IPI HomeEventsPanel DiscussionsSwitzerland Prepares for Chairmanship of the OSCE

 

print print  |  share share back back

Panel Discussions - Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Switzerland Prepares for Chairmanship of the OSCE

IPI hosted a meeting in New York on June 5 to examine the role of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as a regional arrangement of the United Nations under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. The meeting, chaired by IPI’s Director for Europe and Central Asia Walter Kemp, featured the two ambassadors who will be guiding Switzerland’s chairmanship of the OSCE in 2014: Heidi Grau, head of Switzerland’s OSCE Chairmanship Task Force in Bern; and Thomas Greminger, who will chair the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna.

With 57 participating states, the OSCE is the world’s largest regional organization, covering an area stretching from Vancouver to Vladivostok. In 2014, Switzerland will be the first country to chair the OSCE for the second time. In another unprecedented move, Switzerland will work closely with Serbia – which will have the chairmanship in 2015 – in order to share the burden and enable continuity.

At the meeting, Ambassador Greminger described the OSCE’s structures and activities. He focused in particular on interfaces between the OSCE and the UN, both in terms of geographic areas (such as the Caucasus and Central Asia), as well a thematic ones (such as conflict prevention and mediation, transnational threats, and the so-called “human dimension”).

Ambassdor Grau outlined some of the priorities of Switzerland’s in-coming chairmanship, including mediation (particularly in relation to settlement processes in Georgia, Moldova, and between Armenia and Azerbaijan), arms control, and confidence-building measures, as well as the “Helsinki+40” process which is trying to reform the OSCE in the build-up to the anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act, which was signed in 1975.

In a question-and-answer session, a number of issues were raised, including the OSCE’s cooperation with Afghanistan and countries of North Africa, the challenge of generating political will and building consensus, cyber security, the future of OSCE field operations, and the potential for sharing the OSCE’s experience–for example, on national minority issues–with other regional organizations.

The Global Observatory

Does World War I Echo in East Asia’s Growing Tensions?
Lessons of pre-WWI alliances, nationalism, and crises can help East Asia defuse its tensions today.

Key Global Events to Watch in October
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.

2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.

The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.

Recent Events

October 27, 2014
Peacekeeping and the OSCE
In response to the crisis in Ukraine, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) deployed a Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) of some 250 civilian international observers.

October 09, 2014
Rethinking Women and Forced Migration
The drastic increase in conflicts around the globe has seen the world’s displaced population pass 55 million people, and the fact that 80% of them are women and children is prompting many to rethink how the international community is responding.

October 09, 2014
Africa: China’s Second Continent
Speaking at an IPI Distinguished Author Series event on October 9th, author Howard French made a case for how Western underestimation of Africa’s economic promise has enabled China to establish an economic and human presence on the continent, leading to the permanent migration there of nearly 2 million Chinese.

View More