The SCO prototype - the "Shanghai Five" mechanism, initially developed on the basis of strengthening trust and disarmament in border regions of China with Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. After the end of Cold War, changes in international and regional situation has undergone were very big; peace and development have become trend of the epoch. After that the question of strengthening good-neighborly relations of mutual trust, friendship and cooperation among five neighboring countries - China, Kazakhstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan has come on the agenda. In 1996 and 1997, heads of five states, at their meetings in Shanghai and Moscow signed "Agreement on deepening military trust in border regions" and "Agreement on reduction of military forces in border regions", which became an important historical stage and resulted in launching the mechanism called "Shanghai Five". Thereafter such a form of annual meetings has become established practice and is being held alternately in each of five countries. From 1998 to 2000 "Shanghai Five" summits were held in Almaty, Bishkek, Dushanbe (during Dushanbe meeting President of Uzbekistan I.Karimov was invited by host state as a guest to take part in the meeting). The contents of meetings was also gradually extending from discussing matters of strengthening mutual trust in border regions to developing comprehensive mutually beneficial cooperation in spheres of politics, security, diplomacy, as well as trade-economic, cultural-humanitarian and other areas. Besides Heads of states meetings, mechanisms of regular meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Ministers of defense, law enforcement bodies, ministers of economy, culture, transport, extreme situations, border services, Public Prosecutor and National Coordinators have also been established.
With joint efforts of parties concerned big results have been achieved in practical activities of "Shanghai Five". It successfully moved forward the process of solving issues left history concerning boundary matters in relations of China with four member states, facilitated peace and tranquility in border regions; strongly fights and constrains "three evil forces" - terrorism, separatism and extremism, safeguarded security and stability of states of the region; actively promoted trade and economic relations among member states, carried out useful search in unfolding regional economic cooperation; continuously strengthens coordination among member states on international arena, became an important regional force in promoting of peace and development throughout the world.
In the history of modern international relations, creation and development of "Shanghai Five" represents diplomatic practice of creative value. It initiated new global vision with regards to security, containing principles of mutual trust, disarmament, cooperation and security, enriched new type of interstate relations started by Russia and China, with partnership, not union as a basic; provided model of regional cooperation with such distinctive features as joint initiative, priority on security, mutually beneficial interaction of big and small states. This new world vision has raised human society above cold war ideology and made an invaluable contribution to creation of a new model of international relations.
With entering the 21st century, economic globalisation has received further development, science and technology is being developed at high tempo. In order to effectively seize the historic chance for peace and development, obtain lowering of different risks and challenges, all countries of the world are spending up their steps towards regional cooperation. At the same time, activity of terrorist, separatist and extremist forces in Central Asian region accrues day by day, seriously threatening security and stability of states, which influences in regional peace and development. China, Russia and Central Asian states carry an important mission of providing regional security and stability, protection of peace throughout the World. They also face a difficult task of developing self-economy, realization of national revival. Only as a result of further deepening the mutual relations of good-neighborhood, friendship and cooperation it is possible effectively protect self-interests, realize purposes of joint development and prosperity.
According to the above-mentioned, celebrating the fifth anniversary of "Shanghai Five" on June 15, 2001 at a meeting in Shanghai, "cradle" of the mechanism, Heads of "Shanghai five" member-states and President of the Republic of Uzbekistan unanimously decided to lift the mechanism of "Shanghai Five" to a higher level, in order to make it strong base and important support for developing under new conditions cooperation among six states. To these purposes Heads of six states signed the Declaration on Establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, declared a birth of the new organisation of regional cooperation - SCO. During the meeting "the Shanghai convention on fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism" was also signed. It happened three months prior to the tragedy of September 11, 2001. Thus, the SCO has become the pioneer organization, which has precisely proposed fighting against terrorism on the international level.
On September 14, 2001 the first meeting of Heads of governments of SCO member states took place in Almaty. The Heads of governments of six states signed "Memorandum among Governments of SCO member states on the basic goals and directions of regional economic cooperation and launch of process on creating favorable conditions in the field of trade and investments", and also declared official establishment of regular meetings of heads of governments mechanism within SCO frameworks.
On July 7, 2002 the second meeting of heads of SCO member states took place in Saint Petersburg. Heads of six states adopted "The Charter of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation", precisely fixing there goals, principles and basic directions of SCO cooperation. Adoption of the Charter has laid strong international legal foundation under the new organisation. Furthermore during the summit "The agreement among SCO member states on Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure" was signed and "The Declaration of Heads of SCO member states" was proclaimed.
On May 29, 2003 the third meeting of heads of SCO member states took place in Moscow. The main achievement of this meeting was the passing of a number of regulations and decisions regulating the functioning of the Organisation’s internal mechanism. During this meeting the assignment of Zhang Deguang, citizen of the People’s Republic of China, for the post of SCO Secretary-General was approved.
On September 23, 2003 the meeting of heads of governments of SCO member states took place in Beijing. During the meeting "The Program of multilateral trade and economic cooperation amomg SCO member states" was signed and the first budget of the Organisation for 2004 was approved. The program precisely determined basic goals and objectives of economic cooperation within the SCO framework, priority directions and concrete practical steps of cooperation with special emphasis on long-term planning, it also pointed out to a course of SCO economic cooperation, free movement of goods, capital, services and technologies for a period of two decades.
On January 15, 2004 the major ceremony of the establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Secretariat took place in Beijing. Leaders of the host country, Ministers of Foreign Affairs, National Coordinators of six SCO member states, representatives of some international organisations and diplomatic missions accredited in China were invited to the ceremony and witnessed this historic moment. The establishment of the Secretariat symbolised the end of the formation phase of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and the beginning of a completely new phase of its development. As a mature and confident regional force, the SCO is entering the international stage at a rapid pace.