Response to the Secretary General on the 2013 Program Outline

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
May 24, 2012

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

The United States welcomes the release of the 2013 Program Outline, and we wish to thank the Secretary General, the fund managers and their staff members for the work that has gone into this year’s submission.

The presentation of the Program Outline is an important step toward the formulation of the 2013 work plan and budget of the OSCE.  It deserves careful consideration and we look forward to intense engagement on the way forward for the organization in the coming months.  We also appreciate receiving the Compendium of Executive Summaries, which articulates the key strategic priorities of OSCE Executive Structures for 2013‐2015. It is our view that the longer-term focus will help participating States to clarify priorities for the OSCE, allowing resources to be allocated more effectively to those priorities.  We are pleased to see the inclusion of budgetary implications of the proposed plans, as these estimates will help us evaluate the tradeoffs required to support proposed actions.  We hope that next year, this executive summary will be refined into a coordinated three-to-five year Strategic Plan to replace the Program Outline, as previously proposed by the Secretary General.

The security challenges facing OSCE participating States have not diminished in recent years; however, we are facing global financial constraints that limit our range of actions to address these challenges.  In these difficult times, the United States firmly believes that it is ever more important to make the best use of our resources and to continue to adapt and focus OSCE activities on areas where the OSCE has unique capabilities to make an impact.  The OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security, which recognizes the importance of human rights protection as well as hard security and economic factors, is unique and should be defended and expanded where appropriate.  In our view, this means buttressing the work of the Institutions and their ability to coordinate activities with field missions.

We continue to support OSCE multilateral work to facilitate peaceful reconciliation to the persistent conflicts that undermine peace and security in the OSCE space.  This is an area in which the OSCE is uniquely suited to work.  We also believe this organization has a distinctive role to play in Central Asia, where the security challenges across all three dimensions are shifting and growing.  Bringing the Border Management Staff College into the OSCE Unified Budget will be key to the organization’s ability to assist Central Asian and other participating and partner States to secure borders, contributing to the fight against terrorism, drug smuggling, and human trafficking.

While there is still work to be done throughout the OSCE space, we should also find ways to recognize that certain parts of mandates have already been fulfilled or are being addressed by other means, allowing for the reduction or elimination of those activities.  In this vein, we welcome the initiative of several field missions in the Balkans that have taken a thorough look at their mandates and their activities and are seeking to hand off successful activities to local actors, reduce overlap with other organizations, and streamline operations.

The United States recognizes that finding consensus on priorities will not be easy.  It is much simpler for the participating States to task the OSCE with ever more work in increasingly divergent areas.  However, such an approach is not sustainable given budget realities.  We will do our best to be clear and precise as we work with you, Mr. Secretary General, OSCE fund managers, other participating States, and the incoming Ukrainian Chairmanship, to reach consensus on the next year’s priorities and budget.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.