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2016 AS Tbilisi General CommitteesMargareta Cederfelt, Marietta Tidei and Isabel Santos presenting reports and draft resolutions to the general committees in Tbilisi, 2 July 2016
TBILISI, 2 July 2016 – Nearly 300 parliamentarians from 54 OSCE countries have begun debates on political and security affairs, economic and environmental issues and human rights and humanitarian concerns at the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 25th Annual Session in Tbilisi.

The OSCE PA’s three general committees began working on resolutions Saturday dealing with topics including transnational terrorism, the crisis in and around Ukraine, protracted conflicts in Georgia, corruption, energy, climate change, migration and the rights of refugees.

Introducing the resolution to the Committee on Political Affairs and Security, Rapporteur Margareta Cederfelt (MP, Sweden) noted the importance of rebuilding trust and promoting stability in the OSCE region. “Since so many of our common challenges require real multilateral engagement, we as parliamentarians should work together in overcoming these challenges and work towards our mutual security,” she said.

Chaired by U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, the committee debated a number of issues related to the security situation in the OSCE area, with a particular focus on the threat of terrorism and resolving the Ukraine conflict through full implementation of the Minsk Agreements.

In the OSCE PA’s Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, chaired by Nilza Sena (MP, Portugal), Rapporteur Marietta Tidei (MP, Italy) highlighted the necessity of addressing climate change and other challenges in the economic and environmental dimension. She noted that 2016 marks not only the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 25th anniversary, but also 25 years since the international community began addressing one of the most challenging environmental concerns of our time.

“In 1991, the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee held its first meeting to tackle what was already seen at that time as a serious challenge to humanity, the threat of climate change,” Tidei noted. She welcomed the adoption last year of the Paris Climate Agreement and urged its swift implementation by OSCE countries. Other issues touched on by the rapporteur and in the debate included food security, economic inequality and corruption.

The OSCE PA’s Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions opened debate on Rapporteur Gordana Comic (MP, Serbia)’s report and draft resolution, introduced by Committee Chair Isabel Santos (MP, Portugal). The resolution urges a revitalization of the OSCE’s commitment to the human dimension of security at a time when a “crisis of leadership and ideas” is coinciding with a humanitarian emergency related to Europe’s refugee and migrant crisis.

Chaired by Ivana Dobesova (MP, Czech Republic), the committee debated issues including fundamental freedoms in Crimea and humanitarian concerns related to the migration crisis, including the special vulnerabilities of women and girls.

Santos noted that the report and draft resolution do not present a “magic solution” to the challenges of human rights in the OSCE area, but provides a basis for further co-operation. “Together, we can achieve more, and one day we will achieve the solutions,” she said.

Committee meetings continue on 3 July with a number of amendments to consider. After the amendment process and their adoption by the committees, resolutions will be voted on by the full Assembly during the final day of the Annual Session on 5 July, for inclusion in the OSCE PA’s Tbilisi Declaration.

The committee meetings today follow a number of opening speeches Friday, including by Georgian Speaker of Parliament David Usupashvili, President Giorgi Margvelashvili, and Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, as well as OSCE PA President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) and the OSCE’s Chairperson-in-Office, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

Also on Friday, President Kanerva and Foreign Minister Steinmeier met for a bilateral meeting that focused on conflict resolution efforts in Ukraine. They discussed the crisis in and around Ukraine in detail, including the current Russian position on its level of engagement and prospects for implementing the Minsk Agreements.

For schedules, resolutions, live streaming during the event, daily news updates, press releases and other information, please visit www.oscepa.org. Selected photos are being posted on the PA’s Flickr page at www.flickr.com/oscepa and on the Georgian Parliament’s Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/geoparliament. Both the PA and the Georgian Parliament are tweeting using the hashtag #OSCEPATbilisi.

The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly is comprised of 323 parliamentarians from 57 countries spanning Europe, Central Asia and North America. The Assembly provides a forum for parliamentary diplomacy, monitors elections, and strengthens international co-operation to uphold commitments on political, security, economic, environmental and human rights issues.