Projects & Activities


The OSCE Network welcomed two OSCE Network Research Fellows in 2021: Nino Kemoklidze (University of Chichester) and Dmitri Makarov (International Helsinki Association). The Fellows are now in the final stages of producing OSCE Insights papers. 

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).

On 19 July 2021, the Center for Security Studies (CSS) at ETH Zürich, in cooperation with the OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions, hosted the online launch of “Multilateralism in Transition: Challenges and Opportunities for the OSCE” (available in German and English).

How is the OSCE dealing with geopolitical polarization and the crisis of multilateralism, and what are the ways forward? The event weighed the pros and cons of the OSCE consensus principles, elaborating on how to make use of the principles on which the OSCE is built while better clarifying priorities and how to balance attempts to manage and settle conflicts. To that end, four authors presented their book chapters: David Lanz (Swisspeace) on the bigger picture and crisis of multilateralism; Fabian Grass (Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs) on the campaign leading to the election of the OSCE Secretary General in 2017; Thomas Greminger (Geneva Centre for Security Policy and former Secretary General of the OSCE) on his term in office, the reform agenda, and how to make the OSCE more effective in tackling new challenges; and Benno Zogg (CSS; OSCE Network Steering Committee member) on the OSCE in the protracted conflict around Transnistria. The contributions were moderated and contextualized by the CSS’s Simon J. Mason.

The book was critically discussed by Cornelius Friesendorf (Centre for OSCE Research, Hamburg; OSCE Network Coordinator) and Sonja Stojanovic Gajic (Belgrade Centre for Security Policy; OSCE Network Steering Committee member). Friesendorf questioned whether there is still underlying consensus in the OSCE on values and norms and highlighted the tangible benefits of the OSCE and existing room for cooperation on certain issues. Stojanovic Gajic emphasized the difficulty of identifying success criteria for the OSCE, how the organization is perceived differently within the OSCE space, and the potential need for revitalization, possibly through a new conference in 2025.

The discussion and Q&A with the audience raised various important issues, including the nature of the climate crisis, on which the OSCE might act; the link between climate change and security; water management and the role of the OSCE Mission in Moldova/Transnistria; the potential of a new summit; and the role of “pragmatism” in the OSCE’s work.


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.


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.


  • 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. 


  • 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.


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