July 2024 Monthly Forecast


Cooperation between the UN and Regional Organisations

Expected Council Action 

In July, the Council is expected to hold a meeting on the cooperation between the UN and regional organisations with a focus on the role of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS).  


The CSTO was established in 1992 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Currently, it is composed of six members: Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan. The CSTO was created to ensure national and collective security among its members and to foster military and political cooperation. It has sought to combat regional threats such as terrorism, drug trafficking, and illegal migration.  

Formed in 2001, the SCO currently has nine members: China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. In September 2022, Belarus initiated its accession to the organisation. The SCO aims to enhance economic, political, social, transportation, and cultural ties among its members. Lately, it has prioritised peace, stability, and humanitarian cooperation. The SCO’s security agenda emphasises countering extremism, terrorism, and separatism.  

The CIS was formed in 1991 and currently has nine members: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. The CIS promotes political, economic, human rights, cultural, and environmental cooperation. The CIS also coordinates member activities on counter-terrorism.  

Key Recent Developments 

Strengthening cooperation with regional and sub-regional organisations—as envisioned in Chapter VIII of the UN Charter—has become an increasingly prominent theme for the Security Council. The AU, the EU, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) are some of the organisations that have developed more institutionalised relations with the Council. 

Russia has sought to promote greater cooperation between the UN and regional organisations operating in the Eurasian region. During its October 2016 presidency of the Council, Russia organised the first Council meeting on cooperation between the UN and the CSTO, the SCO, and the CIS. The objective of that debate was to draw the Council’s attention to the contribution these organisations have made in countering threats to peace and security in the region and to encourage their further cooperation with the UN, including the UN Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA).  

In September 2019, Russia organised a ministerial-level debate that centred on the roles played by the CSTO, the SCO, and the CIS in countering terrorist threats. During its presidency in February 2022, Russia convened another meeting to discuss cooperation between the UN and these three organisations, focused on enhancing cooperation in the areas of peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, and drug trafficking.  

In May 2018, representatives of the CSTO, the SCO, and the CIS formalised their cooperation on counter-terrorism by signing a memorandum of understanding committing them to enhancing collaboration and information-sharing. New areas of cooperation, including information and biological security, are also steadily evolving. 

Given their shared objectives in the Central Asian region, these organisations maintain regular contact with the Council’s Counter-Terrorism Committee and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The situation in Afghanistan, in particular, has been a common concern because of its implications for regional security, including terrorism and cross-border drug trafficking.  

On 22 March, Russia experienced one of its deadliest terrorist attacks in recent decades when four gunmen conducted a mass shooting at the Crocus City Hall music venue in Moscow. The incident resulted in hundreds of casualties, with over 130 people killed. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, and Western intelligence has suggested the involvement of IS Khorasan Province, a regional branch of IS active in South-Central Asia, including Afghanistan. The suspects were identified as nationals of Tajikistan, a member of the CSTO, the SCO, and the CIS. On 18 April, Russia and Tajikistan, which shares a border with Afghanistan, conducted joint military drills aimed at preparing for potential cross-border incursions by militants or illegal armed groups. Additionally, the CSTO is reportedly working on a draft resolution to strengthen the Tajik-Afghan border.  

The Secretary-General’s latest biennial report on “Cooperation between the UN and regional and other organizations,” issued on 8 August 2022, underscored continued strengthening of cooperation between the UN on the one hand and the CSTO, the SCO, and the CIS, on the other. This includes regular exchanges of information, visits, conferences, and joint training exercises. The report highlighted their joint efforts on preventive measures in the region, including through UNRCCA, the implementation of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy in Central Asia, and initiatives related to sustainable development.  

On 22 February, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced that Armenia had frozen its participation in the CSTO and was reviewing its membership in the organisation. Pashinyan has voiced dissatisfaction with Armenia’s long-standing alliance with Russia, contending that Armenia can no longer depend on Russia for its defence. Diplomatic tensions between the two countries escalated following Azerbaijani military actions in the Nagorno-Karabakh region in September 2023. (For more information, see our 20 September 2023 What’s in Blue story.)   

Authorities in Moldova have also expressed dissatisfaction with their country’s membership in the CIS. Tensions between Chisinau and Moscow escalated following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and in early 2023, the ruling Party of Action and Solidarity announced its intention to annul significant agreements related to the CIS. In February 2023, Chisinau recalled its representative from the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly. 

Russia has downplayed the significance of these developments. During a 14 December 2023 press conference, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that “Moldova’s CIS membership does not create much added value”, clarifying that Russia was not “pushing anyone out” of the organisation. Regarding Armenia and its memberships in the CIS and the CSTO, Putin suggested that “complex processes underway in Armenia’s domestic politics” were contributing to its approach, emphasising his belief that withdrawing from the CIS, the Eurasian Economic Union, or the CSTO would not be in Armenia’s best interests.    

Council and Wider Dynamics 

Russia has maintained that the CSTO, the SCO, and the CIS share common objectives with the UN and has advocated for enhanced cooperation between the UN and these organisations. During the October 2016 meeting, Russia said that there was a lack of general understanding of these organisations’ activities and that some Council members had tried to downplay their role. The P3 members (France, the UK, and the US) have been generally critical of these organisations, viewing them as a vehicle for a few of their most dominant members to enhance their influence in the region. The division among Council members in the perception of these organisations has been evident in the context of the Council’s considerations of UNRCCA.  

Until early 2015, Council members issued a press statement following each briefing on UNRCCA, encouraging increased cooperation and coordination among the Central Asian countries, UNRCCA, and “relevant regional organisations”. In recent years, however, Russia, the penholder on UNRCCA, proposed including specific references to the CSTO, the SCO, and the CIS in addition to the OSCE and the EU. The P3 has opposed these additions, and a press statement on the UNRCCA has not been issued since January 2018.  

The July meeting will be the first on the cooperation between the UN and the CSTO, the SCO, and the CIS since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Since then, tensions between Russia and Western countries have deepened. Discussions in the General Assembly regarding cooperation between the UN and regional organisations, previously non-controversial, have become increasingly contentious. An illustrative example occurred in November 2022 when the General Assembly adopted resolution A/RES/77/19 on cooperation between the UN and the Central European Initiative (CEI). This resolution included an operative paragraph acknowledging the contribution of the CEI to “alleviate the serious consequences, caused by the aggression by the Russian Federation against Ukraine”. Russia voted against the resolution and criticised what it saw as unnecessary politicisation of regional organisations’ mandates, cautioning against setting a precedent that could extend to similar resolutions in the future. 

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Secretary-General’s Reports
8 August 2022S/2022/606 This was the biennial report on cooperation between the UN and regional and other organisations.
Security Council Meeting Records
16 February 2022S/PV.8967 This was a debate on cooperation between the UN and the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO).

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