Declaration of the Heads of the SCO Member States on International Information Security

Non official translation by FIDH from the Russian original

(Shanghai, 15 June 2006)

The heads of the member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (hereinafter “SCO” or the “Organization”): the Republic of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, the Republic of Tajikistan, and the Republic of Uzbekistan, gathered in Shanghai on 15 June 2006, announce the following:

One of the most significant features of modernity is the precipitous development and universal spread of the latest information and communication technology (ICT). Penetrating all realms of human activity, ICT forms a global information environment upon which directly depend the state of political, economic, defense, socio-cultural, and other components of national security and the common system of international safety and stability. The information environment is becoming a systemically important factor of society’s daily life, and information is becoming one of the most valuable elements of the national patrimony and one of the most important political and economic resources.

The heads of state recognize that ICT has created significant potential for developing human opportunities and a more full realization of human rights and freedoms. They present additional opportunities and result in the appearance of additional tools for the effective functioning of society and the state and for the formation of a global partnership for the purposes of steady development, security, and flourishing.

At the same time, the heads of state express their concern that a real danger is currently appearing of ICT being used for purposes capable of bringing serious harm to the security of people, society, and the state in the destruction of foundational principles of equality and mutual respect, non-interference in internal affairs of sovereign states, peaceful regulation of conflicts, non-use of force, and observation of human rights. In this regard the threat of ICT being used in criminal, terrorist, and military-political goals incompatible with the maintenance of international security may be realized in both the civil and military realms and may lead to serious political and socio-economic consequences in individual countries, regions, and the world as a whole, and to the destabilization of the public life of states.

The heads of state note the useful work conducted in their countries for the purpose of strengthening information security on a national level. At the same time they recognize that the negative consequences of the destructive use of ICT by criminals, terrorists, their groups and organizations, or by individual states for the resolution of military and political objectives, may have wide dissemination affecting third countries and attaining at times a truly global scale. The use of ICT for these purposes may give rise to world catastrophes comparable in their destructive effects to the result of using weapons of mass destruction.

The heads of state emphasize that ICT should be not only a carrier of information in the world but should serve the convergence and interpenetration of cultures and civilizations, whereby the religious sentiments and traditions of peoples would be respected, including on the territory of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The heads of state emphasize that the cross-border nature of ICT and of modern challenges and threats mandate the necessity of additional national efforts to ensure information security by joint actions on the bilateral, regional, and international levels. Only by adopting coordinated and complementary measures may states provide an adequate response to modern challenges and threats to security in the informational realm.

In this context, the heads of state support the activity conducted within the framework of the UN in reviewing the existing and potential threats in the realm of information security and the possible joint measures to eliminate them and in examining the corresponding international concepts aimed at strengthening the security of global information and telecommunication systems, and consider it important that activity continue.

The Heads of State welcome Resolution 60/45 “Developments in the field of information and communications in the context of international security,” adopted on 8 December 2005 by the UN General Assembly at its jubilee 60th session, and express their readiness to assist in fulfilling the recommendations it contains.

The heads of state declare the proximity of their countries’ positions on key problems connected with international information security (IIS) and intend to join forces within the framework of the SCO for the purposes of opposing new information challenges and threats while observing the principles and norms of international law, including the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this connection the Heads of State have adopted a resolution regarding the creation of a group of IIS experts of SCO member states, with the participation of representatives of the Secretariat of the Organization and the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure, in order to develop a plan of action for ensuring international information security and for determining the possible ways and means within the framework of the SCO of resolving problems of IIS in all its aspects.

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