Founded in 1975, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OECD) is the largest international organization for regional cooperation, with a membership of 57 participating countries from North America, Europe and Asia until 2022.

The organization is a forum for political dialogue on a range of security issues, and a common platform for working to improve the lives of individuals and communities in the political, military, economic and humanitarian aspects, through cooperation on conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.

The six official languages ​​of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe are: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Russian.

In 1972, Richard Nixon (right) and Lenid Brezhnev (left) met to found the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (photo from the OSCE website)

Objectives and tasks

The mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe includes issues such as arms control, promotion of human rights, media freedom, election monitoring and evaluation in its member states, and is concerned with conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation.

The organization is active in combating human trafficking, light weapons and narcotics, counter-terrorism, minority rights, policing, urban security, and the rule of law.

The organization mainly aims to support political liberalism and push the global economy towards growth, trade and foreign investment, through its institutions, expert units and field operations network. It addresses issues that have an impact on the common security of member states, such as arms control and conflicts, the promotion of human rights, and freedom of opinion.

The organization considers that one of its tasks is to support what it calls “democratic transition in the Middle East” and “encourage economic development to try to create job opportunities in the region and to improve the standard of living in it.” To achieve this, it uses “a comprehensive approach to achieving security that includes political, military, economic, and environmental dimensions.” and humanity.”

Since the signing of the "Helsinki Agreement" in 1975, the organization has confirmed its connection to the "sustainable development" plan adopted by the leaders of countries at the summit held in September 2015 in the United States of America.

The sustainable development plan relies on 17 goals, including eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving good health and education, implementing the principle of equality, securing clean water and energy, securing decent work for economic growth, and maintaining peace and justice.

All 57 participating countries enjoy equal positions, and decisions are taken unanimously among the countries on the issues raised, and after unanimity the countries must implement them.

In 1973, the first phase of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was launched at the ministerial level (photo from the OSCE website)

Birth and founding

Multilateral consultations began at the Depoli building in Finland on the convening of a "Conference" for Security and Cooperation in Europe on November 22, 1972.

On May 24, 1972, US President Richard Nixon and Soviet Communist Party Secretary Lesenid Brezhnev met during the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union (after World War II) to hold bilateral negotiations between the two countries, in order to reduce the number of their forces in Europe.

The two countries engaged in a series of negotiations in which they agreed to establish the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) (later renamed the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) to deal with political issues, and agreed to a simultaneous and balanced reduction of their forces in Europe.

Then, on May 26, 1972, the Soviet Union and the United States signed in Moscow the “Salt I” agreement to limit the deployment of the missile shield system, and the “Interim Agreement” on some measures in the field of limiting strategic offensive weapons, with the establishment of economic relations between them.

The "Depolis" consultations ended on June 8, 1973, and came out with the final recommendations of the Helsinki consultations, or the so-called "Blue Book", which proposed a set of recommendations for building joint European action in various fields.

Between the third and seventh of July 1973, the first phase of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was launched at the ministerial level, and 35 countries began to participate in adopting the recommendations of the "Blue Book" in preparation for the "Helsinki Agreement".

Then, on September 18, 1973, the second phase of the conference began in Geneva, applying the procedures stipulated in the "Blue Book".

In 1974, the second phase of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe continued in Geneva, and the participants were divided into 3 committees and groups: a committee for political-military action, another for environmental economic action, and a third for humanitarian action.

On July 30-August 1, 1975, the third phase and first summit of the conference at the level of heads of state and government was launched in Helsinki, until two years later, the signing of the Helsinki Document in the Finnish capital (Helsinki) on August 1 1975, to announce the end of the second phase and the start of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe.

The agreement established 10 principles that govern the behavior of states towards their citizens and towards each other.

The conference expanded after 1990 and formed permanent institutions affiliated with it, and changed its name to the "Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe", after the "Budapest" summit in December 1994.

In 1975, the first summit of the conference was launched at the level of heads of state and government (photo from the website of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe)

peaks

The first summit was held on July 30 - August 1, 1975 in Helsinki with the aim of signing the Helsinki Agreement.

The second summit was held in Paris on November 19-21, 1990, in which member states signed the "Paris Pact" for a new Europe after the end of the Cold War.

Then followed other summits that laid milestones and issued important documents in the history of the organization, including: 1992 in Helsinki, 1994 in Budapest, 1996 in Lisbon, 1999 in Istanbul, and 2010 in Astana.

Organization structures and institutions

Ministerial Council

It consists of the foreign ministers of the member states, and it is the central decision-making body and the governing body of the organization. Ministerial meetings are held annually, and hosted by the country that holds the presidency at the time.

Parliamentary Assembly

It includes 323 parliamentarians from member states, and its main objective is to activate parliaments in the work of the organization more, and it is held in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Security Cooperation Office

It works to maintain military security and stability in Europe, and it ensures the implementation of some of the most important political and military agreements of the countries participating in the organization, and helps implement confidence and security building measures to regulate the exchange of military information and mutual verification between countries.

High Commission for National Minorities Affairs

It seeks to prevent ethnic tension and treat its causes and repercussions in the member states and proposes plans to it to address some tensions, and it is based in the Netherlands.

Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

It is the largest institution of the organization, and aims to promote human rights and democracy through the implementation of some projects and election observation missions and providing legislative advice, and is responsible for the development of human rights concepts, based in Warsaw, Poland.

Media Freedom Bureau

It monitors member states' commitment to freedom of expression, and is based in Vienna, Switzerland.

In 1975 the Helsinki Document was signed and the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe was declared (photo from the OSCE website)

Court of Conciliation and Arbitration

It is charged with resolving disputes between states parties to the Charter of Conciliation and Arbitration emanating from the organization, and it is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

Minsk Group 

The Minsk Group was established with the aim of resolving the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

permanent council

It is the primary decision-making body and meets weekly, is based in Vienna, and is composed of delegates from Member States.

The Permanent Council has a number of informal subcommittees, including the Security Committee, the Economic and Environmental Committee, and the Human Rights Committee.

Other bodies and partners

There are some non-affiliated bodies but related to the organization, including the Advisory Committee on Open Skies, established in 2002, which is responsible for implementing the "Open Skies" convention, to regulate unarmed air traffic control over the territories of the 33 signatories to it.

And also the Joint Consultative Group, which operates from Vienna and deals with issues relating to states' implementation of the provisions of the 1990 Treaty on Armed Forces in Europe.

The organization has 11 Asian partners with the aim of mediating in order to address common security challenges, such as counter-terrorism, border security, water management, environmental security challenges, migration management, intercultural and interreligious dialogue, tolerance and non-discrimination.

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