SCO Current Affairs - 2019

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India to host 19th Council of Heads of Governments of SCO in 2020

India will be hosting  the 19th Council of Heads of Government of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in 2020. This was informed by SCO Secretary General Vladimir Norov. This will be for the first time that India will host the high level meeting of the China-led eight-member economic and security bloc.

About SCO

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) aka Shanghai Pact was created in 2001 in Shanghai by China. Apart from China, its founding members were Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. India and Pakistan were admitted as full members in 2017. At present, SCO has four observer States viz.  Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia; and has six dialogue partners viz. Azerbaijan, Armenia, Cambodia, Nepal, Turkey and Sri Lanka. It is also known as Alliance of the East. In terms of geographical coverage and population, it is world’s largest regional organization.

SCO summits

SCO holds two types of summits every year viz. Summit of Heads of States and Summits Heads of Governments. These summits are organized in member states. The latest Summit of heads of government was held in Tashkent in November 2019. It was proposed in Tashkent Summit that India would take the initiative to hold the 2020 meetings of the Heads of Government.

SCOJtEx-2019: Shanghai Cooperation Organization Joint Exercise

Union Home Minister Amit Shah will inaugurate the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Joint Exercise on Urban Earthquake Search and Rescue- ‘SCOJtEx-2019’ in New Delhi. The four day exercise will be held from 4-7 November 2019. The joint exercise is being hosted by National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

The SCOJtEx will be followed by a meeting between SCO experts and officials of ministries responsible for prevention as well as elimination of emergency situations.

About SCOJtEx-2019

Objective: To rehearse the disaster response mechanism, share knowledge, experience and technology for mutual coordination.

Participant: All the eight SCO member countries will be participating- India, Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. Representatives from Brazil, Mongolia, South Africa, International Search & Rescue Advisory Group, ASEAN Coordination Centre for Humanitarian Assistance (AHA) Centre are invited as observers. Other participants include representatives from embassies of all SCO member nations, heads of state disaster response forces (SDRF) and representatives of other stakeholders.

Key Features:

Focus of Joint Exercise will be to test the region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of Inter-governmental interaction for immediate response. The exercise will also provide an opportunity to enhance coordination as well as co-operation involving multi-agency operations in an earthquake scenario.

This simulation exercise will be conducted as per the methodology and guidelines of International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), a network of disaster-prone and disaster-responding countries as well as organizations dedicated to operational field coordination and urban search and rescue (USAR).

During exercise, discussions will be held on role and responsibilities of many organisations and teams, including those involved in emergency medical services, as well as urban search and rescue at both national and international levels.

Discussions will be also held on the role of humanitarian system, emergency response and assessment team, United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC), on-site operations coordination centre local emergency management authority and humanitarian civil-military coordination.