Projects & Activities

The following provides an overview of our projects and activities. We would like to thank our sponsors for their funding and support.

2020

The OSCE Network welcomed five OSCE Network Research Fellows in 2020: Filip Ejdus (University of Belgrade, Serbia), Marina Dolcetta Lorenzini (The Fletcher School, Tufts University, USA), Sebastian Mayer (German-Kazakh University, Kazakhstan), Sergey Rastoltsev (IMEMO, Russia) and Benjamin Schaller (University of Tromsø, Norway). The Fellows will produce policy papers on OSCE-relevant topics. 

Understanding the implications of China’s BRI for the OSCE region and the problems within the region has significance for the ability of the OSCE and its participating States to continue working towards sustainable solutions. The primary aim of this project is to contribute to such an understanding. 

The project objectives include:

  1. mapping the presence of China and its manifestation across Central Asia, the South Caucasus, the Western CIS, and the Western Balkans over time, in particular since the inception of the BRI;
  2. identifying the implications that this presence has had in terms of economic, environmental, social, political, and military security in the OSCE area;
  3. compiling and presenting a report on the basis of (1) and (2) to inform OSCE institutions and participating States’ governments.

This policy paper is part of the OSCE Network project “Western Balkans Military Dynamics” 

The OSCE Network’s Steering Committee and Coordinator elections for the 2020-2021 term took place on 10-14 February 2020.
The new Steering Committee consists of 11 members. Cornelius Friesendorf (CORE/IFSH, Hamburg, Germany) was reconfirmed as Network Coordinator.

2019

This project aimed to promote the findings of the OSCE Network Report “Reducing the Risk of Conventional Deterrence in Europe: Arms Control in the NATO-Russia Contact Zones,” published in 2018.
The RISK report was compiled by 17 researchers from 7 OSCE participating States. It focuses on the risks associated with the re-emergence of conventional and nuclear deterrence in Europe and proposes an innovative approach of sub-regional arms control to stabilize the NATO-Russia deterrence relationship. The outreach project was intended to discuss the report with relevant Track I and Track II representatives from across the OSCE region.
The presentations triggered lively and at times heated debate among the participants, who included diplomats from various countries, representatives of international organizations, researchers, and media representatives. The report was translated into Russian to reach a broader Russian-speaking audience. Download publication in Russian.

Presentations

  • Public Panel Debate: Deterrence, Risks & Uncertainty – Norway, NATO and Russia in the High North, co-organized by the Centre for Peace Studies, UTSYN – Forum for Utenriksog Sikkerhet, YATA Norge and Tromsö Militaere Samfunn, Tromsö, 20 November 
  • Reducing the Risks of Conventional Deterrence in Europe: Arms Control in the NATO-Russia Contact Zones, organized by the Russian International Affairs Council, Moscow, 24 October 
  • Roundtable: Reducing the Risks of Conventional Deterrence in Europe: Arms Control in the NATO-Russia Contact Zones, co-organized by CORE/IFSH and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation EU Office Brussels, Brussels, 16 October 
  • Arms Control in the NATO-Russia Contact Zones, hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C., 24 September 
  • Crisis Escalation in NATO-Russia Contact Zones? Assessing Arms Control and Conventional Deterrence in Europe, Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University, Massachusetts, 23 September 
  • Brown Bag Lunch: Arms Control in the NATO-Russia Contact Zones, co-organized by CORE/IFSH, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Center for Security Studies of ETH Zurich (CSS), Bern, 12 June 
  • Power Breakfast on Reducing the Risks of Conventional Deterrence in Europe, co-organized by CORE/IFSH and the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Vienna, 12 February 
  • Public hearing of the Sub-Committee for Disarmament, Arms Control and Non-Proliferation of the German Bundestag, titled “Regionale Stabilität? Konventionelle und nukleare Rüstung und Abschreckung in Mittel- und Osteuropa heute. Möglichkeiten für Rüstungskontrolle und Abrüstung” (Regional Stability? Conventional and Nuclear Armament and Deterrence in Central and Eastern Europe Today: Possibilities for Arms Control and Disarmament), Berlin, 15 May. Wolfgang Zellner addressed the dangers of a return of deterrence scenarios to Europe and offered approaches to stabilizing the NATO-Russia deterrence relationship with sub-regional arms control, mainly building on and adapting existing agreements. 

Over two years, this project provided a platform for dialogue among peacebuilders engaged in civil society and research from several disputed territories in the OSCE space. The project enabled them to network and discuss common problems and thus contributed to confidence building outside the established negotiation and contact formats. In April, a three-day experimental Cross-Regional Corridors of Dialogue Forum took place in Stuttgart, with a follow-up dialogue in Vienna in October. These two workshops piloted future informal peace-building dialogue formats. The project concluded with a lessons learned report with recommendations for the OSCE and other international organizations. 

Activities

  • Workshop “How Can Cross-Regional Dialogues Support the Transformation of Intractable Conflicts?” Vienna, 29 October 
  • Experimental Dialogue Forum “Cross-Regional and Inter-Sectional Dialogues: Developing New Approaches to Support Bottom-Up Peace,” Stuttgart, 15/18 April 
  • Workshop “Experiences and Opportunities: The OSCE as Mediator and Facilitator of Civil Society Dialogues in Long-Standing Conflicts,” Vienna, 22/23 November 

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This project aimed to contribute to the OSCE’s political dialogue on conventional arms control and confidence building in the Western Balkans by sketching out recent military dynamics and exploring the achievements of, and challenges to, arms control in the region. Key activities under the project included a series of short analyses of major military trends in the region and an expert workshop to discuss their findings, as well as a policy brief to be discussed at a public presentation in Vienna.

Activity

  • Workshop “Enlargement Fatigue, Democratic Backsliding and Military Security in the Western Balkans,” Belgrade, 29 November 

The committee members discussed the activities of the Network, took stock of the projects conducted in 2019, and discussed the capacity challenges of managing the growing Network. The Committee adopted an update of the Network Statutes and made preliminary plans for 2020, from analyzing China’s Belt and Road initiative to designing a new OSCE Network website.

2018

Members of the Steering Committee reviewed the state of the Network and projects implemented in 2018 and discussed future activities and projects for 2019. In the evening, they convened for a panel discussion titled “Which Europe? And to What End?” (Barbara Kunz, Philip Remler, Ursula Schröder, Sonja Stojanović Gajić, Wolfgang Zellner), followed by a farewell reception for Wolfgang Zellner, who retired on 30 November 2018.

The project aimed to enhance and spread knowledge about the supportive role of Track II processes for conflict transformation. In 2018, three field trips to Armenia, Georgia and Moldavia were organized, and a workshop titled “Experiences and Opportunities: The OSCE as Mediator and Facilitator of Civil Society Dialogues in Long-Standing Conflicts” took place on 22-23 November in Vienna. This was the first phase of a two-year project. 

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The projects and activities of the OSCE Network have been sponsored by the following states (in alphabetical order): Austria, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Serbia, Slovakia, and Switzerland. The Network has also received financial and in-kind contributions from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Regional Offices in Vienna and Moscow, as well as in-kind contributions from the following institutions (in alphabetical order): the Academy of the Diocese Rottenburg-Stuttgart; the Arctic University of Norway; the Belgrade Center for Security Policy; the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Harvard University; the Edward M. Kennedy Institute, National University of Ireland, Maynooth; the Embassy of Finland in Vienna; the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights; the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg; the Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg; the King Abdullah International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue; the Russian International Affairs Council; the University of Birmingham; and the University of Tampere.