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On 1 July 2022, the OSCE Network co-convened an online event on the implications of Russia’s war against Ukraine for the OSCE. The event took place in cooperation with the Austrian Study Centre for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR) and the OSCE, and it was supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs. Attended by 97 participants, several members of the OSCE Network presented input statements: Jelena Cupać (WZB Berlin), Steffen Eckhard and Vytautas Jankauskas (Zeppelin University), Mette Eilstrupp-Sangiovanni (Cambridge University), William Hill (Wilson Center), and Andrei Zagorski (IMEMO). Moderated by Argyro Kartsonaki (CORE/IFSH), the panelists and the audience discussed whether the OSCE can adapt to a new security environment, and what this means for the OSCE’s institutional design and for activities in areas including conflict prevention and human rights protection. In examining options for the present and the future, the panelists drew lessons from crises the CSCE/OSCE and other international organizations have faced in the past. The overall consensus among panelists and participants in the event was that it is both necessary and possible to preserve the OSCE as a key pillar in a future European security order.
Russia’s aggression against Ukraine violates core principles of international law including commitments by all OSCE participating States going back to the 1975 Helsinki Final Act. This has put the very survival of the OSCE at stake. In a new study, members of the OSCE Network discuss the future of the OSCE and the implications of Russia’s war for the structures, institutions, and activities of the OSCE. The twenty contributors to OSCE Network Perspectives I/2022 (edited by the OSCE Network Coordinators Cornelius Friesendorf and Stefan Wolff) examine the difficulties of making decisions under the consensus principle, a potential future mission in Ukraine, and whether there is still space for cooperative security in a Europe dominated by reliance on deterrence and defense. The publication is available for download here.
The OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions is running a project on OSCE activities in Central Asia relating to Afghanistan. Funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and led by Stefan Wolff, the project examines how the OSCE in Central Asia can address security problems relating to Afghanistan. The envisaged outcome is an OSCE Network Report published in the second half of the year.
An OSCE Network Meeting on “The war in Ukraine and its consequences for the OSCE” took place on March 4, 2022. More than 50 OSCE Network Members joined the meeting and took part in a discussion of the implications of the war in Ukraine for the European and international security order, in general, and for the OSCE, in particular. With the support and approval of the Network Steering Committee, the Network Co-Coordinators announced the idea for a joint OSCE Network publication on this topic, which was welcomed by all the participants and will be followed up with a more detailed call for short papers. Network members also expressed enthusiasm for more such meetings to be held regularly in line with the Network’s purpose and mission of a Track-2 initiative supporting co-operative and comprehensive security in the OSCE area.
Members of the Steering Committee reviewed the state of the Network and projects implemented in 2021 and discussed future activities and projects for 2022.
The OSCE Network’s Steering Committee and Coordinator elections for the 2022-2023 term took place from 29 November to 3 December 2021. The new Steering Committee consists of 10 members. Cornelius Friesendorf (IFSH) and Stefan Wolff (University of Birmingham) were elected as Network Co-Coordinators.
Under the leadership of the University of Birmingham there have been several follow-up activities of the OSCE Network Report on China’s BRI and the OSCE, including virtual workshops (in collaboration with CORE and the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Vienna). Short and updated versions of the Network Report can be found on the Network website in English, Russian, German and Chinese.
On November 22-24, an OSCE Network Workshop “Crisis Management, Escalation Control and Sub-Regional Arms Control in the OSCE Area” took place in Warsaw as part of the Conventional Arms Control Discussion Project on Reducing the Risks of Conventional Deterrence.
An OSCE-related capacity- and alliance-building workshop (a separately designed workshop, one of the nine workshops held by the RARE program) took place on November 8-11 in Vienna as part of our project “Building Transnational Networks among Human Rights Defenders: Strengthening the Rule of Law within the OSCE’s Human Dimension”.
The workshop offered representatives of human rights organizations, the OSCE Network, and relevant OSCE institutions the opportunity to identify fields of action for cooperation in the field of human rights and to identify institutional/bureaucratic obstacles to such cooperation. The workshop supported networking among human rights defenders. The main purpose of the workshop was drafting of the OSCE Network project report “Using the OSCE Human Dimension Acquis to Address Rule of Law Backsliding in the EU: The Role of Human Rights Defenders” (working title).
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.