The Business Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation was founded on June 14, 2006 in Shanghai. The founding session of the Business Council was attended by representatives of the Council's national branches from 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. During the session the parties signed the documents which regulate activities of the Council and its permanent body - the SCO BC Secretariat based in Moscow.
The Council was created in accordance with the decision of the SCO Heads of State Council. It is a non-governmental body which brings together the most influential members of the business communities of the six countries with the aim of boosting economic cooperation in the framework of the Organisation, establishing direct links and dialogue among business and financial circles of the SCO member states, assisting practical promotion of multilateral projects determined by the heads of government in the Program of Trade and Economic Cooperation.
Annual Session is the highest body of the Business Council which sets priorities and formulates main targets for its activity, decides on important issues concerning links with business associations from other states.
The SCO Business Council is an independent institution capable of taking advisory decisions and giving expert assessments on the involvement of members of the business communities of the SCO member states in trade, economic and investment interaction in the framework of the Organisation.
Another important feature of the Business Council is that alongside the priority areas of multilateral cooperation such as energy, transportation, telecommunications, credit and banking the Council pays special attention to interaction of the SCO member states in education, science, new technology, healthcare and agriculture.
Proceeding from the dynamism and interest of the business communities the BC closely cooperates with economic ministries and departments of governments and in no way duplicates their work.
During Shanghai Summit in June 2006 the heads of state underlined the significance of founding the Business Council for further development of the SCO and were confident that it would become an effective mechanism for the promotion of business partnership in the SCO region.
In 2006 special working groups in charge of cooperation in healthcare and education as well as interaction in creating SCO Energy Club were created.
Currently the special working group on healthcare is conducting selection of projects aimed to set up a structure in the SCO framework similar to the World Health Organisation (the working title is "SCO WHO") which would work in the interest of improving medical services in the SCO member states, developing disease-prevention capabilities, satisfying the needs of population in high-tech medical treatments.
The Business Council puts special emphasis on the following projects aimed at providing help to population through:
- compulsory and voluntary medical insurance;
- elimination of the consequences of emergency situations (envisaging creation of a Joint Centre for Catastrophe Medicine);
- prevention of the spread of infectious diseases on the territory of the SCO member states (bird flu, SARS, tuberculosis);
- launch of a special high-tech project "Telemedicine" for population of remote and outlying regions of the member states;
- creation of a system of doctor's assistant and obstetrician aid posts;
- creation of recreational facilities and spa resorts on the territory of SCO member states, primarily in Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Kyrgyzstan.
The Special Working Group on Education is considering the formation of a coordinating centre on the basis of existing national universities which will assist the efforts of higher education institutions in every SCO member state to open training and refresher courses for specialists in various economic sectors. The development of cooperation in this field will promote mutual understanding, social and cultural interaction, further modernization of science and education in the SCO member states.
In order to stimulate effective business relations within the SCO and achieve economic targets, on August 16, 2007, the SCO Business Council and the SCO Interbank Consortium signed a cooperation agreement.
The SCO Business Council activities are a component of the work done by the government bodies of the SCO member states on pursuing the List of Measures of Further Development of Project Activities within the SCO for the Period of 2012-2016, which outline the priorities for economic cooperation in the coming decade.
To achieve the set targets, throughout 2013 several events were held within the SCO Business Council. Thus, the national bodies and the Secretariat of the SCO Business Council organised six conferences on the prospects of developing relations on the territory of the SCO in the financial sector of the economy and on the introduction of high technology, investment, and transport and logistics areas. Five meetings, three round tables and three conferences were also held and synchronised with the major events held by the SCO Business Council in the aforementioned period.
The major direction of the business companies' cooperation involved projects in energy and IT, as well as in infrastructure and transport development in the SCO member states.