Berlin Declaration Banner smaller

FlagsBelarusian and OSCE PA flags flying outside of the President Hotel in Minsk, site of the 26th Annual Session.MINSK, 3 July 2017 – Held under the theme “Enhancing mutual trust and co-operation for peace and prosperity in the OSCE region,” the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 2017 Annual Session will begin Wednesday with keynote speeches by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko, Chairman of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly of the Republic of Belarus Vladimir Andreichenko, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Christine Muttonen, and the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz.

With some 300 parliamentarians from North America, Europe and Asia expected to participate, the Annual Session is the largest event on the Assembly’s calendar. It will culminate in the adoption of the Minsk Declaration, which will help the shape policies of national governments, parliaments and the international community in the fields of political affairs, security, economics, environment and human rights.

High on the agenda will be issues such as counter-terrorism, climate change, migration, and strengthening the OSCE’s human rights enforcement mechanisms. Debates are expected on the crisis in and around Ukraine, disarmament, protracted conflicts in the South Caucasus, cybersecurity, the death penalty, the fight against corruption, and the rights of refugees and internally displaced persons. Other topics of debate will include developing effective responses to new psychoactive substances, energy security, religious discrimination, and promoting gender-inclusive conflict mediation.

After the amendment process and their adoption by the general committees, resolutions will be voted on by the full Assembly on the final day of the Annual Session on 9 July for inclusion in the OSCE PA’s Minsk Declaration, which will be presented to foreign ministers and speakers of parliament of the OSCE’s 57 countries.

Participants will also hold elections for the OSCE PA’s Bureau, including for the President of the Assembly, Vice-Presidents and Treasurer. In addition, the PA’s Standing Committee will adopt the annual budget for the coming fiscal year.

At the plenary sessions on 8 and 9 July, expected speakers include OSCE PA Special Representative on Gender Issues Hedy Fry (MP, Canada), Treasurer Doris Barnett (MP, Germany) and Secretary General Roberto Montella.

For schedules, resolutions, live streaming during the event, news updates, press releases and other information, please visit www.oscepa.org. Photos will be posted on the PA’s Flickr page at www.flickr.com/oscepa (available for public use) and both the PA and the Belarusian Parliament will be tweeting using the hashtags #OSCEPAMinsk2017, #ПАОБСЕМинск2017, #ПААБСЕМінск2017.

The Session is open to accredited members of the press. Media inquiries can be directed to Nat Parry, Head of Communications and Press at the OSCE PA, at [email protected] or Vitali Ermolovich from the Belarusian Parliament, [email protected]. Media programmes are available in English, Belarusian and Russian here.