Update Report

Posted 4 February 2010
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Update Report No. 2: Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe

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Expected Council Action
On 5 February the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Kazakhstan’s Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev is scheduled to brief the Council in an open meeting. He is expected to provide an overview of Kazakhstan’s priorities and plans for its 2010 chairmanship of the organisation. (Since 2005 the acting OSCE chairperson has been invited on a regular basis to brief the Council under rule 39 of its Provisional Rules of Procedure, which allows the Council to invite a person to provide it with information. In 2001 there was a briefing in informal consultations.) No outcome is expected.

Background
The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is the largest and most diverse regional arrangement recognised under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter with 56 participating states from Europe, Central Asia and North America. It has its orgins in the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe, created in 1975 as a dialogue between rivals of the Cold War. A transformation of the Conference to an organisation began in the early 1990s and officially took effect on 1 January 1995.

The OSCE is engaged in early warning activities, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation and operates along three dimensions of security: the politico-military, the economic and environmental and the human dimension. Activities focus on arms control, confidence-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratisation, policing strategies, counterterrorism, and economic and environmental activities.

The organisation currently has 19 missions or field-operations in South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. Two of these are in situations currently on the Security Council’s agenda: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. The mandate for the OSCE mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina was established under the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995 and focuses on peacebuilding and developing inclusive political processes and democratic institutions that respect the rule of law. The OSCE has also appointed a Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office based in Vienna to assist the parties to the Dayton Accords in the implementation of an agreement on subregional arms control. The OSCE mission in Kosovo, established in 1999 and currently the largest OSCE field presence with some 700 international and local staff, is an integral part of the UN Mission in Kosovo. It is engaged in support for democratic institutions and good governance, promotion of human and community rights and improvement of security and public safety.

The OSCE is also involved in Afghanistan, which has been an OSCE partner for co-operation since 2003.

The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office co-chairs the Geneva Discussions on Georgia together with the EU and the UN. The OSCE until recently had a mission in Georgia, but this was closed down on 30 June 2009 following the closure of the UN Observer Mission to Georgia on 15 June 2009.

On 1 January 2010 Kazakhstan became the twentieth state chairing the OSCE since the establishment of the position of Chairperson-in-Office in 1991, charged with coordinating the work of the main governing bodies of the organisation. Some of the priorities outlined by Kazakhstan for its one-year chairmanship include:

  • developing the Corfu process, which was launched in June 2009 under the Greek chairmanship to take forward European security dialogue;
  • strengtening the OSCE’s cooperation with other international organisations and institutions;
  • assisting in resolution of protracted conflicts, in particular in the South Caucasus (a visit to the region by the Chairman-in Office is scheduled for mid-February);
  • countering new security threats like drug trafficking and terrorism;
  • supporting global non-proliferation efforts, including implementation of Security Council resolution 1540;
  • strenghtening the OSCE’s involvement in Afghanistan;
  • promoting tolerance and intercultural dialogue (a high-level conference on these issues is planned for 29 and 30 June in Astana, Kazakhstan); and
  • holding an OSCE summit, the first since 1999.

Selected UN Document

S/PV.6088 (27 February 2009) was the last briefing in the Council by the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE.