Thank you, Mr. Chair,
I join others in thanking the chairs of the three committees for presenting the result of the work in 2023. Having been in the position of committee chair myself, I know that you have taken on a demanding, but also rewarding task.
Norway highly values the work in the committees. The committees serve as forums for participating States to share views, and best practices, and thus dig deeper into the substance of common security challenges; across all three dimensions.
In the face of Russia’s unprovoked, unjustified, and brutal war of aggression, it is all the more important that we continue this work. Being unable to reach agreement on new decisions, we have to discuss how we can implement excisting OSCE principles and commitments. The committees are also good arenas for this, as well as to address and alleviate the terrible consequences of Russia’s war.
Norway values interaction between the OSCE and other international organizations, and continue to encourage a genuine multistakeholder approach, involving not only governmental representatives, but also academia, private sector, and civil society.
The Security Committee makes a critical contribution to the work of the OSCE as a forum for discussing non-military security issues and the implementation of OSCE commitments related to transnational threats. We support the thematic priorities of the Romanian team and Ambassador Stoian, such as the protection of critical infrastructure, cyber security, transnational organized crime and police-related activities in conflict affected regions as well as border security and management. We have appreciated the cross dimensional approach, and the broad representation of speakers and contributors.
In the Economic and Environmental Committee, we welcome the chair’s emphasis on the promotion of good governance, food security, as well as on energy security and sustainability. We recall the meeting on the risks on energy networks by manmade and natural disasters, and we particularly support the focus on the security risks stemming from environmental degradation. We believe that addressing these challenges is crucial to our efforts to tackle both existing and emerging security challenges.
Being the former chair, we have of course followed the work of the Human Dimension Committee with special interest. We are grateful for the close dialogue with ambassador Callan and her team. I commend the balanced plan of topics and see great value in topics particularly relevant for conflict areas. Unfortunately, we have seen that women’s rights, minorities rights, children’s rights are under pressure. At the same time, the work on issues such as media freedom and the freedom of expression, on the rule of law and on the role of civil society continues to gain importance, and the OSCE has a unique role to play. We appreciate how the work of the Human Dimension Committee has underscored important priorities, picked up new issues and enhanced the work of OSCE structures within the human dimension.
Finally, we appreciate that all chairs have included gender equality and the Women, Peace and Security agenda in the programme for 2023. Gender equality is an enabler for tolerance and non-discrimination and allows organizations and societies to function more effectively. Thus, everybody gains from this work.
An important function of the committee chairs is to support and enforce the efforts of the OSCE chair in office. I would therefor also commend you for this part of the job.
I thank ambassador Stoian, ambassador Raunig and ambassador Callan and congratulate them with a job well done in 2023.