Archive for January 18th, 2013

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Ukraine unveils OSCE Chair priorities for 2013

January 18, 2013

In what can only be described as an anticlimax, Ukraine officially unveiled its priorities as Chair of OSCE in 2013.

An anticlimax simply because as long ago as 20th June 2012 those priorities were being widely touted OSCE Chair issues for Ukraine – whatever!

In summary the priorities under the Ukrainian Chair are frozen/protracted conflicts amongst the OSCE nations.  Of particular importance to Ukraine is Transnistra/Transdniestria (whichever spelling you prefer) as it is a guarantor in the 5+2 entity, though that is not the only frozen/protracted conflict within the OSCE members geographical territory (Nagorno-Karabakh for example).

Anyway, notwithstanding the obvious and direct Ukrainian interest in one of the several frozen/protracted conflicts, a tick in the box of geopolitical security.

Next, human trafficking, a subject which regular readers will know is very close to my heart.  Naturally I have no complaints about this being so overt and high on the Ukrainian agenda and I will take even greater interest in this area under the Ukrainian Chair.

A tick in the box for organised crime, human rights (and geographical security depending on how broad a definition you wish to apply to “security”).

Arms control within the OSCE members.  Obviously an indirect nod to the current UN efforts.  Another tick in the box for security.

Energy and environmental consequences of energy production.  Which box doesn’t that tick?

Media freedom and youth human rights education.  Now here it is very easy to immediately look inwards at Ukraine itself – quite justifiably I would add – however lest we forget the OSCE nations seem likely to leave places like Afghanistan in 2014 and thus using the 2013 Ukrainian Chair to think about media freedom and youth human rights education in such regions would seem quite wise.

Ticks in the box of human rights, freedoms, security and education.

Why, you will ask, am I mentioning ticks in boxes?  Well hopefully this diagram (created by The Carnegie Endowment) of the OSCE organisational model will make it all very clear.

osce structure

Most of those blocks will have something to be pleased about with a 2013 priority that falls directly within their remit.

In short Ukraine quite wisely when given this opportunity, has chosen issues that will be engage it with all OSCE entities as Chair – and something that will undoubtedly have the backing of many OSCE members who have somewhat strained relations with Ukraine over other issues, as far more channels of communication directly to the very top of the Ukrainian leadership will be permanently open during 2013.

All in all, clever priority choices by Ukraine, some of which will unsettle the status quo sought by some who have previously held the OSCE Chair.

Nevertheless, opportunity presents itself for Ukraine to improve its image somewhat – as do risks if it fails to gain momentum for its priorities – as others would seem to agree– or I agree with them – whatever!

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