From stopping the spread of nuclear weapons to countering all forms of human trafficking, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the world's largest regional security grouping, today outlined areas for greater collaboration with the United Nations in its annual address to the Security Council.
“The UN is the OSCE's principal partner organization. As security challenges continue to evolve, the nature of OSCE-UN cooperation has to become more pragmatic, effective and result-oriented,” Leonid Kozhara, Ukraine's Foreign Minister and the Chairperson-in-Office of the OSCE, told the Security Council in an afternoon meeting in New York.
Given OSCE’s particular attention to transnational threats, Mr. Kozhara said, the organization sees particular merit in deepening co-operation with the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC). OSCE recently signed a joint action plan for 2013-2014 with UNODC.
Security, political and economic transitions in Afghanistan, as well as withdrawal of international security forces in 2014 will continue to have security implications for OSCE, Mr. Kozhara said. He added that exchange of military information and contacts, particularly in the border areas, is of paramount importance.
Security in Afghanistan’s border areas is also of key importance to developing new trade and transport corridors, and where OSCE sees “great potential for building on existing cooperation with the UN,” Mr. Kozhara said.
As for the fight against trafficking in human beings, a mutual key issue for both organizations, Mr. Kozhara said that the OSCE under the Ukrainian Chairmanship continues to pursue a comprehensive, human rights based approach to this global crime in close cooperation with a number of UN agencies within the OSCE initiated Alliance against Trafficking in Persons, and on a bilateral basis under the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking.
These include UNODC, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), International Labour Organisation (ILO), UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR).
In addition, OSCE notes the importance of strengthening media freedom, as well as a number of other core UN thematic areas, including improvement of the environmental footprint of energy-related activities and promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination.
In the fight for conventional arms control and non-proliferation, Mr. Kozhara noted that OSCE and the UN Office of Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) had signed a Memorandum of Understanding to support regional work on Security Council Resolution 1540, which affirms that the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and their means of delivery constitutes a threat to international peace and security.
Later in the day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon met with Mr. Kozhara to discuss Europe’s protracted conflicts and other main priorities for Ukraine as OSCE Chair.
Mr. Ban expressed his appreciation for Ukraine’s valuable role in UN peace operations and encouraged Ukraine to continue and further strengthen its support in this regard. The two leaders also exchanged views on the expanding UN-Ukrainian partnership, including on issues of human rights, health and nuclear security.