Food security, election observation, Belarus and Nagorno-Karabakh top agenda of OSCE Parliamentary Assembly Standing Committee meeting

BeasleyDavid Beasley addresses the OSCE PA Standing Committee, 12 Nov. 2020COPENHAGEN, 12 November 2020 – Meeting in an online format today, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Standing Committee heard a keynote address by David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Programme, and discussed OSCE matters.

In his remarks, Beasley discussed his work leading the WFP, which is the recipient of the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize. He noted that the effects of COVID on food security have been dramatic, and warned that 2021 could be a catastrophic year for food security if appropriate resources are not dedicated to the effort, highlighting the possibility of increased famine and mass migration. “People don’t want to leave home,” Beasley said. “But when you don’t have food and you don’t have a degree of peace, they do what any of us would do to protect their children.”

OSCE PA President George Tsereteli provided an overview of the Assembly’s activities in recent months, noting that the COVID-related suspension of election observation last spring was lifted with the deployment of two election observation missions this autumn – one to the United States and one to Georgia, as well as a small mission in Montenegro in August.

The President spoke about other issues high on the OSCE PA’s agenda, including the situation in Belarus and the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. He noted his hope that the agreement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation earlier this week will offer an opportunity for long-lasting peace. Another issue Tsereteli touched on was the institutional crisis in the OSCE, noting that the leadership vacuum is largely caused by a lack of interest for the OSCE at a political level in participating States.

“This crisis is purely political,” he said. “The ability to rapidly deploy the Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine proves that the OSCE can be operational when there is political will.”

OSCE PA Secretary General Roberto Montella reported on the recent work of the International Secretariat, noting that operations continue in a COVID mode, with telecommuting the general rule for now. He reported on recent election observation missions as well as an informal brainstorming session the PA hosted in September to discuss the OSCE leadership crisis and the future of the Organization.

Montella noted that the recent mission to the United States may have been the most important election observation mission ever undertaken by the OSCE PA, resulting in a strong statement demonstrating that OSCE observer missions do not apply double standards. He highlighted the extreme care taken to ensure that all election observers are safe in the context of the pandemic. The Secretary General briefed the Standing Committee on his recent meeting in Copenhagen with exiled Belarusian opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya and discussed upcoming activities, such as statutory meetings scheduled for 2021.

Ambassador Lamberto Zannier spoke about his work in developing a process to focus on issues affecting the OSCE, including implementation of commitments, the misuse of the consensus rule, and the issue of appointments. He noted that there are plans being developed to organize events in capitals and that he looks forward to working with parliamentarians in developing a plan to revitalize the OSCE ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Helsinki Final Act in 2025.

Kari Henriksen 121120Kari Henriksen reports on the OSCE PA election observation mission to the United States, 12 Nov. 2020In the discussion, OSCE parliamentarians raised issues such as the importance of election observation, the end of hostilities between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the crisis in and around Ukraine, and human trafficking.

Lord Peter Bowness, who serves as Chair of the Sub-Committee on Rules of Procedure and Working Practices, reported on ongoing efforts to improve and clarify the Assembly’s methods of operation. Treasurer Peter Juel-Jensen reported on the OSCE PA’s financial situation, noting that the Assembly continues to function in an efficient and cost-effective way, and OSCE PA Special Representative in Vienna Ambassador Andreas Nothelle reported on the latest developments at the OSCE headquarters.

The Standing Committee consists of heads of the national delegations to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, plus the Bureau. The last time it met was on 7 July.

Photos of the meeting are available on Flickr.



Nat Parry

Head of Communications and Press

Office: +45 33 37 80 55
Mobile: +45 60 10 81 77
Email: [email protected]

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