Opening Statement | 2016 EEDIM

2016 OSCE Economic and Environmental Forum (USOSCE)

Good morning, fellow delegates, representatives, and distinguished guests. On behalf of the United States, I would like to thank you, Ambassador Pohl, Chair of the Permanent Council, and the German delegation, as well as Dr. Yigitguden, Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, and your staff, for the tremendous work organizing this week’s Economic and Environmental Dimension Meeting (EEDIM). I would also like to express our appreciation to Secretary General Zannier and all of you for attending this opening session and demonstrating your support to EEDIM and the OSCE’s Second Dimension activities. We also would like to thank Mr. Andrey Vasilyev, Deputy Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), for participating and sharing your keynote speech.

The United States welcomes the opportunity provided by EEDIM to review implementation of our OSCE commitments in the economic and environmental dimension. As Secretary General Zannier said, EEDIM provides a useful, and we believe an essential, platform for taking stock of how effective we participating States are at fulfilling these commitments. This meeting also provides a forum for discussing experiences, sharing best practices, and examining how common implementation challenges can be overcome.

As some delegations have already noted, we OSCE participating States have made a number of important commitments to fight corruption. The United States is pleased that the first session at this year’s EEDIM will focus on fighting corruption and promoting the rule of law. The scourge of corruption affects the security of all OSCE participating States. Corruption impedes democratic progress, respect for human rights, government accountability, political and social inclusion, and inclusive economic growth.

As noted in the 2014 Basel Ministerial Decision on the Prevention of Corruption, an important element in the fight against corruption is effective whistleblowing programs and protections. Whistleblowers play an important role in identifying and preventing corruption and defending the public interest. We are delighted that Dr. Peter Budetti, a widely recognized expert from the United States in the areas of whistleblowing and government fraud, among others, is here today to share the U.S. experience with implementing legislation and the results that have followed.

The United States also looks forward to discussions this week on implementation of OSCE commitments on good governance in transport and trade facilitation, good environmental governance, cooperation in the field of energy, and promoting sustainable development. As we proposed at this meeting last year, the United States believes that a review panel with representatives from several Permanent Missions should be created for the Second Dimension that would convene annually and report on implementation and progress by the Secretariat, field missions, and participating States. To echo Mr. Vailyev’s comments, we must remain focused on moving from words to actions.

Finally, along with a number of other delegations, the United States continues to believe that economic and environmental issues are critical components of comprehensive security. We look forward to the panel debate Tuesday afternoon on opportunities and challenges in the OSCE’s economic and environmental dimension. And we are pleased that the German Chairmanship will introduce a draft Ministerial Decision on good governance and connectivity. We agree that broad support exists for this text, and commit to constructively engaging in the process.

Mr. Chairperson, we look forward to our discussions over the next two days on how the OSCE and participating States can fulfill our commitments, improve our policies, exchange best practices, and strengthen cooperation.

Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

As delivered by Political Officer Darren Perdue at the 2016 Economic and Environmental Dimension Implementation Meeeting, Vienna