Date:  2013-06-13  Author: admin   

SCO Business Council
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization Business Council was established on June 14, 2006 in Shanghai. The Constituent Session of the Business Council was attended by the representatives of the Council national parts from the Republic of Kazakhstan, People’s Republic of China, Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Republic of Tajikistan and Republic of Uzbekistan. The Session approved documents regulating the activities of the Council and its standing body, Secretariat, to be located in Moscow. 
The Council has been established pursuant to the resolution of the Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Heads of State. It is a non-governmental structure that integrates the most respectful representatives of business communities of the aforesaid six countries in order to promote economic cooperation within the Organization, forge direct relationships and dialogue between businessmen and financial institutions of the SCO member States, and facilitate implementation of multilateral projects determined by the Heads of Government under The Program of Trade and Economic Cooperation adopted in 2003. 
The supreme body of the Business Council (BC) is its annual Session that is competent to prioritize and elaborate key directions of its activity, make decisions on critical matters pertaining to the relationships with business communities in other countries. The SCO Business Council is an independent entity authorized to make advisory decisions and provide expert evaluations of the most promising activities that could promote closer involvement of the SCO business communities in the trade, economic and investment cooperation within the Organization. 
A distinguishing feature of the Business Council is that alongside with the cooperation in the energy, transport, telecommunications and banking sectors it gives priority to promotion of the SCO interstate cooperation in the spheres of education, science and innovative technologies, health care and agriculture. It means that this new body assumes responsibility not only for the industrial but also for the important social component of the cooperation, and believes this component to be a vital constituent of the economic development. 
Based on the dynamic approach and interest of the business community the Business Council closely cooperates with the ministries and departments of the Government economic block by no means acting in place of such institutions. 
An important aspect of the BC activities is the harmonization of national economic laws. In this sphere, it is expected that the BC will prepare necessary guidelines and recommendations including new draft laws to be proposed for examination. Such work conforms to the approaches that were expressed at the First Meeting of the SCO Heads of Parliament in Moscow on May 30, 2006. 
At the Shanghai Summit of June 2006, the Heads of State emphasized that establishment of the Business Council would be important for further development of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and expressed their confidence that it would become an effective mechanism to promote business partnership in the SCO space. 
The Business Council is expected to perform rather efficient work that would become a core of the Shanghai Organization activity in general. 
The chairmen of the SCO Business Council national parts held their working meetings in Irkutsk on September 22, 2006, and in Moscow on December 6, 2006. The agendas of these meetings included proposals on the projects that may be implemented under the auspices of the Business Council. The meetings made decisions to set up special working groups in charge of cooperation in the spheres of education and health care, and in charge of cooperation for establishment of the SCO Energy Club. Currently, the health-care working group is involved in selection of projects for establishment of an agency within the SCO that would be similar to the World Health Organization (working name – SCO WHO) and would focus on improvement of the health-care standards in the Organization member states, development of the preventive health care, and satisfaction of population needs in the hi-tech medical assistance. 
The priority projects include provision of the medical assistance through obligatory and voluntary medical insurance, arrangements for disaster control and recovery (by means of a to-be-established joint Center of Disaster Medicine), prevention of epizootics (e.g. SARS) and spreading of tuberculosis in the territories of the SCO member states, implementation of a targeted hi-tech program named Telemedicine for the people residing in hard-to-reach and remote areas of the member states, establishment of a feldsher-midwife station network, recreation areas and balneotherapeutic health resorts in the SCO member states and first of all in Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Kyrgyzstan. 
In the sphere of education, the respective working group is examining a project to establish a kind of a control room for the available national higher educational institutions to coordinate efforts of the specific higher institutions in each SCO member country to prepare students and retrain specialists for various sectors of the economy. An idea to establish an SCO University is under consideration based on the resources of the Moscow State University, Moscow State Institute of International Relations (University), new regional universities, e.g. the Siberian Federal University, as well as recruiting experts from other member states of the Organization. 
Development of cooperation in this sphere would promote mutual understanding and cultural/humanitarian interfacing, further rise of the science and education levels in our countries. 
The SCO Business Council participates fully in establishment of the Organization Energy Club (SCO EC) and considers this work an important component of its activity because many CEOs of the Russian fuel and energy companies are the members of the BC Russian national part. 
The SCO Business Council plays a key role in provision of interaction between government institutions and business communities first of all in order to create a platform for debates within the SCO EC to facilitate regular substantial discussions of the SCO energy strategy, and prospects for implementation of joint projects in exploration, production, processing, transportation and transit of energy resources. 
Simultaneously, the experts of the SCO BC Russian national part are discussing prospects for establishment of several R&D centers acting under the auspices of the SCO BC and regional SCO BC representative offices, and are involved in preparation of a draft agreement on the long-term cooperation of the SCO Business Council with the SCO Interbank Association.
Key Tasks and Activities of Business Council 
• To facilitate the effective regional cooperation of the trade-economic, credit-financial, scientific-technological, power engineering, transport, telecommunications, agricultural and other spheres; 
• to implement projects in different sectors of the economy in the territory of the member-states; 
• to facilitate the search of funding sources and other forms of participation; 
• to elaborate recommendations and proposals to improve conditions of economic cooperation within the SCO; 
• to provide information exchange for development of cooperation between business and financial communities of the SCO countries; 
• to prepare plans and programmes of cooperation between business and financial communities. 
Supreme Body 
A supreme body of the Business Council is its annual Session that is empowered to make decisions on key matters of cooperation with main business associations of other countries. The Session is conducted by the Chairman (Head) of the BC National Branch of the state chairing the SCO in the current year. 
Key functions of the SCO Annual Session include: review of a report prepared by the Secretariat of the Business Council for the annual BC Session; discussion of urgent tasks of SCO financial and business communities relating to promotion of trade and economic cooperation and provision of business community involvement in implementation of economic projects; approval of a By-Law of the SCO Business Council; approval of procedural rules of the Session, Board and Secretariat prepared by the BC Board; approval of a decision on establishment of the Standing Secretariat of the Business Council and approval of a candidacy of the BC Secretary. 
Decisions of the Session are taken unanimously and binding upon the Business Council. The President (Head) of the SCO BC National Branch is elected or appointed from among the members of the National Branch pursuant to the rules and procedures established in each SCO member state. 
The Board of the Business Council consists of representatives of BC National Branches (three per each) plus the BC Secretary. The Board is primarily responsible for presentation of a draft By-Law of the SCO Business Council , draft procedural rules of the Session, Board and Secretariat for approval by the Session; review and settlement of routine BC problems and development of measures to improve BC activity. Meetings of the Board are held annually. Decisions on all agenda items are taken without voting and considered approved provided neither of the BC National Branches objected the decision (consensus). The BC Board is chaired by the President of the BC National Branch of the state chairing the SCO in the given year. The Deputy Chairman of the Board is the President of the National Branch of the state that will chair the SCO next year. 
Secretariat of Business Council 
• Studies and summarizes all proposals and materials for the agenda of the Board meeting provided by the Secretariats of the National Branches, and prepares a draft agenda, proposed date and place of the meeting to be advised to the Board; 
• prepares a report for the annual BC session; 
• supervises the implementation of the Board and annual Session decisions; 
• arranges exhibitions, conferences, workshops and other events as agreed with the BC National Branches.

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