OSCE’s structure [fr]
The activities of the OSCE are coordinated by:
Negotiating and decision-making bodies
Structures and institutions
1. Negotiating and decision-making bodies
Summits : The Heads of State and Government gather to define the Organization’s priorities and set guidelines at the highest political level. The last OSCE Summit was held in Istanbul in 1999.
The Ministerial Council is the annual meeting of the Ministers of the 57 OSCE participating States. It takes place at the end of the year in the country holding the annual OSCE Chairpersonship. Within this framework, decisions are adopted, and the orientations of the organization are defined.
The Permanent Council is the main permanent body of the OSCE. It meets in Vienna every week, at the level of Ambassadors, Permanent Representatives of the participating States. As a forum for debate, it allows decisions to be adopted by consensus.
The Forum for Security Co-operation meets once a week to discuss and decide on the military dimension of security issues (arms control and confidence and security building measures).
The Economic Forum usually meets twice a year to address economic and environmental factors affecting the security of OSCE member countries.
2. OSCE Chair, Secretariat, Autonomous institutions and Parliamentary Assembly
OSCE Chair : A different participating State chairs the OSCE each year, with that country’s foreign minister serving as Chairperson-in-Office (CiO) and working alongside the previous and succeeding Chairs: together the three Chairs form the OSCE Troika. The CiO may appoint personal representatives. Currently there are personal representatives covering a wide range of issues from preventing and managing conflicts in the OSCE region, and ensuring co-ordination in specific areas like gender and youth issues to promoting tolerance and non-discrimination.
Secretariat : Elected for a three-year term by the Ministerial Council, the Secretary General heads the Secretariat located in Vienna and directly supports the OSCE Chair. In addition to its administrative functions, the Secretariat is comprised of the Conflict Prevention Centre as well as departments and units focusing on economic and environmental activities, co-operation with partner countries and organizations, gender equality, anti-trafficking, as well as transnational threats. They monitor trends, provide expert analysis and implement projects in the field.
Autonomous institutions : The OSCE includes three institutions dedicated to specialized areas of work:
1) ODIHR: the Warsaw-based Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights promotes democratic development and human rights. Its work includes election observation, supporting the rule of law, promoting tolerance and non-discrimination and improving the situation of Roma and Sinti. ODIHR hosts the annual Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, the largest annual human rights conference in the OSCE region.
2) RFoM: the Vienna-based Representative on Freedom of the Media monitors media developments and provides early warning on violations of freedom of expression and media freedom, promoting full compliance with OSCE media freedom commitments.
3) HCNM: as an instrument of conflict prevention, the High Commissioner on National Minorities, based in The Hague, uses quiet diplomacy and early action to seek resolution of ethnic tensions that might endanger peace, security and stability.
Parliamentary Assembly : The Parliamentary Assembly brings together more than 300 lawmakers from the parliaments of OSCE participating States to advance the OSCE’s goals of comprehensive security through inter-parliamentary dialogue. OSCE parliamentarians also play a key role in the Organization’s election observation activities, conduct field visits, and engage in parliamentary diplomacy.
3. Field operations
Most of the OSCE’s staff and resources are deployed in the OSCE’s field operations in South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia. These operations have tailor-made mandates, which are agreed by consensus of the participating States. Field operations are only established with the agreement of the host country. In addition to their headquarters, some field operations also have field offices, regional centres, and/or training centres in their host countries.
The OSCE’s field operations assist host countries in putting their OSCE commitments into practice and fostering local capacities through concrete projects that respond to their needs. These include initiatives to support law enforcement, minority rights, legislative reform, the rule of law and media freedom, promote tolerance and non-discrimination, as well as many other areas. A number of field operations contribute to early warning and conflict prevention. In accordance with their respective mandates, some field operations also monitor and report on developments on the ground. A number of field operations, enabling them to manage crises and to play a critical post-conflict role.
Field operations create and maintain many partnerships with local and national authorities, agencies and institutions, civil society, as well as with international organizations. Such partnerships support the co-ordination of efforts, ensure complementarity, and mutually reinforce their impact in areas of shared engagement.
The OSCE’s Conflict Prevention Centre (CPC) is responsible for planning the establishment, restructuring and closure of field operations. The CPC plays a key role in supporting and co-ordinating the OSCE’s activities in the field, providing analysis and policy advice, as well as serving as liaison between the field operations, the Secretariat and the OSCE Chairmanship.
More details on the field operations: https://www.osce.org/where-we-are.