Response to the Report by the Secretary General on Progress Made with Regard to the Elements of the Conflict Cycle

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
July 19, 2012

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

We welcome the Secretary General to the Permanent Council and appreciate his informative report.  We look forward to reviewing it in detail.  At this stage it seems worthwhile to flag a few issues.

The United States agrees with the Secretary General that early warning within the OSCE is a shared responsibility which must involve the participating states as well as the executive structures.  As we all know, early warning requires sharing information that may come from a range of official and unofficial sources.  Getting that process right is a challenge.

In our view, we should focus our efforts primarily on early action because it is the area where the OSCE has historically had the most difficulty.  We recall that the organization has faced difficulties in taking early action in a timely and effective way in recent crisis situations.  It is for this reason that the U.S. and others have advanced proposals to formalize and expand existing OSCE capabilities on early action, and it is a question we need to return to.  We are open to the Secretary General’s proposal of a Conflict Prevention and Crisis Management Fund which draws from existing resources, but it will be critical to create a context where there is agreement among all participating states that these resources could actually be used. Additionally, we believe that it is important for early action teams to include all relevant parts of the OSCE, including ODIHR.

We fully support OSCE mediation activities and encourage sustainable, pragmatic development of OSCE capabilities in this area, attuned to actual needs and resources of the organization. We do not believe that a formal decision is necessary, as it is important to remain flexible so that we can make adjustments in line with changing needs and priorities.

With regard to cross-cutting issues, the United States is a firm supporter of the UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace, and Security.  We are most interested to learn of a prospective OSCE-wide Action Plan related to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 as a deliverable for the Dublin Ministerial Council meeting.  We applaud efforts to advance the OSCE’s strong commitments on UNSCR 1325 and recommend that the development of an Action Plan be undertaken carefully and comprehensively to ensure that it effectively enhances, without weakening, the implementation of these existing commitments, as well as the 2004 OSCE  Gender Action Plan and its critical principles.  We are eager to hear from those delegations planning to shepherd such an ambitious deliverable through to Dublin on their vision for an OSCE-wide Action Plan and their strategy to develop it, including which Committee would take on this task.  As activity on UNSCR 1325 has occurred in both the FSC and the PC, we note that delegations need to be mindful of the separate rules of procedure which govern these bodies.

Thank you again for your statement and leadership on issues related to the conflict cycle, Mr. Secretary General.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.