Statement in response to the Director of the Conflict Prevention Centre

Delivered by Ambassador Anne-Kirsti Karlsen at the Permanent Council, Vienna, 1 June 2023

Thank you, Mr. Chair,

I join others in welcoming Ambassador Yrjölä back to the Permanent Council and thank her for her informative report on the activities of the Conflict Prevention Centre. I also wish to commend her and her team, for their efforts since the last report to the council. Despite difficult circumstances, caused by the pandemic, Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, and diminishing resources, the CPC’s work in conflict prevention and resolution, crisis management, post-conflict rehabilitation and peacebuilding continues to make a crucial contribution to fulfilling the OSCE’s mandate as the world’s largest regional security organization.

Norway highly values CPC`s support to the field operations, as we firmly believe that OSCE`s field operations are among this organizations greatest added value. 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. Russia’s war against Ukraine and the current political circumstance underscores the relevance of the CPC and its mandate. The Extrabudgetary Support Programme for Ukraine would not have been possible without the competence on relevant issues within the CPC. The same goes for programmatic activities in most parts of our region.  For instance, we highly value the work within SSG/R and underscore the validity of this work as it is needs based and demand driven. We contribute Extrabudgetary Funding to activities with pleasure, even though it would have been better if the CPC could operate within a much more generous Unified Budget.

Norway welcomes the work the CPC undertakes within the WPS-agenda. We commend the WIN-project, and particularly the joint efforts with WIN-implementing partners, which promotes women`s roles in peacebuilding in the context of war. The project strengthens the participating States peacebuilding capacities and are important in contributing to a more comprehensive security.

We also appreciate the intensified collaboration with the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities to identify joint approaches in addressing climate-related security risks from a conflict cycle perspective. We hope to hear more about this co-operation at the upcoming OSCE High-Level Conference on Climate Change that will take place on 7 July.

Mr. Chair,

The report presented today is a good display of the extent to which the CPC continues to provide critical 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. Russia’s ongoing aggression against Ukraine is putting tremendous pressure on all resources. Despite that, we are happy to again see OSCE activities on the ground in Ukraine.

Dear colleagues,

The CPC is working under a chronic lack of financial stability. The nominally decreased budget and high inflation have forced the CPC to enforce strict prioritization, put workflows on hold, and keep pivotal posts vacant to keep the wheels turning. This comes with a cost.

It is our responsibility as participating States to provide the Conflict Prevention Centre, and this whole organization, with sufficient resources, including financial funding, to ensure that the CPC can fulfil their mandate, given by the participating States.

To conclude, we commend the Director and her team’s vital efforts this year, in circumstances that have been complex and difficult to navigate, due to geopolitical, financial, and organizational challenges. We are convinced that the Conflict Prevention Centre`s work remain as relevant for the OSCE as ever. We once again thank you, Ambassador Yrjölä, for your work – and the work of your entire dedicated team – as well as for your commitment to your mandate.

Thank you.