As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer at the 2014 Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting | Vienna, Austria | October 23, 2014
I would like to thank the Swiss Chairmanship and the Office of the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities for hosting this Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting. With each passing year we see additional improvements in the format and organization of this meeting. We appreciate the advance planning done this year by the Chairmanship and the Coordinator’s office, and the decision to move the meetings to the end of this week, to avoid competing for attention with the Permanent Council. Most importantly, we appreciate the focus this year on the 2012 Dublin Declaration on Strengthening Good Governance and Combating Corruption, Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism.
Although just two years old, the Dublin Declaration has had a profound impact on the work done by the OCEEA and the field missions. The list of activities undertaken by the field missions and the coordinator’s office since 2012 is substantial, and work done by participating States themselves is no less significant. We look forward over the next two days to hearing more about these successes.
In short, we’ve all done some good work so far. The mandate given to us through the Dublin Declaration is strong, and the sessions today and tomorrow demonstrate how widely it can be applied. But frankly, we need to do more and do it better.
If a project failed to reach its goals, don’t hesitate
to tell us about what went wrong
I know that the time and attention of delegations is often limited. With the tremendous pace this year of events and developments related to the crisis in Ukraine and Russia, it is understandable that many of us may have overlooked OSCE projects, activities, and opportunities in support of the Dublin Declaration, both here in Vienna and elsewhere. The Information Note provided last week by the Office of the Coordinator, describing good governance-related events and projects in Vienna and at the field missions, is the sort of report that helps delegations focus their attention on critical elements of the Second Dimension. We need more of this. We call on the Coordinator’s Office to give us concise reports on projects and developments related to the Dublin Declaration here in Vienna, at the field missions, and elsewhere in the OSCE area. These reports should focus not just on what happened, but more on why it matters and what is achieved. And we don’t want only success stories. If a project failed to reach its goals, don’t hesitate to tell us about what went wrong, so we can tailor future projects to be more effective.
We understand that Extra-budgetary Projects are in many ways the lifeblood of the Second Dimension, and we know there are a number of ongoing XB projects addressing good governance and anti-corruption that are deserving of support. Delegations need to be aware of the high quality good governance proposals out there that need funding. The Coordinator’s Office should in fact play a coordinating role here – gathering good proposals from the field missions and sharing them with delegations in a way that makes it easier for us to consider these systematically, on a regular and predictable basis. We could envision a semi-annual or annual “donors’ conference” for good governance XB projects. Not only would this better capture our limited attention, but it would help us in turn capture the attention of our capitals when budgets are tight.
This last point brings me to the question of political will for strengthening the Second Dimension in general, and the implementation of the Dublin Declaration specifically. I mentioned earlier the challenge we all face of devoting attention to the Second Dimension in the face of so many other critical issues. Alongside that challenge for many is the task of convincing capitals that the OSCE can and should play a stronger role in good governance and anti-corruption. We each need to take a close look at how to communicate successes and opportunities back to our capitals and our citizens in ways that will cultivate audiences and grow support.
We need to develop innovative ideas to increase the
OSCE’s capacity to implement the Dublin Declaration
Lastly, we need to develop innovative ideas to increase the OSCE’s capacity to implement the Dublin Declaration. I offer several suggestions on how this might be done, but we should not limit ourselves to these – we need to think creatively. My delegation has suggested the idea of establishing a Special Representative on Anti-Corruption in the recent past, but there are a number of other options we should consider as well.
I mentioned earlier the idea of a regular “donors conference” to focus on XB projects supporting the Dublin Declaration. Such a conference might also help increase the interaction between delegations and field mission staff, critical for helping delegations understand what sort of support is needed on the ground in some participating States, and what successes have already been seen.
We could establish virtual teams of experts on anti-corruption that could be called upon by participating States when they need specific assistance. These teams could provide guidance in developing national anti-corruption action plans, mentoring for officials preparing for reviews under the UN Convention Against Corruption, or help to establish more effective legal and judicial practices in the fight against corruption, for example.
We call on the OSCE Academy and the Border Management Staff College to increase their anti-corruption and good governance curriculum. These two institutions are great resources, and we should leverage them in support of the Dublin Declaration.
Civil society has a critical role to play in combatting corruption, and we should consider whether the Aarhus Centre model of cultivating civil society and promoting its interaction with government officials could work in developing grass-roots anti-corruption networks as well. In general we should bring civil society into conversations about diagnosing and addressing corruption whenever possible.
We should bring civil society into conversations about
diagnosing and addressing corruption whenever possible
We should be more active in self-reporting on Dublin Declaration principles at Economic and Environmental Committee meetings, presenting our own successes and lessons-learned. (I would note that the Russian federation provided us one example of this in the speech immediately preceding my own—where the Russian representative explained some of the steps recently taken around public procurement and other areas.)
These are just a few ideas we could consider, and I encourage you all to add to this list. Perhaps the most pressing need, however, is for us to commit to continuing this conversation. As important as these EEDIM sessions are, this discussion cannot end tomorrow afternoon. I propose we create an ongoing format to review implementation of the Dublin Declaration on a regular basis. A review panel of five or six Permanent Representatives could convene annually and present a report on implementation, to include progress by the Secretariat, the field missions, and participating States. Only through regular and substantive review of its implementation will we fully reap the benefits of this landmark declaration. I urge you to consider this as we proceed.
I again wish to thank the Swiss Chairmanship for selecting the Dublin Declaration as the topic for this year’s EEDIM, and for the Coordinator’s Office for their hard work in support of the meetings today and tomorrow. The United States stands firmly behind our commitment to the Dublin Declaration, and we look forward to these next two days.
Thank you Mr. Chairman.