Social justice issues are constantly in the focus of SCO


Vladimir Norov

On 20 February, “World Social Justice Day” is celebrated every year since 2009 in accordance with a special UN General Assembly resolution A/RES/62/10 adopted on 26 November 2007.

The aim of The World Solidarity Day is to draw the world’s attention to the need to promote social justice, which includes joint efforts to address issues such as poverty, exclusion, gender inequality, unemployment, non-compliance with human rights and social insecurity.

The world summit, held in Copenhagen in March 1995, was the precondition for a new date, 20 February, and at which the social development of modern society was proclaimed. At the summit, more than 100 political leaders pledged to address poverty and unemployment, as well as to build stable, secure, and just societies.

However, 12 years have been passed before the General Assembly adopted the above-mentioned special resolution on the initiative of the Kyrgyz Republic, one of the founding members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. The document was co-sponsored by 76 UN Member States, including the SCO Families countries – Kazakhstan, China, the Russian Federation, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Mongolia, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Nepal, and Turkey.

By adopting this important document, the UN Member States have recognized that social development and social justice are necessary to ensure and maintain peace and security within and between countries, and that, in turn, social development and social justice cannot be achieved in the absence of peace and security or in the absence of respect for all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Member States have also recognized that large-scale and sustainable economic growth in the context of sustainable development is a prerequisite for social development and social justice.

It is also particularly important for the international community to recognize in the resolution that globalization and interdependence through trade, investment and capital flows, as well as advances in technology, including information technology, offer new opportunities for the growth of the world economy and the recovery and improvement of living standards around the world, while serious financial crises, insecurity, poverty, exclusion and inequality within and between societies, and obstacles to further integration into the global economy, and full participation of developing countries, as well as some countries in transition.

It should also be noted that UN Member States were unanimous in recognizing the need to further strengthen the international community’s efforts to eradicate poverty, ensure full employment, decent work, gender equality, social well-being, and social justice for all.

The International Labour Organization, which includes all SCO Families, adopted the ILO Declaration on Social Justice and Fair Globalization on 10 June 2008. The Declaration emphasizes the guarantee of equitable outcomes for all through employment, social protection, social dialogue and fundamental principles, and workplace rights.

The Declaration has been adopted at a crucial political moment and reflects the strong consensus that globalization needs to make a strong social sound to achieve greater and fairer outcomes for all. It also reflects the real prospects for development by highlighting the importance of viable enterprises in increasing employment and generating income opportunities for all.

The issues of ensuring and promoting social justice, removing barriers and obstacles of all kinds, including on the basis of gender, age, race, ethnicity or religion, culture or disability, have been and remain on the agenda of our countries of the large SCO Families, which are both active and active members of the United Nations and make a great contribution to this global international organization, whose commitment to social justice lies at the heart of all , the promotion and respect for human dignity.

Referring to the joint cohesive work of all UN Member States, culminating in the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the resolution on World Social Justice Day, I would like to emphasize the importance and timeliness of its adoption, because, in the course of time and in view of the raging pandemic of coronavirus infection, which is already going on as a “third wave” and has affected almost all corners of the world, it is social justice that is the fundamental principle of peaceful and prosperous coexistence in the countries themselves. so well between different countries.

The International Labour Organization stated that the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic was experiencing the worst crisis since World War II. The quarantine measures have affected 3.3 billion people, or 81 per cent of the world’s workforce, in temporary full or partial closures. The loss of working hours during 2020 compared to the fourth quarter of 2019 was 8.8% and was equivalent to the loss of 255 million jobs, about four times more than during the global financial crisis of 2009.

The effects of the new coronavirus pandemic have increased the total sovereign debt of all countries by $24 trillion. last year, bringing it to a record of $281 trillion. This represents 355% of global GDP.

Twenty years ago, the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization made a commitment to cooperate and engage in political, economic, and cultural and humanitarian spheres are guided by the noble principles and goals enshrined in the SCO Charter of 7 June 2002, the Treaty on Long-Term Neighbourhood, Friendship and Cooperation of SCO Member States of 16 August 2007, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Development Strategy until 20 July 2015.

The SCO Strategy stated that “there are preconditions for bringing the SCO to a qualitatively new level, characterized by increased cooperation in the fields of policy, security, economy, development of cultural and humanitarian ties, increased participation in the affairs of the region and the process of global regulation.” The SCO countries intend to encourage the international community to give equal importance to “all kinds of human rights, including the right to development.” Among the main goals and objectives of the SCO in the Strategy are “deepening trade, economic and investment cooperation, as well as joint project activities on the priority areas of cooperation for the sustainable development of member states, improving the well-being and standard of living of their population.”

One of the key elements of the fight against the pandemic is ensuring equitable, universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, which requires a portfolio of effective and safe drugs, and helping interested member countries deliver vaccines to those in need. At present, on the one hand, several positive results have been achieved in the development of COVID-19 vaccines, and many countries have approved plans for large-scale vaccination. On the other hand, the gradual rise of selfishness in this regard deals a serious blow to global cooperation in the fight against the pandemic.

It is necessary to ensure that all people can get vaccinated as soon as possible, said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterish. “If the virus can spread in developing countries, it will mutate “again and again”, and its new species may become more contagious, more deadly,” the UN Secretary General stressed.

At a critical juncture in the global response to the epidemic, SCO member countries are showing that they are fulfilling their commitments to promote research and spread vaccines. For example, China’s accession to COVAX, which aims to ensure that all countries and regions of the world are fairly vaccinated against coronavirus, is solely aimed at promoting the equitable distribution of vaccines on a global scale. This is a de facto guarantee that the vaccines will be available to developing countries, as well as an important signal to other Powers, an active call to join the programme.

Like many other dates established by the United Nations Organization, World Social Justice Day has a new “theme” each year to focus on one aspect or another. For example, the theme of 2019 is “If you want peace and development, work for social justice.” In 2020, the theme “Bridging the gap in inequality to achieve social justice” was defined. The theme of the 2021 day is “Social Justice in the Digital Economy.”

The digital economy is fundamentally changing the sphere of work. Over the past decade, the spread of broadband, cloud computing and big data has led to the introduction of digital platforms in several sectors of the economy that have a significant impact on society. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the rapid onlineization of a large part of business life, the work of the most important government and educational services has shown the effectiveness of IT technologies.

The practice has shown not only the importance and demand of Internet platforms, but also reflected their successes in creating new jobs, forming a fundamentally new level of the relationship between supplier and consumer on a global scale, leveling geographical and socio-political boundaries.

The digital services that people relied on during the coronavirus epidemic in China, such as online marketplaces, non-cash payments, contactless shipping, remote workplaces, online education and consultation and video conferencing, are now ubiquitous. Digital technologies can play a crucial role in creating new sources of economic growth, improving productivity, and helping workers and businesses transition and adapt to the new world.

Digital literacy continues to be an obstacle to the adoption of the necessary digital services that enable remote lifestyles. In low-income countries, only 32% of the population has basic digital skills, such as sending e-mail. Even in higher-income countries, the number is only 62%.

By 2030, the world is expected to have about 30% of the world’s smart jobs, and the global economy will grow by 13.4 trillion, thanks to the widespread adoption of digital technologies. Euro.

As a result, hundreds of millions of people and, above all, young people will have to urgently learn new skills or even change their profession.

In this regard, it is more important than ever for sco countries to expand the use of digital technologies in education and training to prepare the younger generation for a changing economy and post-industrial society.

In this context, President Shavkat Mirziyoyev proposed at the SCO Moscow Summit to develop a program for the development of digital literacy. Chinese President Xi Jinping, to enhance cooperation in the digital economy, e-commerce, “artificial intelligence” and “smart city” proposed the holding of the China-SCO Digital Economy Forum in Chongqing in 2021, which will serve as a platform for innovative cooperation.

Following last year’s SCO Summit, the heads of the member states adopted the Statement on Cooperation in the Digital Economy, which notes that the consequences of the socio-economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic necessitate the acceleration of digitalization in various sectors of the economy, including the SCO space.

The enormous potential for cooperation in digital transformation has been highlighted and the importance of strengthening comprehensive digitalization cooperation to narrow the digital divide for economic growth has been highlighted. There is an interest in the development under the auspices of the UN of a broad exchange of experience and best practices in the digital economy.

In summary, I would like to point out the following points.

The founding principles of the SCO since its founding have been mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, mutual consultation, respect for multiculturalism and the desire for joint development.

Strictly adhering to the principles of solidarity in accordance with the Shanghai Spirit, the Organization in its day-to-day activities is based on “the implementation of international cooperation in resolving international problems of economic, social, cultural and humanitarian nature”.

Social justice issues are complex. At this difficult time, scones countries demonstrate mutual support, solidarity, mutual assistance and work together both within our Organization, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and on the international stage, within the FRAMEWORK of the UN system.

Our countries are determined to overcome the dire consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, are advocating for overcoming political instability in different parts of the world, such as Afghanistan, Syria, other hotspots, and working to address global problems of poverty, climate disasters, terrorism, extremism, and other destructive factors that hinder good neighbourliness and joint development.

The Declaration of the MOSCOW SUMMIT emphasizes that member states will continue to strengthen the SCO as a pillar of the emerging more representative and just world order, based on the rule of international law, first of all, the UN Charter, respect for civilizational diversity and the independent choice by peoples of the path of their political and socio-economic development, equal partnership of states in order to ensure equal, joint, indivisibility, integrated and sustainable security, progressive growth and prosperity in the SCO space and the implementation of the Agenda for Sustainable Development for that period 2030.

There is no doubt that the successful implementation of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s 2021-2025 Development Strategy, approved by the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in 2020, will enable our countries to make a major contribution to the issues of social justice and social well-being for all.

 The writer is the  SCO Secretary General