Economic and Environmental Implementation Meeting – Opening Remarks

As prepared for delivery by Nathan Jones
to the OSCE Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting
Vienna, Austria
October 16th, 2012

Thank you, Ambassador Kuchynova.

Good afternoon fellow delegates, representatives, and distinguished guests. We would like to thank the Irish Chairman-in-Office, Coordinator for Economic and Environmental Activities Svilanović, and Chairman Lozos for bringing us together for the 2012 Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeting.  The preparatory meetings throughout the year, the Economic and Environmental Forum, the committee meetings, and the many other programs and activities associated with the Second Dimension this year have shown us just how much work there is to be done to promote and encourage good governance and transparency within the OSCE area.  We have also seen that the OSCE does indeed have an important role to play in these issues, and can contribute significantly to promoting responsible and sustainable economic growth across the OSCE participating States in a way that enhances our collective security just as it does in the First and the Third Dimensions.  Indeed, as many have pointed out this year, much of what entails good governance and transparency goes beyond simple economics and environmental stewardship, and has a tremendously positive impact on activities in all three dimensions of the OSCE’s work.

With that in mind, we wish to express our enthusiastic support for a decision or declaration on good governance and transparency at the Ministerial Council in Dublin this December.  We commend the Irish Chair-in-Office for the release of their draft text last week, and for the hard work they have invested in developing language that lives up to the responsibilities and the capacities of the OSCE in this domain.  As can be seen in the number of previous OSCE commitments cited in the Chair-in-Office’s draft, these issues are not new, and the idea of participating States pledging to enact the principles of good governance is based on much precedent.  It is time, however, to reaffirm in one overarching document our commitment to enacting these principles as a whole.

The Chair-in-Office text has rightly pointed out the importance of anti-money laundering, anti-corruption, and anti-terrorism financing efforts, as well as the central role played by civil society and the private sector in all this.  The references to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the World Bank and UNODC’s Stolen Assets Recovery (StAR) Initiative, and other key international and regional conventions and instruments illustrate the value in reinforcing within the OSCE those existing tools which have already proven valuable in promoting our good governance goals.  To that end, we call for the inclusion of several other specific conventions and instruments to be included by name in the text, including the Open Governance Partnership (OGP), the Extractives Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), and the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST).  In conjunction with strong civil society partners, a robust and independent media environment, and an engaged private sector, these specific tools will increase transparency across the OSCE area and promote stronger and more vibrant economic growth.

We have the opportunity this year to set an important benchmark for the OSCE, one that will guide our work on the Second Dimension for years to come.  We call on participating States to set a high standard with this good governance text, a goal that will stretch us all and lead us to a more prosperous and secure future for all our citizens.

Thank you, Madame Ambassador.