Statement in response to the Director of the Conflict Prevention Centre

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 27 October 2022.

Thank you, Mr. Chair,

It is a pleasure to again welcome Ambassador Yrjölä to the Permanent Council. Let me start by thanking her for the report and the presentation of the activities of the Conflict Prevention Centre. I also want to praise her and her team for their efforts over the past year, and especially the cooperation with SMM and PCU both before and after Russia waged its war of choice against Ukraine.

We treasure the CPC’s support to the field operations. The CPC’s policy advice and support on project and programme management, including monitoring and evaluation, aid the field operations to make the most of their limited resources. This, in return, enhances their ability to support host countries in fulfilling their OSCE commitments. The crisis management support provided to all OSCE field operations is critical for them to continue implementing their mandates.

Crisis management and conflict prevention is an integral part of the OSCE conflict cycle toolbox. The war against Ukraine and the current political circumstance underscores the relevance of the CPC and its mandate. The role of the CPC as the OSCE-wide early warning focal point is essential, and we do hope all field operations make good use of the resources created on conflict analysis and early warning skills. In addition, we support the work of the CPC on the women, peace and security agenda throughout the conflict cycle, as well as the work on security sector governance and reform.

Mr. Chair,

The report presented today is a good display of the extent to which the CPC provides support to the Chair, to the Secretary General, to the different Executive Structures including field operations, and to participating States. However, once again we are reminded of the strain the CPC is working under – both when it comes to financial and human resources. We must keep in mind, dear colleagues, that the budget of the CPC has decreased consecutively, while the influx of tasks and intensity of the conflicts in our region have not. Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine is a case in point. Like other OSCE institutions, the CPC cannot do more with less. To carry out its mandate effectively and efficiently, the CPC needs to be sufficiently funded and sufficiently staffed.

Mr Chair,

I feel obliged to stress that by means of the Ministerial Decision 3/11, from Vilnius, all participating States have agreed to grant the OSCE and its chair a toolbox to help prevent conflict.

Our Ministers decided on the Elements of the Conflict Cycle which, inter alia, “expects the OSCE Chairmanship and executive structures to take full advantage of their respective mandates to address all phases of the conflict cycle and urges the Chairmanship and participating States to use, swiftly and to the greatest extent possible, all available tools and procedures applicable to a particular crisis or conflict situation”.

We believe that the organization had an obligation to consider the request made by Armenia and respond adequately. This is what the CiO and the Secretary General have done. The CPC has only executed their order when deploying an assessment mission as they have done at the request of the delegation of Armenia.

Let me also emphasize that it would have been much easier for the OSCE to fulfil its mandate in South Caucasus, to the benefit of all participating states, if there had been field presences in the region. Norway is convinced that the OSCE, through the CPC, has a vital role to play in the region. For that to happen, constructive cooperation with and between the participating states in question is needed.

The CPC and director Yrjöla can rest assured about continued Norwegian support for their work. 

Thank you.