Implementation of commitments, future of OSCE in focus at review conference in Vienna

October 18. OSCE. VIENNA

Implementation of commitments, future of OSCE in focus at review conference in ViennaOSCE participating States’ implementation of commitments in the politico-military and economic-environmental dimensions of security, as well as the future role and structure of the OSCE, were in focus today at the start of the second part of a conference that aims to prepare for the upcoming OSCE Summit.

The Deputy Head of the Kazakhstan OSCE Task Force, Yerbolat Sembayev, representing the 2010 OSCE Chairmanship, said that the OSCE had a long track record in politico-military security, in a speech at the opening of the second part of the OSCE Review Conference, held in Vienna through 26 October.

“Landmark arms control treaties and confidence-building measures have been negotiated under the OSCE’s auspices. It is a credit to our Organization that Europe is no longer locked in a deadly arms race. Furthermore, over the past 20 years, the OSCE has developed one of the most well-stocked tool kits for conflict prevention in the world. This is a legacy in which we can all take pride.”

“Yet threats to security still exist in the OSCE area. Many of our well-honed instruments suffer from disuse,” he said, adding he hoped for progress on these issues during the OSCE Summit, to be held 1-2 December in Astana.

He also noted that economic and environmental security aspects were crucial to security: “Challenges such as climate change and the financial crisis show the impact of economic and environmental factors on our common security,” he said.

With regard to the future role of the OSCE, Sembayev urged the participants – representatives of the 56 OSCE participating States – to focus on enhancing the OSCE as a political forum, strengthening its legal framework and improving its procedures and practices.

The OSCE Secretary General, Marc Perrin de Brichambaut, said the Review Conference aimed not just to reflect on past achievements, but also to focus on a way forward. “To face the future, the OSCE needs to be stronger, more effective and better equipped,” he said.

OSCE participating States were accountable to their citizens and to each other for fulfilling the commitments they have made as participants of the Organization, he said.

“These commitments form a vast body of engagement that is alive and ever-changing – in reaction to events and to evolving needs. This highlights the nature of the OSCE as a living project that must be constantly maintained and refined,” he said.

Since the last OSCE Summit was held in 1999, a new generation of security challenges has emerged, he said, listing transnational threats, such as organized crime, cyber threats, trafficking and terrorism, as challenges that require urgent attention. He noted that many such threats originate beyond the borders of the OSCE region, and that effective responses required broad-based co-operation with partner States and organizations.

“The range of such threats stemming from the territory of Afghanistan is real and affects us all. A renewed effort to assist Afghanistan and the international community as they try to address these threats is needed. The OSCE is well-placed to enhance its contribution, drawing on its inclusive membership and its broad experience in cross-dimensional security,” he said.

Wolfgang Grossruck, a Vice-President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, said the Parliamentary Assembly had actively contributed to the work of the OSCE and called for reforms that would give the Assembly a larger role and make the Organization more transparent and accountable.

The first part of the Review Conference, held earlier this month in Warsaw, focused on security matters related to human rights and fundamental freedoms, while the third part, also focusing on the human dimension of security, will be held 26-28 November in Astana.