a huge arsenal of tools that can be effectively used within the framework of international cooperation.

However, as noted in the message of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on the occasion of the International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace: "We are in a paradoxical situation: Global threats are becoming more interconnected, while our responses are more divided. Distrust of government bodies, political structures and international organizations is growing, and nationalist and populist ideas based on demonization and division are becoming more popular. This portends a great danger, given the current problems that need to be addressed together."

In the current situation, along with the objective difficulties of fighting against the pandemic in each country, the most important task is to overcome the global and regional political confrontations, and reject nationalist and populist ideas and protectionism.

Multilateralism and cooperation are the only way to protect ourselves from global threats and ensure safe and stable development for all. It is important to increase the status and competence of international mechanisms under the UN aegis, so humanity can unite in the face of future challenges.

The author is the secretary-general of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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