Norway and the OSCE

As an original signatory to the Helsinki Final Act Norway has taken part in the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) since its inception as the CSCE in 1973. The OSCE is primarily an instrument for strengthening security through implementation of mutually agreed commitments across the region comprised of 57 participating States in Europe, North America and parts of Asia.

Over many years, the OSCE has contributed to stability, confidence-building, and peace in our part of the world. The OSCE has its own body of political commitments beginning with the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, and further developed through the 1990 Charter of Paris, and several other decisions of the OSCE’s normative bodies. As a regional arrangement under chapter VIII of the United Nations’ Charter, the OSCE also has a mandate to uphold the principles and commitments of the United Nations on which the OSCE has based its work.

In order to assist and monitor the implementation of these commitments, the participating States have established several OSCE institutions. These include the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in Warsaw, the High Commisioner on National Minorities (HCNM) in The Hague, and the Representative on the Freedom of the Media (RFOM) in Vienna, as well as the Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC) and other functional departments now organised within the OSCE secretariat. In addition, several participating States host OSCE field operations, among which the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine is by far the largest.

Today, the political situation in the OSCE reflects the general state of the multilateral landscape, with increasing polarisation and confrontation. Within the OSCE, as elsewhere, it is currently difficult to find consensus on new, meaningful initiatives or improvements. While the OSCE’s normative work is stagnating, existing commitments, norms and values are increasingly challenged.

It is a key Norwegian priority within the OSCE to safeguard, protect and consolidate the progress that states have already achieved and contribute to ensuring that the OSCE’s practical efforts at the country level continue without disruption. These efforts, on preventing conflict through confidence-building measures as well as political, social, and economic development, including women’s equality and participation, contribute to preventing conflict in our region.

The Delegation of Norway to the OSCE in Vienna supports the implementation of Norwegian policy within the OSCE, working to ensure that Norwegian interests for peace and stability in our part of the world are taken into account in both the OSCE’s deliberations and practical efforts. In order to do so, the delegation works both with the other participating States, as well as with the organisation's executive structures, in order to support and strengthen the OSCE’s efforts to deliver results. As part of this, Norway gives significant voluntary contributions to OSCE projects to supplement the OSCE’s inadequate ordinary budgets, and seconds a number of staff to serve within the ranks of the OSCE.