Over the last decade, the OSCE has developed into a major player in the fields of early warning, conflict prevention, civilian crisis management and post-conflict management through activities including border management, border monitoring missions, election observation missions, police training and judicial reform activities. The organisation is an important forum for arms control and disarmament in the conventional arms field. A special focus of attention is the fight against transnational threats such as terrorism, radicalisation, drug trafficking, trafficking in human beings, and the risks associated with information technologies. Other priorities of the OSCE’s work include topical issues related to human rights and non-discrimination as well as cooperation in the economic and environmental spheres.
Through a range of confidence-building measures, it seeks to reach out to and build a broad-based regional security community. The OSCE’s comprehensive and cooperative security approach also covers cooperation in the politico-military, economic and environmental as well as in the human dimensions. As an organisation that is active at the operational level and especially on the ground, the OSCE in cooperation with the participating States seeks to develop comprehensive solutions to political challenges, which have a positive impact and result in positive changes for the affected population.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine has massively shaken fundamental political confidence in the underlying principles of the European security system. At the same time, however, the OSCE has proven the predestined organisation for crisis management and a driver for political solutions. Especially by dispatching and deploying a monitoring mission involving some 1,000 observers and staff, and by setting up the negotiation format of the Trilateral Contact Group that comprises Ukraine, Russia and the OSCE and may be attended by representatives of the two “people’s republics”, the organisation was able to contribute towards stabilising the conflict. The chair of the Trilateral Contact Group is currently held by the Austrian diplomat and Special Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine Martin Sajdik.
The OSCE furthermore provides active and sustainable support to states in their transformation process by offering help in building and developing their capacities. In addition, the organisation promotes regional and sub-regional cooperation. Activities with partner countries in the Asian and Mediterranean region has also been intensified over the last few years. In 2016, Austria chaired the Contact Group with the Mediterranean Partners. In this context it also hosted the Mediterranean Conference on Youth North and South of the Mediterranean held in Vienna in October 2016, which placed a special focus on the issue of youth radicalisation.