The purpose of the center is to develop academic ties with different research entities in the SCO member, observer, and dialogue partner countries and to provide a platform for policy practitioners and academics to discuss matters regarding this growing regional organization.

The SCO has eight member states (China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, and Pakistan), four member states (Afghanistan, Belarus, Mongolia, and Iran), and nine dialogue partners. As of September 2021, Iran became an acceding member.

Mongolia became the first observer country in 2004 and maintains the policy to increase its involvement as an observer country. Therefore, the establishment of the research center will serve for the purpose of being an active observer nation and provide independent, scholarly research, analysis, and recommendations on the SCO and Central Asia. As a public institution, the SCO Research Center organizes conferences, disseminates publications, and participates in media events to the public.

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