The Steering Committee of the OSCE Network held its annual meeting in Hamburg on 29 November 2018. Its members met for the first time in person, having only conducted business electronically to that point. In its current composition, the Committee was elected by electronic vote for the two-year term from February 2018 to February 2020. Previously a five-person committee, its membership was doubled to ten.
At the Hamburg meeting, the Committee members discussed the joint efforts of the now 85 Network institutes (based in 42 countries). They also discussed matters of cooperation with the OSCE, OSCE delegations, and government sponsors of the Network. In addition, they took stock of the activities that were conducted under the five Network projects implemented in 2018.
The Network has been a success story thus far: In the five years since its creation, it has been actively engaged in collectively elaborating innovative policy papers with practical recommendations for the OSCE and its participating States and in organizing a variety of OSCE-related Track II workshops and conferences. The Committee has now made plans for 2019 that range from continued Track II work in the area of conventional arms control to dialogue measures with civil society representatives in disputed territories.
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.
Joint research and discussions were bundled in two workshops held in Hamburg and Moscow in July and November 2018 with representatives of 13 OSCE Network institutes, other research institutes and government officials. The outcome of the project was a report written by a group of authors, with Wolfgang Zellner as the principal drafter. The report focuses on risk reduction in NATO-Russia contact zones, in particular in the Baltic Sea area.
- Workshop “Conventional Arms Control in Europe,” Moscow, 7 November
- Workshop “A New Concept for Conventional Arms Control,” Hamburg, 19/20 July
This project aimed to discuss the results of the 2017 OSCE Network project titled “The Road to the Charter of Paris: Divergent Narratives and Lessons for the OSCE Today” in Russia. The cooperating institutions in Russia were St. Petersburg State University and the Russian International Affairs Council in Moscow. Download publication in Russian.
- Workshop “The Road to the Charter of Paris: Historical Narratives and Lessons for the OSCE Today,” Moscow, 8 November
- Seminar “Origins of a Cold Peace between Russia and the West: The Unfinished Cold War Settlement, 1989–2008,” a seminar with about 80 students at St. Petersburg University, St. Petersburg, 7 November
This project aimed to reconstruct national perceptions of the OSCE in Central Asia, exploring the role and significance attributed to the OSCE in the foreign policies of these countries and expectations of the OSCE as a promoter of cooperative security in the Eurasian space. The first workshop took place in Almaty on 28 June 2018, with representatives from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Cornelius Friesendorf from CORE; the second, including representatives of the OSCE field offices from the region and Jeannette Klötzer as a CORE representative, took place in Bishkek on 3 November 2018.
- Workshop “OSCE in Central Asia: National Perceptions (Part 2),” Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, 3 November
- Workshop “OSCE in Central Asia: National Perceptions (Part 1),” Almaty, Kazakhstan, 28 June
The project aimed to give recommendations on how to mobilize and include religious leaders, institutions and congregations in new coalitions and frameworks of engagement. The first workshop took place in Maynooth on 13 April 2018. Representatives of the OSCE Network, the International Dialogue Centre KAICID, the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency and the OSCE Secretariat and Conflict Prevention Centre discussed the draft on 15-16 October 2018 in Vienna. The final report ends with a set of recommendations and was presented at the OSCE headquarters in Vienna in early 2019.
- Workshop “Religion and Conflict Prevention in the OSCE Context,” Vienna, 15/16 October
- Workshop “Religion, Conflict and the OSCE,” Maynooth, 13/14 April
While the European arms control regime is quickly eroding and must be reinvigorated, States are investing more and more in deterrence capabilities, primarily with conventional armed forces. This means an increase in military units, in modern weapons, in levels of readiness, and in exercises, frequently close to borders. In this context, the Steinmeier initiative for reviving arms control in Europe was a welcome reminder that security and stability cannot be achieved via the introduction of ever more weapons but must instead be pursued by political means, including arms control. The ensuing Structured Dialogue in the OSCE has shown that there is much support for new efforts in conventional arms control, but also stiff political opposition from a number of States.
This is not the only obstacle, however. Efforts in conventional arms control have also been hampered by a thorough lack of adequate new concepts. Discussions in 2017 resembled those in 2013. This was the rationale behind the OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions’ endeavor to address the issue and launch the project “A New Concept for Conventional Arms Control,” led by Wolfgang Zellner from CORE/Hamburg.
On 19-20 July, the project’s first workshop convened around 20 participants from the USA, Russia, Germany, Poland, Turkey, Latvia and Switzerland. Key points of discussion included a new leitmotiv for conventional arms control after the CFE Treaty, sub-regional arms control, new military capabilities and types of equipment, crisis management and arms control, confidence-building, transparency and verification. The participants agreed to produce a draft report to be discussed at a second workshop in Moscow in November, together with the Russian expert community.
The elections of the Network’s Steering Committee and Coordinators took place on 12-14 February 2018. The turnout was 79%. The new Steering Committee consists of eight members: Irina Chernykh (KISI, Kazakhstan), Barbara Kunz (IFRI, France), Marko Lehti (TAPRI, Finland), Ambassador Philip McDonagh (Edward M Kennedy Institute for Conflict Intervention, Ireland), Ambassador Philip Remler (Carnegie, USA), Sonja Stojanović Gajić (BCSP, Serbia), Stefan Wolff (University of Birmingham, United Kingdom) and Andrei Zagorski (IMEMO, Russia).
In addition, two Network Coordinators were elected: Cornelius Friesendorf (CORE, Hamburg) and Christian Nünlist (CSS, ETH Zurich, Switzerland).
On 6 November 2017, 25 members of the OSCE Network of Think Tanks and Academic Institutions met in Vienna to discuss the divergent narratives on the evolution of European security since 1990.
The workshop was part of the Network project “The Road to the Charter of Paris: Historical Narratives and Lessons for the OSCE Today,” which aims to contribute to a better mutual understanding of divergent interpretations of the recent past. The final project report will be published and presented at the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Vienna on 7-8 December 2017.
The workshop took place within the Hofburg, the OSCE HQ in Vienna. It was opened by welcoming remarks by OSCE Network Coordinator Wolfgang Zellner and David Buerstedde from the OSCE Office of the Secretary General. Participants included Ian Anthony (SIPRI), Juhana Aunesluoma (University of Helsinki), Hüseyin Bagci (University of Ankara), Laurien Crump-Gabreëls (University of Utrecht), Heinz Gärtner (University of Viennna), Serena Giusti (University of Pisa), Ambassador William H. Hill (Naval War College, Washington, D.C.), P. Terrence Hopmann (Johns Hopkins University, Washington, D.C.), Stephanie Liechtenstein (Security and Human Rights Monitor, Vienna), Ida Manton (Diplomacy Dialogue, Skopje), Naida Mehmedbegovic Dreilich (CORE, Institute for Peace Research and Security Policy at the University of Hamburg), Kari Möttölä (University of Helsinki), Christian Nünlist and Benno Zogg (Center for Security Studies, ETH Zürich), Ambassador Philip Remler (Carnegie, New York), Raimonds Rublovskis (Latvian Institute of International Affairs, Riga), Erwin Schmidl (Austrian National Defence Academy, Vienna), Oleksiy Semeniy (Institute for Global Transformations, Kiev), Oleg Shakirov (PIR Center, Moscow), and Ambassador Barend ter Haar (Clingendael Institute, The Hague).