What is the OSCE’s Economic and Environmental Dimension?
Economic and environmental stability are fundamental to lasting peace. Recognizing this, OSCE States have long cooperated through the OSCE on issues as crucial to our common security as good governance, fighting corruption, and environmental stewardship. Taken together, these efforts make up the second — or “Economic and Environmental” — Dimension of the organization’s three broad areas of work.
The OSCE undertakes a variety of activities in its Economic and Environmental Dimension.
For example, the OSCE provides regular opportunities for representatives of OSCE governments to meet, exchange views, and share best practices on economic and environmental matters. These meetings often also include civil society and private sector experts, whose outside perspectives and new ideas enrich the discussions. The highest-level meeting of this type is the OSCE’s Economic and Environmental Forum, which convenes once a year in Prague, the Czech Republic, to develop recommendations for action on focus issues and to foster the political engagement needed to agree on them.
The OSCE also works on economic and environmental issues on the ground through its field operations, providing expertise and support to local institutions across the region. The OSCE’s “Aahrus Centers” are a good example of this. Working with the United Nations, the OSCE has established more than 60 such Centers in 14 OSCE countries to support local authorities, civil society, and citizens in working together on environmental decision-making, and to improve access to environmental information and access to justice in environmental matters.
The OSCE’s work in the second dimension is led and overseen by the Office of the Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities at the OSCE’s Secretariat in Vienna, Austria. The Coordinator updates the OSCE’s Permanent Council – the political body that governs the day-to-day operational work of the organization – on second dimension activities twice a year.
Along with the OSCE’s work on political-military issues, human rights, and fundamental freedoms, the OSCE’s economic and environmental activities form an integral part of the organization’s comprehensive approach to security. The United States firmly supports the OSCE’s work in the Economic and Environmental Dimension, and believes it provides many more opportunities to build security, confidence, and trust between OSCE participating States.