Some 170 parliamentarians from across the OSCE’s 57 participating States gathered in Skopje from 30 September to 2 October for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 15th Autumn Meeting. Consisting of a Mediterranean Forum, Parliamentary Conference, and meeting of the Standing Committee, the Autumn Meeting provided an opportunity for parliamentarians from across the OSCE region to discuss the theme of “Strengthening Confidence-Building Measures and Good Governance in the OSCE Region,” and the role of parliamentarians in fostering co-operation to address ongoing and emerging crises in the OSCE area.
In her speech to the opening session on 30 September, OSCE PA President Christine Muttonen stressed the need for confidence-building in order to “engage with each other and search for common ground.”
“We must widen our perspective and see the world not only from our national point of view but also through the eyes of our neighbors, partners and even opponents,” she said. “This is how we build confidence and ultimately replace the threat of conflict with long-term stability. This is the only way to effectively address issues such as radicalization, terrorism, the challenge of migration and refugees, or even climate change.”
The 2015 Autumn Meeting of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly was held on 15-18 September in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The theme for the Meeting was “Addressing security challenges in the OSCE region and beyond: the role of parliamentarians in fostering regional co-operation.”
Parliamentarians from nearly 50 OSCE participating States were in attendance, discussing security issues within the politico-military, environment-economic and democracy-human rights spheres. Hosted by the State Great Hural (Parliament) of Mongolia, the Meeting was the final major gathering of the Assembly in 2015.
Mongolian Parliament Chairman Enkhbold Zandaakhuu and Mongolian President Elbegdorj Tsakhia addressed the Assembly during the opening session on 16 September. OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland), members of the Mongolian Delegation to the Assembly and officials from the United Nations and Shanghai Cooperation Organization were among other keynote speakers.
The Meeting also featured a special roundtable on Central Asia with the Heads of OSCE field presences in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
Mongolia, the most recent country to become an OSCE participating State, hosted an OSCE PA meeting for the first time.
Some 200 parliamentarians from more than 50 nations gathered in Geneva, Switzerland from 3 to 5 October for the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's 13th Autumn Meeting.
In opening the Parliamentary Conference, held under the theme of “New Security Challenges: The Role of Parliaments,” OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) noted that as the link between the OSCE’s governmental side and the people in the OSCE area, the PA is in a unique position to foster public debate and build support for strengthening the Organization in the run-up to the 40th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act.
“The Parliamentary Assembly is the OSCE’s democratic backbone, bringing not only legitimacy to the Organization, but also the OSCE’s values back to our capitals,” he said. “The role of our Assembly – as well as parliaments – has never been clearer as a way to build trust among those we represent.”
Hosted by the Parliament of Montenegro, the 2013 Autumn Meeting concluded with an address by OSCE PA President Ranko Krivokapic. Parliamentarians from across the OSCE area gathered 13-15 October for the meeting in Budva, which included a Mediterranean Forum, a meeting of the OSCE PA's Standing Committee, a meeting of the Bureau, and three sessions of the Parliamentary Conference "Addressing Transnational Threats and Protecting Human Rights: The Role of the OSCE."
Opening the Parliamentary Conference, President Krivokapic noted that Montenegro serves in a unique position to build bridges across the OSCE area. Montenegrin Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic highlighted Montenegro as an example of multi-ethnic dialogue.
With more than 130 parliamentarians in attendance, OSCE PA President Riccardo Migliori (Italy) opened the 2012 Fall Meetings by speaking of the importance of inter-ethnic dialogue, the value of Albania's work to strengthen relations between communities of diverse religious backgrounds, and the importance of the OSCE taking a more pro-active approach to global challenges. In their opening addresses, host officials focused on issues central to freedom, recalling the good work the OSCE has done promoting progress in South East Europe and urging global co-operation to promote freedom in places like Syria.
Speaker of the Albanian Parliament Jozefina Topalli encouraged investment in Albania and in the face of global challenges, encouraged Members to recall how Albania overcame its struggles not long ago. "It seemed impossible for my generation," she said of the country where free speech and religion were prohibited in a land of isolation, hyper-collectivism and poverty. Albania is proof that freedom works, she said, "because in freedom what seems impossible comes true, becomes possible and tangible."
More than 200 parliamentarians from across the 56-country OSCE region met in Dubrovnik on 7-10 October to discuss progress in South East Europe, co-operation in the Mediterranean region, and heard a special presentation from Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group on OSCE conflict resolution. The OSCE PA's Tenth Fall Meetings also included a meeting of the Standing Committee of Heads of Delegations on 9 October.
"This region is now showing freedom, security and prosperity are not values that stop at any borders," said President Petros Efthymiou on the opening day. "They are the common ideals that live inside us all and shared commitments that we as parliamentarians, diplomats and government leaders must always work to renew."