By Mu Qian
Member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will carry on promoting diversity of culture and the harmonious coexistence of different peoples, said Minister of Culture Cai Wu at the Ninth Meeting of Cultural Ministers of SCO Member States, which is being held in Beijing from Monday to Thursday.
"This year is the start of the second 10-year plan for SCO cultural cooperation, and 2012 is a very important year for us to review historical cooperation and look to the future," said Cai, chairman of the meeting.
Participants included Darkhan Mynbay, minister of culture and information in Kazakhstan; Ibragim Zhunusov, minister of culture and tourism in Kyrgyzstan; Pavel Khoroshilov, vice-minister of culture in Russia; Mirzoshokhrukh Asrori, minister of culture in Tajikistan; and B. S. Saifullaev, first vice-minister of culture and sports in Uzbekistan.
Delegates from SCO observer states India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan, dialogue partners Belarus and Sri Lanka, guest of presidency Afghanistan and the SCO Secretariat also attended the meeting.
The SCO is an intergovernmental mutual security organization that was founded in Shanghai in 2001. The Meeting of Cultural Ministers of SCO Member States was initiated in Beijing in 2002.
The theme for this year's meeting is the development of a plan for cultural cooperation of the SCO in the next 10 years. During the meeting, delegates of member states signed the Beijing Declaration for the Meeting of Cultural Ministers of SCO Member States.
"This is the first declaration document for the cultural ministers' meeting, which is a milestone that will be recorded in the history of the SCO," Cai says.
The meeting also passed the 2012-14 Implementation Plan for Agreement on Cultural Cooperation between SCO Member States.
Cultural ministers of member states agreed to enhance cooperation in preserving historical and cultural heritage, and to join hands to work on the inscription of cultural projects, such as the Silk Road, on UNESCO's world heritage list.
"At the meeting we reached consensus that we should begin with young people, because young people are the core of our culture and the major driver of future development," said the Kazak minister of culture and information.
The 10th Meeting of Cultural Ministers of SCO Member States will be held in 2013 in Kyrgyzstan.