Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will continue to safeguard an open world economy despite the global trend towards protectionism, said Vladimir Norov, the newly appointed SCO Secretary General.

In an interview with local news agency, Norov expressed concern about the increasing global instability and uncertainty amid “imposition of sanctions and unilateral protectionist measures,” which hindered international political and economic cooperation.

“Against this background, the SCO member states are in favour of deepening interaction in order to meet the challenges of jointly forming an open world economy, consistently strengthening an open and rule-based multilateral trading system, and preventing any unilateral protectionist actions in trade,” Norov said.

He said that favourable conditions should be created for trade and investment in order to gradually implement the free movement of goods, capital, services and technology within the SCO.

Norov added that practical economic cooperation projects could be improved through financing platforms such as the SCO Interbank Consortium in such fields as energy, industry, transport and tourism.

The senior official said the year 2019 would witness the SCO making strides with balanced cooperation in four spheres, namely politics, security, economics and humanitarian issues.

Many SCO member states are working to link their economic development strategies with China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which “should lead to the expansion of economic, financial, trade and infrastructure cooperation,” according to Norov.

He added that scientific, technical and innovative cooperation would be pushed forward through exchanges among research institutions of SCO member states, while using the rapidly developing digital technology for the good of regional economic cooperation.

The fight against terrorism and drug trafficking as well as information security cooperation is proceeding smoothly, Norov said, and suggested SCO member states “promote the creation of a single global anti-terrorism front with a central coordinating role of the United Nations.”

He also noted the necessity of preventing youth in SCO countries from getting involved in terrorist, separatist and extremist activities, which could be done through education, in particular the spiritual and moral education of the young generation.

“I believe that the treaty-legal base agreed upon within the framework of the organisation and the joint positions of the member states can play an important coordinating role with respect to each area of interaction,” Norov said.

“The commitment to the Shanghai Spirit, which features mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality, consultation, respect for diverse civilisations and pursuit of common development, is of key importance in the activities of the SCO,” he said.