2021 OSCE Asian Conference participants call for common responses to emerging security challenges, free of dividing lines and zones

VIENNA, 20 September 2021 – The 2021 OSCE Asian Conference participants call for common responses to emerging security challenges, with the comprehensive security concept at the centre, free of dividing lines and zones. A two-day conference is held in Vienna and online, co-hosted by Thailand, an OSCE Asian Partner, and Albania, the 2021 OSCE Asian Partners for Co-operation Group Chair, with the support of the OSCE Secretariat.

Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, in opening the Conference, said: "Our comprehensive recovery after the pandemic is contingent upon a conducive environment of peace, stability and trust. Co-operation, not confrontation, must be given a genuine chance as a peace-building mechanism." Pramudwinai also highlighted the human-centred approach for advancing comprehensive security.

“Our principles and values are being tested, and divergent security perceptions are eroding the common efforts of international organizations, including the OSCE,” said Olta Xhaçka, Albania’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs. “We face shared challenges and our security should be comprehensive, co-operative, equal, and indivisible. The security of each participating State is inseparably linked to that of all others. Afghanistan is a clear example in this regard,” said Xhaçka.

Ann Linde, OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, said there can be no security or peace without human security, which encompasses respect for human rights. “Developments this year have put a spotlight on how security in both Europe and Asia is closely interlinked. Recent developments in Afghanistan are deeply worrying. They cause great concern regarding the security and enjoyment of human rights of the Afghan people, in particular women and girls, but also have wide-ranging effects on OSCE participating States, as well as on the Asian partners.” Linde said that participating States and Partners for Co-operation need to continue to discuss what further could be done. “What is certain is that the comprehensive concept of security needs to be at the centre.”

Within the OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security, discussions cover sustainable development, which is closely tied to good governance and environmental challenges, such as transboundary water co-operation, disaster risk reduction, climate change, and the partnerships in green energy transition.

Luca Fratini, Director of the Office of the OSCE Secretary General, emphasised that the pandemic has amplified existing challenges and presented us with new ones. “Sharing of good practices and lessons learned on a wide range of issues including technology, innovation, and digitalisation can be instrumental in strengthening climate resilience, sustainable growth and prosperity in the OSCE area and beyond, especially in a post-COVID era,” said Fratini.

The annual OSCE Asian Conference gives OSCE participating States and Partners for Co-operation an opportunity to share experiences and lessons learned in Asia. The OSCE Asian Partners for Co-operation are Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Thailand.

Source: Organization for security and Co-operation in Europe