Update: 12.02.2014

Swiss OSCE Chairmanship 2014

In 2014, Switzerland is chairing the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). As Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs FDFA, President of the Confederation Didier Burkhalter is chairing the OSCE this year. The Swiss chairmanship is conducted under the principle "Creating a security community for the benefit of everyone".

High significance

This is the second time after 1996 that Switzerland has the chairmanship of the group of 57 states. Because of its non-membership in the EU and NATO, Switzerland stills considers the OSCE to be a key pillar in its foreign policy, although the organisation has gradually lost its importance as instrument of international politics over the past decade.
During the 2014 chairmanship Switzerland is cooperating closely with Serbia, which will be chairing the OSCE in 2015. The double candidature for a consecutive chairmanship Switzerland/Serbia in 2014/2015 was facilitated by a political compromise within the OSCE.

Key issues for 2014

The OSCE is active in the fields of security policy, economy and environment, as well as in the so-called "human dimension" sector, which includes democracy, rule of law and human rights issues.

Rule of law and human rights

In this third sector (and only this is of interest here) Switzerland wants to focus on the implementation of several already existing commitments during its 2014 chairmanship, which the OSCE states assumed in previous years. Particular areas are the prevention of torture, respect for human rights in the "war on terror", and respecting human rights of minorities.

Conflict mediation

During its OSCE Chairmanship, Switzerland focuses particularly on the reconciliation processes in the Western Balkans as well as on dialogue and confidence-building measures in the South Caucasus. In view of the drifting apart of East and West, Switzerland perceives the OSCE as an important platform for dialogue and wants to help bridging the widening gap.

Integration of civil society and youth

During the presentation of the programme of the Swiss OSCE Chairmanship in Vienna on 16 January 2014, Federal Councillor Burkhalter emphasised the great importance which Switzerland attaches to the systematic inclusion of civil society into OSCE procedures. Switzerland plans to consult civil society in all regions and throughout the year and wants to strengthen its role. Young people in particular should be involved in the work of the OSCE as Youth Ambassadors. A continuous dialogue is also held in Switzerland with the NGO working group on the OSCE.

Closing conferences in Basel

The Swiss OSCE Chairmanship culminates in two major events in Basel at the beginning of December 2014: an international NGO conference, followed by a meeting of the 57 ministers of foreign affairs of the OSCE member states.

Documentation

Background and analyses

© humanrights.ch / MERS - Hallerstr. 23 - CH-3012 Bern - Tel. +41 31 302 01 61