Speech at the OSCE Ministerial Council, Dublin, 6.12.2012

Mr Chairman, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to be invited to speak on behalf of Finland at this 19th OSCE Ministerial Council. At the outset, let me congratulate the Irish Chairperson-in-Office, H.E. Eamon Gilmore and his team, for successfully guiding our work this year. You can trust on our continued support also in the final stages of your Chairmanship.

Let me also congratulate Mongolia as a new OSCE participating State. We look forward to co-operating with Mongolia both in promoting OSCE principles and commitments as well as in all the related practical work.

Mr Chairman,

The OSCE is a unique composition of participating States, a comprehensive concept of security, and a strong set of principles, commitments and practical tools. At its very core is also the understanding that security is built through co-operation, not confrontation. Today this concept is as timely as ever. Today’s challenges highlight the importance of broad concept of security, where human rights, rule of law, democracy, economic and environmental welfare, security and stability are all closely interrelated.

Yet, I would share sentiments that the OSCE is undergoing challenging times. The self-examination that started some years ago should be continued. Assessments among the participating States may differ as regards the challenges that need to be discussed, the proposals to strengthen the OSCE, and how the process and the organization could best serve to promote security and stability. The need for self-reflection and concrete results is out there, and this should not be overlooked.

We do face serious challenges. How can we strengthen trust and spirit of co-operation among the participating States? What more could be done to ensure that our joint principles, values and commitments are fully implemented? What could be done to unlock the situation regarding arms control regimes? We will also be facing questions stemming from the current financial crisis – what are its consequences in the OSCE context?

Mr Chairman,

The Astana Summit in 2010 was an important moment of stock-taking. The Summit Declaration gave clear guidance for further work. Finland welcomes the efforts of Ireland as the Chairmanship to launch the Helsinki +40 process, as an objective to further strengthen the OSCE.

It is no news that Finland greatly values the OSCE. I hope that the Dublin Ministerial meeting will launch an intensive and structured preparatory process to find answers that we can all share, and which will strengthen co-operation among the participating States, as well as will provide forward-looking perspectives for the OSCE.

Further work should cover all the dimensions of the OSCE, as well as the so called transnational threats. We support OSCE’s involvement in promoting cyber security, including through adoption of a set of confidence building measures. It is important to modernize arms control, confidence and security building measures in the OSCE framework, and to promote security and stability through military transparency. It would be useful to update work on economic and environmental co-operation in order to review where the OSCE can provide added value.  

More could be done in human dimension, through full implementation of commitments and consideration of further undertakings. In particular, I would like to underline the important role that civil society has to play to this effect. We could also do more to support human rights defenders.

Last year, in Vilnius, we endorsed some practical measures to improve OSCE tools regarding conflict cycle. These efforts should be continued also in the context of Helsinki +40. In my view, early warning, conflict prevention and effective mediation support, are areas where we should try to further improve conflict cycle tools. It is also clear that some positive, concrete steps on so called protracted conflicts – even small steps at this point – towards resolution of these conflicts would be of great value.

Finland offers support to OSCE’s valuable project work and field missions. In this context, I would like to highlight the importance of performance assessment, evaluation procedures, good co-operation with the host countries and prioritization on areas and activities where support is most needed.

Gender issues, as a key cross-cutting and cross-dimensional theme, should continue to be high on the OSCE agenda. Finland has presented together with Austria,Turkey and Kazakhstan a proposal for an OSCE Wide Action Plan for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325. This would strengthen 1325 goals within the OSCE activities and support national implementation measures. We are thankful for the wide support received so far, and stand ready to continue the work in Vienna.

Let me conclude by underlining Finland’s support to the vision established in Astana. In essence, that vision is what the OSCE is all about, and has always been – shared values and commitments and security built on co-operation. That is the famous Helsinki spirit, and it is needed also today.

Once again, I wish to thank you the Irish Chairmanship for its excellent hospitality and look forward to working with the incoming Chairman-in-Office Ukraine, as well as next Chairmen-in-Office, Switzerland and Serbia.

Thank you.