About the OSCE

03.09.2013 // The OSCE traces its origins to the détente phase of the early 1970s, when the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) was created to serve as a multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiation between East and West. After the end of the Cold War the organization earned its current name and status, as the CSCE was called upon to help managing and responding to the new challenges of the post-Cold War period. In 1995 the CSCE was renamed OSCE and acquired permanent institutions and operational capabilities.

The OSCE is today 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 network of field missions.All participating States enjoy equal status and decisions are taken by consensus on a politically, but not legally binding basis

  • The OSCE has 57 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America. The chairmanship rotates every year. The chairmanship for 2013 is held by Ukraine, moving on to Switzerland in 2014 and Serbia in 2015.
  • The OSCE maintains special relations with 11 countries, which are known as Partners for Co-operation. Six of them are in the Mediterranean region, and four are in Asia, in addition to Australia
  • Ministerial councils are held on a yearly basis. The last summit was held in Astana, Kazakhstan in 2010. On a day to day basis the organization’s work is performed by the ambassadors of the member states within the Permanent Council.
  • The OSCE headquarters and secretariat are situated in Vienna, the archives in Prague.
  • The OSCE has three independent institutions:

                o Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), in Warsaw.

                o High Commissioner for National Minorities (HCNM), in the Hague.

                o Representative on Freedom of the Media (RoFM), in Vienna.

  • 15 field operations are deployed in South-Eastern- and Eastern-Europe, South Caucasus and Central Asia.
  • The secretariat also employs a Special Representative and Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings
  • The parliamentary dimension of the organization is upheld by the Parliamentary Assembly seated in Copenhagen.

Read more about the OSCE on the official website.