I join others in congratulating Ambassador Alexey Rogov with his appointment and thank him for his first report as Head of the OSCE Programme Office in Bishkek. I also welcome the Director of the OSCE Academy, Dr. Alexander Wolters, to the Permanent Council and thank him for his report.
Norway is a strong supporter of the OSCE’s field operations, as they are among the greatest assets this organisation possesses. For them to function according to intentions, they need to have good relations with the host country, and we are pleased to note that the relations with the Kyrgyz authorities are good and have been strengthened. We support the programme office’s approach to conduct activities across all three dimensions of security, and in line with the mandate, the host country’s priorities and with OSCE commitments. I would especially like to commend the work done in preventing and countering VERLT, in strengthening the rule of law and in capacity building related to democratic institutions and electoral processes. For the latter, we hope to see a continued and strengthened cooperation between the office, ODIHR and the Kyrgyz authorities.
Norway commends the activities aimed at improving gender equality and implementation of UNSCR 1325. We believe, however, that integrating gender-mainstreaming across all activities could have highlighted areas where contributions from more diverse groups would increase the programme office’s impact. Maybe this could be more clearly reflected in future reports?
As the main donor of extrabudgetary funds to the OSCE Academy in Bishkek, Norway is pleased to see that the Academy has been able to cope well with the extraordinary situation caused by the pandemic. The Academy continues to be a flagship for our organisation, contributing not only to individual students and academia, but also to regional cooperation and integration. We applaud how the academy has developed and improved academic programmes lately. We believe that increasing the Academy’s funding through the regular budget, would provide stability and security for the institution.
Finally, we are pleased to see that the programme office cooperates with other OSCE presences in the region, within the respective mandates. We believe that strengthened cooperation between the five Central Asian countries, will increase the impact of OSCE’s activities in the region. Cross border contacts and trade will improve cooperation and security, not only in the Central Asia, but in the entire OSCE region. We would be interested to hear if and how the OSCE, through the Programme Office in Bishkek, could contribute even more to support Kyrgystan and the region.