Germany assumes chairmanship of the OSCE Asian Partnership
Germany holds the chairmanship of the OSCE Asian Partnership in 2017. Germany’s programme for this year includes five meetings of the OSCE’s 57 participating States at ambassador level with the five partners for co-operation from the Asia-Pacific region (Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, South Korea and Thailand), as well as a large OSCE Asian Conference in June 2017.
Combating human trafficking and drug trafficking, fighting violent extremism and terrorism, cyber security and disaster risk reduction – all these are security challenges with an impact far beyond the OSCE region. Promoting democracy and human rights, regional cooperation, gender awareness, the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and confidence-building measures are additional areas that we and the five Partners for Co-operation from the Asia-Pacific region have a common interest in.
Discussions so far have not only underscored the current relevance of these issues, but are also proof of the ongoing interest of the OSCE and especially its partners in maintaining a dialogue and sharing information and experiences on these issues. Germany also provides very tangible support for this co-operation. For example, the Federal Foreign Office makes available funds for specific OSCE projects with Afghanistan and for partnership projects in general, which include participation by partners in OSCE events and internships for junior diplomats from partner countries.
The main event of the long-standing partnership, the OSCE Asian Conference, will be held in Berlin on 19 and 20 June 2017. The date for the conference was set by the Permanent Council of the OSCE in February.
Relations between the OSCE and its Asian Partners for Co-operation were established in the early 1990s. Japan became a partner in 1992, followed by the Republic of Korea in 1994, Thailand in 2000, Afghanistan in 2003 and Australia in 2009. Mongolia, which had been a partner country, became a full OSCE member in 2012.
From the outset, the OSCE Asian Partnership has given its 57+5 countries the opportunity to exchange views and experiences on security in the OSCE region and in partner countries. Over the years, partners for co-operation have been included to an ever greater extent in OSCE activities. They currently have access to official OSCE documents and are invited to attend important OSCE meetings (e.g. Ministerial Councils) and events. They also participate on a regular basis (since 1994) in meetings of the Permanent Council and of the Forum for Security Co-operation.