Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
With 56 States from Europe, Central Asia and North America, the OSCE is the world's largest regional security organization. It offers a forum for political negotiations and decision-making in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation, and puts the political will of its participating States into practice through its unique network of field missions.
The OSCE has a comprehensive approach to security that encompasses politico-military, economic and environmental, and human aspects. It therefore addresses a wide range of security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities.
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) works for stability, prosperity and democracy in 56 States through political dialogue about shared values and through practical work that makes a lasting difference.
All 56 participating States enjoy equal status, and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically, but not legally binding basis.
The OSCE maintains special relations with 12 countries, which are known as Partners for Co-operation. Six of them are in the Mediterranean region, and five are in Asia, in addition to Australia.
WHAT WE DO
Security touches on many aspects of the way we live and are governed. The OSCE's comprehensive view of security covers three “dimensions”: the politico-military; the economic and environmental; and the human.
The OSCE's activities cover all three of these areas, from:
1. "hard" security issues such as conflict prevention to fostering economic development,
2. ensuring the sustainable use of natural resources, and
3. promoting the full respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Arms control-The OSCE helps to stop surplus weapons being available illegally and offers assistance with their destruction. The OSCE has also developed mechanisms to regulate the transfer of conventional arms, improve military transparency and build confidence between states.
Border management-The OSCE seeks to enhance border security while facilitating legitimate travel and commerce, protecting human rights and promoting human contacts.
Combating human trafficking-Human trafficking affects virtually all OSCE states, either as countries of origin or destination.
Combating terrorism-The OSCE contributes to world-wide efforts in combating terrorism through activities such as promoting more secure travel documents and training border staff, combating extremism on the internet, terrorist financing and protecting critical infrastructure from terrorist attacks.
Conflict prevention and resolution-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.
Economic activities-The OSCE undertakes numerous activities to support economic growth, including the strengthening of small- and medium-sized enterprises, monitoring the economic impact of trafficking and taking action against corruption and money laundering.
Education-Education programmes are an integral part of the Organization's efforts in conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation. The OSCE's youth projects include human rights, environmental, tolerance, and gender education as well as support for minorities in education.
Elections-The OSCE is a leading organization in the field of election observation. It conducts election-related activities across the 56 participating States, including technical assistance and election observation missions.
Environmental activities-Recognizing the close connection between environmental issues and security, the OSCE assists participating States with the sustainable use and sound management of natural resources.
Gender equality-The OSCE aims to provide equal opportunities for women and men, as well as to integrate gender equality into policies and practices, both within participating States and the Organization itself.
Good governance-The OSCE assists OSCE participating States in fighting corruption and in building democratic, accountable state institutions.
Human rights-Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms forms a key part of the OSCE's comprehensive security concept. The OSCE monitors the human rights situation in its 56 participating States.
Media freedom and development-Free and well-developed media are a cornerstone of democratic societies. The OSCE monitors media developments in its participating States for violations of freedom of expression. This includes reviewing legislation regulating the media, as well as monitoring cases where journalists are prosecuted for their professional activities or are the victims of harassment.
Military reform and co-operation-The Forum for Security Co-operation, which meets weekly in Vienna, provides a framework for dialogue between the OSCE participating States on military conduct, and on confidence- and security-building measures.
Minority rights -The OSCE identifies and seeks early resolution of ethnic tensions that might endanger peace or stability. It promotes the rights of national minorities and pays particular attention to the situation of Roma and Sinti.
Policing-OSCE police operations are an integral part of the Organization's efforts in conflict prevention and post-conflict rehabilitation.
Roma and Sinti-The OSCE promotes the rights of Roma and Sinti through projects on political participation, education, housing, civil registration, combating racism and discrimination, and protecting the rights of displaced persons.
Rule of law-The concept of rule of law forms a cornerstone of the OSCE's human rights and democratization activities. It not only describes formal legal frameworks, but also aims at justice based on the full acceptance of human dignity.
Tolerance and non-discrimination-The OSCE actively supports its 56 participating States in combating all forms of racism, xenophobia, and discrimination, including anti-Semitism, and discrimination against Christians and Muslims.