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Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
     OSCE participating States      Partners for Co-operation
Secretariat Vienna, Austria
Membership 56 participating States
11 Partners for Co-operation
Leaders
 -  Secretary General France M. P. de Brichambaut
 -  Chairperson-in-Office Kazakhstan Kanat Saudabayev
 -  Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
Slovenia Janez Lenarčič
 -  Representative on Freedom of the Media
Hungary Miklós Haraszti
 -  High Commissioner on National Minorities
Norway Knut Vollebæk
Establishment
 -  as the CSCE1 July 1973 
 -  Helsinki Accords 30 July – 1 August 1975 
 -  Paris Charter 21 November 1990 
 -  renamed as the OSCE 1 January 1995 
Area
 -  Total 50,119,801 km2 
19,351,363 sq mi 
Population
 -  2010 estimate 1,229,503,230 (2nd)
 -  Density 24.53/km2 
63.5/sq mi
Website
www.osce.org
1 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the world's largest security-oriented intergovernmental organization. Its mandate includes issues such as arms control, human rights, freedom of the press and fair elections. Most of its 3,500-plus staff are engaged in field operations, with only around 10% in its headquarters.

The OSCE is an ad hoc organization under the United Nations Charter (Chap. VIII), and is concerned with early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. Its 56 participating states are in Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North America and cover most of the northern hemisphere. It was created during the Cold War era as an East-West forum.

Contents

Structure and institutions

Political direction to the Organization is given by heads of state or government during summits. Summits are not regular or scheduled but held as needed. The last summit took place in Istanbul in 1999. The high-level decision-making body of the Organization is the Ministerial Council, which meets at the end of every year. At ambassadorial level the Permanent Council convenes weekly in Vienna and serves as the regular negotiating and decision-making body. The post of Chairperson-in-Office is held by the minister for foreign affairs of the participating State which holds the chairmanship. The chairperson of the Permanent Council is the ambassador to Austria of the participating State which holds the chairmanship. From 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2009 the Chairperson-in-Office is Greece's Minister for Foreign Affairs, George Papandreou. Bakoyannis succeeded Finnish Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Stubb.

In addition to the Ministerial Council and Permanent Council, the Forum for Security Co-operation is also an OSCE decision-making body. It deals predominantly with matters of military co-operation, such as modalities for inspections according to the Vienna Document of 1999.

The OSCE's Secretariat is located in Vienna, Austria. The current Secretary General is Marc Perrin de Brichambaut of France, who took over from Ján Kubiš of Slovakia. The Organization also has offices in Copenhagen, Geneva, The Hague, Prague and Warsaw.

A meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in the Hofburg in Vienna, Austria

The OSCE employs close to 440 persons in its various institutions. In the field, the Organization has about 750 international and 2,370 local staff.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe passes resolutions on matters such as political and security affairs, economic and environmental issues, and democracy and human rights. Representing the collective voice of OSCE parliamentarians, these resolutions and recommendations are meant to ensure that all participating States live up to their OSCE commitments. The OSCE PA also engages in parliamentary diplomacy, and has an extensive election observation program.

The oldest OSCE institution is the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), established in 1991 following a decision made at the 1990 Summit of Paris. It is based in Warsaw, Poland, and is active throughout the OSCE area in the fields of election observation, democratic development, human rights, tolerance and non-discrimination, rule of law, and Roma and Sinti issues. The ODIHR has observed over 150 elections and referendums since 1995, sending some 35,000 observers. It has operated outside its own area twice, sending a team that offered technical support to the 9 October 2004 presidential elections in Afghanistan, an OSCE Partner for Co-operation, and an election support team to assist with parliamentary and provincial council elections on 18 September 2005. ODIHR is headed by Janez Lenarčič.

The Office of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, established in December 1997, acts as a watchdog to provide early warning on violations of freedom of expression in OSCE participating States. The Representative also assists participating States by advocating and promoting full compliance with OSCE norms, principles and commitments regarding freedom of expression and free media. The current Representative is former Hungarian parliamentarian Miklós Haraszti [1].

Chairmanship

The responsibilities of the Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) include

  • co-ordination of the work of OSCE institutions;
  • representing the Organization;
  • supervising activities related to conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.

The Chairmanship rotates annually, and the post of the Chairperson-in-Office is held by the foreign minister of the participating State which holds the Chairmanship. The CiO is assisted by the previous and incoming Chairperson-in-Office; the three of them together constitute the Troika. The origin of the institution lies with the Charter of Paris for a New Europe (1990), the Helsinki Document 1992 formally institutionalized this function.

The 2009 Troika consisted of the OSCE's current CiO and Greek Foreign Minister, Dora Bakoyannis (replaced in late-2009 by George Papandreou, Jr., Greek Prime Minister and Foreign Minister); Finnish Foreign Minister Alexander Stubb (CiO in 2008); and Kazakh Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev.

The 2010 Troika consists of the OSCE's current CiO and Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister, Kanat Saudabayev; the former CiO, the Greek Foreign Minister, George Papandreou, Jr.; and the incoming CiO from Lithuania.[2]

United Nations

The OSCE considers itself a regional organization in the sense of Chapter VIII of the United Nations Charter[3] and is an observer in the United Nations General Assembly.[4] The Chairperson-in-Office gives routine briefings to the United Nations Security Council.[5]

Politico-military dimension (first dimension)

The OSCE takes a comprehensive approach to the politico-military dimension of security, which includes a number of commitments by participating States and mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution. The Organization also seeks to enhance military security by promoting greater openness, transparency and co-operation.

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Arms control

The end of the Cold War resulted in a huge amount of surplus weapons becoming available in what is known as the international grey market for weapons. The OSCE helps to stop the - often illegal - spread of such weapons and offers assistance with their destruction.

Border management

The actions taken by the OSCE in border monitoring range from conflict prevention to post-conflict management, capacity building and institutional support.

Combating terrorism

With its expertise in conflict prevention, crisis management and early warning, the OSCE contributes to worldwide efforts in combating terrorism.

Conflict prevention

The OSCE works to prevent conflicts from arising and to facilitate lasting comprehensive political settlements for existing conflicts. It also helps with the process of rehabilitation in post-conflict areas.

Military reform

The OSCE's Forum for Security Co-operation provides a framework for political dialogue on military reform, while practical activities are conducted by field operations, as well as the Conflict Prevention Centre.

Policing

OSCE police operations are an integral part of the Organization's efforts in conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation.

Implementation

The OSCE was a rather small organization until selection by the international community to provide electoral organization to post war Bosnia and Herzegovina in early 1996. Ambassador Frowick was the first OSCE representative to initiate national election in September 1996, human rights issues and rule of law specifically designed to provide a foundation for judicial organization within Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The OSCE had regional offices and field offices, to include the office in Brcko in northeastern Bosnia and Herzegovina which remained in limbo until the Brcko Arbitration Agreement could be decided, finalized and implemented.

Brcko become a "special district" and remains so today.

The OSCE essentially took the place of the United Nations in Bosnia and Herzegovina in part because the Bosnian leadership felt deep contempt for the UN efforts to stop the war which began in 1991 and ended in 1995. During the time the United Nations were attempting a political solution, thousands of UN troops were posted in and around Bosnia and Herzegovina with special emphasis on Sarajevo. Between the inclusive dates of 1991 through 1995, over 200,000 Bosnians were killed and over one million displaced and another million as refugees.

The OSCE continues to have a presence and a number of initiatives to bring a sustained peace to the region.

Economic and environmental dimension (second dimension)

Activities in the economic and environmental dimension include the monitoring of developments related to economic and environmental security in OSCE participating States, with the aim of alerting them to any threat of conflict; assisting States in the creation of economic and environmental policies, legislation and institutions to promote security in the OSCE region.

Economic activities

Among the economic activities of the OSCE feature initiatives aimed at promoting good governance, combating corruption, money laundering, human trafficking and terrorist financing, as well as activities related to migration management, transport and energy security in its participating States. All activities are implemented in close co-operation with partner organisations, such as UN agencies, the Council of Europe, the World Bank and the OECD.

Environmental activities

The OSCE has developed a range of activities in the environmental sphere aimed at addressing ecologic threats to security in its participating States. Among the activities feature the Environment and Security Initiative (ENVSEC, www.envsec.org), in close co-operation with UNDP, UNEP, UNECE, NATO and others. Other activities deal with hazardous waste, water management and access to information under the Aarhus Convention.

Human dimension (third dimension)

The commitments made by OSCE participating States in the human dimension aim to ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; to abide by the rule of law; to promote the principles of democracy by building, strengthening and protecting democratic institutions; and to promote tolerance throughout the OSCE region.

Human Trafficking

Since 2003 the OSCE has had an established mechanism for combating Human Trafficking, as defined by Article 3 of the Palermo Protocol, which is aimed at raising public awareness of the problem and building the political will within member states to tackle it effectively.

The OSCE actions against human trafficking are coordinated by the Office of the Special Representative for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.Since 2006 this office has been held by Eva Biaudet, a former Finnish Member of Parliament and Minister of Health and Social Services.

The activities around Combating Trafficking in Human Beings in the OSCE Region of the Office of the Special Representative include

  • Co-operation with governments, helping them to accept and act on their responsibilities for curbing human trafficking;
  • Providing governments with decision and policy-making aids and offering guidance on anti-trafficking management, with the aim of arriving at solutions tailored to the needs of the individual countries and in line with international standards;
  • Assisting governments to develop the national anti-trafficking structures required for efficient internal and transnational co-operation;
  • Raising awareness to draw attention to the complexity of the problem and to the need for comprehensive solutions;
  • Considering all dimensions of human trafficking, namely trafficking for sexual exploitation, trafficking for forced and bonded labour, including domestic servitude, trafficking into forced marriages, trafficking in organs and trafficking in children;
  • Ensuring the effective interaction of all agents and stake holders involved in the fight against human trafficking, ranging from governmental authorities, law enforcement officials to NGOs, and - last but not least - international organizations, as the agencies providing support thorough expertise and know-how;
  • Guaranteeing the highest possible visibility of the OSCE’s fight against human trafficking to focus attention on the issue.

Democratization

The OSCE claims to promote democracy and assist the participating States in building democratic institutions. In practice, however, few states have more power in decision-making than others (see Criticisms).

Education

Education programmes are an integral part of the Organization's efforts in conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation.

Elections

As part of its democratization activities, the OSCE carries out election assistance projects in the run-up to, during, and following elections.

Gender equality

The equality of men and women is an integral part of sustainable democracy. The OSCE aims to provide equal opportunities for men and women and to integrate gender equality in policies and practices

Human rights

The OSCE's human rights activities focus on such priorities as freedom of movement and religion, preventing torture and trafficking in persons.

National and international NGOs

OSCE could grant Consultative Status to NGOs and INGOs in the form of "Researcher-in-residence programme" (run by the Prague Office of the OSCE Secretariat): accredited representatives of national and international NGOs are granted access to all records and to numerous topical compilations related to OSCE field activities.

Media freedom

The OSCE observes relevant media developments in its participating States with a view to addressing and providing early warning on violations of freedom of expression.

Minority rights

Ethnic conflict is one of the main sources of large-scale violence in Europe today. The OSCE's approach is to identify and to seek early resolution of ethnic tensions, and to set standards for the rights of persons belonging to minority groups.

Criticism

Following an unprecedented period of activity in the 1990s and early 2000s, the OSCE has in the past few years faced accusations from the CIS states (primarily Russia) of being a tool for the Western states to advance their own interests. For instance, the events in Ukraine in 2004 (the "Orange Revolution") led to allegations by Russia of OSCE involvement on behalf of the pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko. At the 2007 Munich Conference on Security Policy, Vladimir Putin made this position very clear:

“They [unnamed Western States] are trying to transform the OSCE into a vulgar instrument designed to promote the foreign policy interests of one or a group of countries. And this task is also being accomplished by the OSCE's bureaucratic apparatus, which is absolutely not connected with the state founders in any way. Decision-making procedures and the involvement of so-called non-governmental organizations are tailored for this task. These organizations are formally independent but they are purposefully financed and therefore under control." [6][7][8][9][10]

Also, following the Belorussian Presidential election of 2001, the OSCE denounced the election, claiming it to be neither 'free nor fair'; however, the OSCE had actually refused to observe the vote, and still made the aforementioned claim, despite Gerard Stoudmann of the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) of the OSCE acknowledging that there was "no evidence of manipulation or fraud of the results".

Russia and its allies are advancing the concept of a comprehensive OSCE reform, which would make the Secretariat, institutions and field presences more centralized and accountable to collective consensus-based bodies and focus the work of the Organization on topical security issues (human trafficking, terrorism, non-proliferation, arms control, etc.), at the expense of the "Human Dimension", or human rights issues. The move to reduce the autonomy of the theoretically independent OSCE institutions, such as ODIHR, would effectively grant a Russian veto over any OSCE activity. Western participating States are opposing this process, which they see as an attempt to prevent the OSCE from carrying out its democratization agenda in post-Soviet countries.

Following the 2008 U.S. presidential election, OSCE's ODIHR was accused of double standards by Russia's lawmaker Slutsky. The point was made that while numerous violations of the voting process were registered, its criticism came only from within the U.S. (media, human rights organizations, McCain's election staff), while the OSCE known for its bashing criticism of elections on the post-Soviet space remained silent.[11][12]

History

The Organization has its roots in the 1973 Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). Talks had been mooted about a European security grouping since the 1950s but the Cold War prevented any substantial progress until the talks at Dipoli in Helsinki began in November 1972. These talks were held at the suggestion of the Soviet Union which wished to use the talks to maintain its control over the communist countries in Eastern Europe. Western Europe, however, saw these talks as a way to reduce the tension in the region, furthering economic cooperation and obtaining humanitarian improvements for the populations of the Communist bloc.

The recommendations of the talks, "The Blue Book", gave the practical foundations for a three-stage conference, the Helsinki process. The CSCE opened in Helsinki on July 3, 1973 with 35 states sending representatives. Stage I only took five days to agree to follow the Blue Book. Stage II was the main working phase and was conducted in Geneva from September 18, 1973 until July 21, 1975. The result of Stage II was the Helsinki Final Act which was signed by the 35 participating States during Stage III, which took place in Finlandia Hall from July 30 to August 1, 1975. It was opened by Holy See’s diplomat Cardinal Agostino Casaroli, who was chairman of the conference.

The concepts of improving relations and implementing the Act were developed over a series of follow-up meeting, with major gatherings in Belgrade (October 4, 1977 - March 8, 1978), Madrid (November 11, 1980 - September 9, 1983), and Vienna (November 4, 1986 - January 19, 1989).

A unique aspect of the OSCE is the non-binding status of its provisions. Rather than being a formal treaty, the OSCE Final Act represents a political commitment by all signatories to build security and cooperation in Europe on the basis of its provisions. This allows the OSCE to remain a flexible process for the evolution of improved cooperation which avoids disputes and/or sanctions over implementation. By agreeing these commitments, signatories for the first time accepted that treatment of citizens within their borders was also a matter of legitimate international concern. This open process of the OSCE is often given credit for helping build democracy in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, thus leading to the end of the Cold War.

The collapse of the Soviet Union required a change of role for the CSCE. The Charter of Paris for a New Europe which was signed on November 21, 1990 marked the beginning of this change. With the changes capped by the re-naming of the CSCE to the OSCE on January 1, 1995, accordingly to the results of the conference held in Budapest, in 1994. The OSCE now had a formal Secretariat, Senior Council, Parliamentary Assembly, Conflict Prevention Centre, and Office for Free Elections (later becoming the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights).

In December 1996, the "Lisbon Declaration on a Common and Comprehensive Security Model for Europe for the Twenty-First Century" affirmed the universal and indivisible nature of security on the European continent.

In Istanbul on November 19, 1999, the OSCE ended a two-day summit by calling for a political settlement in Chechnya and adopting a Charter for European Security. According to then Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov, this summit marked a turning point in Russian perception of the OSCE, from an organization that expressed Europe's collective will, to an organization that serves as a Western tool for "forced democratization."[13]

After a group of thirteen Democratic United States senators petitioned Secretary of State Colin Powell to have foreign election monitors oversee the 2004 presidential election, the State Department acquiesced, and President George W. Bush invited the OSCE to do so.[14][15]

Chairmanship history

Chairmanship of the OSCE is held by a member state on a calendar-year basis, with the minister for foreign affairs of that state performing the function of Chairperson-in-Office. The table below shows the holders since 1991.[16]

Year Country Chairperson-in-Office
1991  Germany Hans-Dietrich Genscher (from June)
1992  Czechoslovakia Jiří Dienstbier (until 2 July); Jozef Moravčík (from 3 July)
1993  Sweden Margaretha af Ugglas
1994  Italy Beniamino Andreatta (until 11 May); Antonio Martino (from 12 May)
1995  Hungary László Kovács
1996  Switzerland Flavio Cotti
1997  Denmark Niels Helveg Petersen
1998  Poland Bronislaw Geremek
1999  Norway Knut Vollebaek
2000  Austria Wolfgang Schüssel (until 4 February); Benita Ferrero-Waldner (from 5 February)
2001  Romania Mircea Geoană
2002  Portugal Jaime Gama (until 6 April); Antonio Martins da Cruz (from 7 April)
2003  Netherlands Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (until 3 December); Bernard Bot (from 4 December)
2004  Bulgaria Solomon Passy
2005  Slovenia Dimitrij Rupel
2006  Belgium Karel De Gucht
2007  Spain Miguel Ángel Moratinos
2008  Finland Ilkka Kanerva (until 4 April); Alexander Stubb (from 5 April)
2009  Greece Dora Bakoyannis (until 5 October); George Papandreou (from 6 October)
2010  Kazakhstan Kanat Saudabayev
2011  Lithuania
2012  Ireland

Fiscal history

Since 1993, the OSCE's budget by year (in millions of euros, not adjusted for inflation) has been:

  • 2007 €186.2 million
  • 2006 €186.2 million
  • 2005 €186.6 million
  • 2004 €180.8 million
  • 2003 €165.5 million
  • 2002 €167.5 million
  • 2001 €194.5 million
  • 2000 €202.7 million
  • 1999 €146.1 million
  • 1998 €118.7 million
  • 1997 €43.3 million
  • 1996 €34.9 million
  • 1995 €18.9 million
  • 1994 €21 million
  • 1993 €12 million

Participating States

OSCE signatories as of 2006.      signed Helsinki Final Act and Paris Charter      signed Helsinki Final Act only      non-signatory      partner for cooperation
State Admission Signed the
Helsinki Final Act
Signed the
Charter of Paris
 Albania 19 June 1991 16 September 1991 17 September 1991
 Andorra 25 April 1996 10 November 1999 17 February 1998
 Armenia 30 January 1992 8 July 1992 17 April 1992
 Austria 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Azerbaijan 30 January 1992 8 July 1992 20 December 1993
 Belarus 30 January 1992 26 February 1992 8 April 1993
 Belgium 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 30 April 1992 8 July 1992  
 Bulgaria 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Canada 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Croatia 24 March 1992 8 July 1992  
 Cyprus 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Czech Republic 1 January 1993    
 Denmark 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Estonia 10 September 1991 14 October 1992 6 December 1991
 Finland 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 France 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Georgia 24 March 1992 8 July 1992 21 January 1994
 Germany 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Greece 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Vatican City 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Hungary 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Iceland 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Ireland 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Italy 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Kazakhstan 30 January 1992 8 July 1992 23 September 1992
 Kyrgyzstan 30 January 1992 8 July 1992 3 June 1994
 Latvia 10 September 1991 14 October 1991 6 December 1991
 Liechtenstein 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Lithuania 10 September 1991 14 October 1991 6 December 1991
 Luxembourg 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Macedonia[17] 12 October 1995    
 Malta 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Moldova 30 January 1992 26 February 1992 29 January 1993
 Monaco 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Montenegro 22 June 2006 1 September 2006  
 Netherlands 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Norway 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Poland 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Portugal 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Romania 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Russia 25 June 1973 (as USSR) 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 San Marino 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Serbia 10 November 2000 (as FR Yugoslavia) 27 November 2000[citation needed] 27 November 2000[citation needed]
 Slovakia 1 January 1993    
 Slovenia 24 March 1992 8 July 1992 8 March 1993
 Spain 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Sweden 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Switzerland 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Tajikistan 30 January 1992 26 February 1992  
 Turkey 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Turkmenistan 30 January 1992 8 July 1992  
 Ukraine 30 January 1992 26 February 1992 16 June 1992
 United Kingdom 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 United States 25 June 1973 1 August 1975 21 November 1990
 Uzbekistan 30 January 1992 26 February 1992 27 October 1993

Partners for co-operation

Mediterranean States

Asia

See also

References

External links

icient*OSCE Handbook (full version with hyperlinks to key documents)


Simple English

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is an international organization. Presently, it has 56 countries as its members. Most of the member countries of the OSCE are from Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia and North America.

The headquarters of OSCE are in Vienna, Austria. There are more than 3,500 persons who work for OSCE. Most of the persons who work for OSCE work at different places, and only about 10% of them work at its headquarters.

Since the end of the Second World War, many countries of the Europe wanted to have an organization to discuss various matters, especially security. Such discussion had continued since 1950s. Many years after, in November 1972, leaders of 35 countries met in Helsinki. In 1973, these countries set up the Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). By the end of 1990s, communist governments in many countries had changed. In this situation, the role of CSCE was also changing. The leaders from member countries of CSCE met in Paris. On 21st November 1990, they signed an agreement. This changed the name of Conference for Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) to Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This international organization continues to function.

Other websites

  • OSCE official website

Other pages



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