2015 Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting — Opening Statement

Fellow delegates, representatives, and distinguished guests, let me begin by thanking the Serbian Chairmanship and the Office of the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities for hosting this Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting (EEDIM). I would also like to express our sincere appreciation to State Secretary Ilic, Ambassador Zugic, Coordinator Dr. Yigitguden, Director Pesko, and Mr. Kos for being here this morning and demonstrating your commitment to EEDIM and the OSCE’s Second Dimension activities.

The Second Dimension offers important opportunities within the OSCE to address a wide variety of issues that significantly impact security in the OSCE region. The United States attaches particular importance to, and wholeheartedly supports, the OSCE’s work to promote good governance and to prevent, combat, and prosecute corruption. The scourge of corruption affects the security of all OSCE participating States by impeding democratic progress, respect for human rights, government accountability, political and social inclusion, and inclusive economic growth. The costs of corruption are enormous, resulting in gross misallocation of resources, economic decay, and slower growth. President Obama called the fight against corruption “one of the great struggles of our time.”

As OSCE participating States, we have made a number of important commitments to fight corruption. The 2012 Dublin Declaration on Strengthening Good Governance and Combating Corruption, Money Laundering, and the Financing of Terrorism provided a strong mandate and initiated significant work by the Secretariat and field missions in the fight against corruption. The 2014 Basel Ministerial Council Decision on Prevention of Corruption further strengthened our commitment to anti-corruption, transparency, accountability, and good governance. Looking ahead to this year’s Ministerial in Belgrade, we hope to reaffirm our dedication to anti-corruption and build on previous commitments.

At last year’s EEDIM, I proposed that we create an ongoing format to review implementation of the Dublin Declaration on a regular basis. A review panel with representatives from several Permanent Missions could convene on an annual basis to report on implementation and progress by the Secretariat, field missions, and participating States. This review could be incorporated into annual EEDIM meetings, providing an opportunity to discuss both successes and lessons learned. While discussions to take stock of our fulfillment of commitments related to corruption, such as the one we are having today, are important, we would like to see a more robust, fully integrated review. The statement by Mr. Kos today underscored the need for a comprehensive review.

The United States looks forward to our discussions over the next two days on how the OSCE and participating States can improve anti-corruption policies, exchange best practices, and strengthen cooperation.

In closing, we again thank the Serbian Chairmanship and the OSCE Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Activities for their dedication and commitment to organizing this annual EEDIM. This is important work and we look forward to the active participation of all.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting