The 2016 Annual Security Review Conference
From 28 to 30 June, the three-day Annual Security Review Conference organised by the German Chairmanship was held in Vienna. It was attended by more than 400 high-ranking representatives from OSCE participating States who gathered to discuss security policy questions. In numerous events and discussions with high-profile panellists, the participants were able to find out more about security policy today and in the future and exchange views.
““Annual Security Review Conference” – it’s not a very catchy title and, if you ask me, it’s maybe even a bit misleading these days. Enlarge image Dr. Gernot Erler (© OSCE/Micky Kröll) As if we could just inspect security in the OSCE area once a year, like a safety inspection on an elevator or a kitchen gadget: slap a safety-check sticker on the side, job done!”These are the words chosen by Gernot Erler, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, in his opening speech, who thus immediately addressed the painful security policy issues. In 2016, the Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC) was thus to be seen not just as a ritualised duty but also as an opportunity to address the most pressing issues thoroughly, as well as openly and constructively.
Enlarge image José Ramos-Horta (© OSCE/Micky Kröll) Nobel Peace Prize laureate José Ramos-Horta laid important foundations for the discussion by warning against dangerous misunderstandings and miscalculations between conflicting parties.At the same time, he advocated an open dialogue which could create peace if the parties were willing and able to move on from making accusations and finger-pointing (“less pride, less ego”). Enlarge image Peter Sutherland (© OSCE/Micky Kröll) Also the second guest of honour, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for International Migration Peter Sutherland made an impressive case for more humanity on the part of each and every one of us and for better cooperation between states and organisations – “this is a local problem, but a global responsibility”
We also organised three Chairmanship Events to put our stamp on the Conference. In an evening event, prominent academics and publicists including Constanze Stelzenmüller and Fyodor Lukyanov focused on the question “European security - quo vadis?”. Enlarge image Panel Discussion in Palais Auersperg (© StäV) The focus here was on cohesion in Europe against the backdrop of visible fragmentation at various levels: “Security used to be an issue between states, but is becoming more and more an issue of societies.” The discussion also looked at Russia’s role and development – “Russia is trying to build a nation state, when nation states disaggregate”.
During a podium discussion, our Special Representative on Gender Issues, Melanne Verveer, outlined the relevant findings of numerous scientific studies:
“When women participate in building peace, their societies are better off.” The former presidents of Kosovo and Timor-Leste, Atifete Jahjaga and José Ramos-Horta, confirmed these findings. Women are not only those who suffer the most from conflict but also the most important pillars in society. Thus, “empowerment of women, politically and economically” is a crucial investment.
The Federal Armed Forces Verification Centre celebrated its 25th anniversary with a panel discussion on arms control today "Working in practice for politics".
The musical backdrop was provided by the Heeresmusikkorps Veitshöchheim which also had everyone’s toes tapping at various points in the programme.