A commitment to address protracted conflicts, stronger OSCE work on energy and environment, increased efforts to address transnational threats, human dimension agreements on religious freedom and Roma, and a reaffirmation of the Helsinki +40 process to map the OSCE’s future path were amongst the results of the 20th OSCE Ministerial Council that concluded in Kyiv today.
Closing the conference, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Leonid Kozhara praised the constructive atmosphere.
“I am delighted that we have succeeded in building consensus around a number of important decisions. We reaffirmed our strong commitment to the Helsinki +40 process and will continue to work together towards a more effective and efficient OSCE on the way towards the 40th anniversary of Helsinki Final Act,” he said.
Protracted conflicts were an important part of the Ukrainian Chairmanship’s work during the year, he said, adding that the Ministerial Statement on the Transdniestrian settlement contained a “strong signal on our joint determination to achieve progress” to reach a comprehensive solution. The Ministers also endorsed new dynamics on the bilateral dialogue at the highest level between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
Decisions were also adopted in the politico-military dimension, such as those related to non-proliferation and transnational threats. OSCE Ministers welcomed the adoption of the first set of confidence-building measures to reduce the risks of conflict stemming from the use of information and communication technologies.
“Strengthening the OSCE mandate in the area of energy and environment, with a particular focus on promoting energy efficiency and renewables proves that the OSCE keeps up with the times,” the OSCE Chair said. The decisions in the economic and environmental dimension included those on improving the environmental footprint of energy-related activities and on the protection of energy networks from natural and man-made disasters.
For the first time in three years, the Ministers adopted decisions in the human dimension – those on the freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief, and on improving the situation of Roma and Sinti in the OSCE area.
“By adopting decisions in the human dimension after a significant pause, we have shown that the OSCE remains relevant across all dimensions of security without any exception,” Kozhara stressed. He welcomed the OSCE’s readiness to step up efforts to combat human trafficking.
Kozhara welcomed the positive feedback received from participants on the Kyiv Ministerial meeting, which resulted in the adoption of 11 decisions, statements and declarations on a wide range of issues on the OSCE agenda.
Speaking alongside Minister Kozhara at a press briefing, OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier said: “The Ministerial Council contributed to shaping a long-term agenda of the Organization as we proceed with building a genuine Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security community with no dividing lines. We look forward to continue our work on this with the upcoming Chairmanships of Switzerland and Serbia in 2014-2015.”
The list of statements and declarations adopted as a result of the 20th OSCE Ministerial Council is available at http://www.osce.org/event/mc_2013.