Chairmanship Statement on COVID-19

Chairmanship Statement on COVID-19

As delivered
to the Ministerial Council, Tirana, Albania
December 4, 2020


1. We, the ministers for foreign affairs of the participating States of the OSCE, have convened in a world profoundly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. We recognize that COVID-19 constitutes an unprecedented global challenge, including to all participating States and Partners for Co-operation, and acknowledge the diverse ways in which the pandemic has had an impact on comprehensive security across the entire OSCE area, in the politico-military, economic and environmental, and human dimensions.

3. We express our condolences to the families of the victims of COVID-19 and our sympathy to those whose lives and livelihoods have been affected by the pandemic. We pay tribute to the efforts made by health and other essential and front line workers in addressing the pandemic through measures to protect the health, safety and well-being of our citizens.

4. We underscore the need for solidarity, unity, transparency and intensified effective international and multilateral co-operation in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences, and call upon participating States and other relevant stakeholders to advance, with determination, bold and concerted actions to address its immediate and long-term impacts, in line with the norms and principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act and in subsequent OSCE commitments, and Purposes and Principles of the United Nations Charter. We express our support for the role of the OSCE in identifying and facilitating action by participating States to address the impact of the pandemic on our comprehensive security and in assisting international efforts towards peace, including by the United Nations.

5. We recognize that the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic can affect individuals differently and have a disproportionate impact on the elderly, women, caregivers, youth and children, as well as on persons belonging to national minorities in our States. We acknowledge the need for our responses to the pandemic to take into account instances of discrimination, poverty, exclusion and inequalities, as well as domestic violence, which affects in particular women, children and those more vulnerable to such instances. We acknowledge that emergency measures can have a distinct impact on persons belonging to religious or belief communities, as well as the positive role those communities play in responding to the pandemic.

6. We applaud the essential contribution of women in COVID-19 response efforts and reaffirm our commitment to promoting the full, equal and meaningful participation of women in our response efforts with the view to achieving gender equality.