Parliamentarians must lead way towards more responsible post-COVID world order, OSCE PA members say at Remote Session

Remote Session 2nd committee photo 010721COPENHAGEN, 1 July 2021 – The second day of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s 2021 Remote Session featured a virtual meeting of the OSCE PA’s General Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment. More than 30 parliamentarians debated the report put forward today by Rapporteur Elona Gjebrea Hoxha (Albania) on the subject of reinforcing multilateralism in times of global crisis, stressing that the international community should learn from the COVID-19 experience to handle future similar crises and adequately protect the planet through more responsible policies.

Opening the meeting, Chair Doris Barnett (Germany) highlighted public health, corruption, money laundering, terrorist financing, climate change, and environmental pollution as among the world’s greatest threats.

The pandemic, she said, has revealed how socio-economic dynamics can affect security and stability. “The ongoing health crisis has also made apparent that we must act as a global community to successfully respond to global challenges,” she said, urging that short-sighted, partisan national interests be put aside for the common good. “In doing so, we should make the best possible use of science, technology, and innovation to shift the world onto a more sustainable and resilient path.”

In this regard she noted that the rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines would have never been possible if all countries had not realized the stakes at play and co-operated to find a common solution to a global problem, arguing that the same logic should be applied to other global challenges.

In her presentation, Rapporteur Hoxha highlighted how COVID-19 has undermined the economy and upended lives for billions of people around the globe, underlining the need for co-ordinated efforts in addressing a multitude of complex related issues.

“On the one hand,” she said, “the pandemic has exacerbated existing economic challenges, which, if not addressed responsibly, will continue to hamper security and development in the OSCE region. On the other hand, the pandemic has triggered greater awareness of the fragility of the environment and its importance for human well-being.”

She emphasized that a key theme of her report is that parliamentarians must play a leading role in forging a new, post-COVID world order that effectively addresses development needs while fully safeguarding the planet. Regarding economic security, she noted that policy and social adjustments are urgently required to recover and build resilience against future similar shocks. Environmental protection must be at the very core of the security agenda, Hoxha said, as environmental degradation represents one of the most urgent threats faced by human civilization.

Hoxha urged greater efforts towards shaping a sustainable development model in which economic, social, environmental, and public health factors are given equal attention. “In this endeavor,” she said, “I firmly believe we should expedite the low-carbon energy transition, promote a more responsible economy that treasures environmental sustainability and harness the opportunities offered by the digital revolution and technological innovations to support the green transition.”

In the debate, parliamentarians raised issues such as migration management and the need to vaccinate all migrants regardless of legal status. The increased levels of violence against women during the pandemic was raised as a particular concern, as well as the heightened risks of human trafficking and smuggling.

Members, including Vice-Chair of the Committee Artur Gerasymov and a number of OSCE PA Special Representatives, highlighted corruption, money laundering and terrorist financing as key concerns, as well as the use of the internet for radicalization, the economic impact of pandemic on young people, and the need to support small- and medium-sized enterprises to reduce unemployment. Prioritizing the fight against corruption was emphasized as particularly important to protect public resources from illicit practices in the context of emergency spending related to the pandemic.

Climate change was also stressed as an urgent priority including the importance of utilizing tools for carbon pricing, as well as the environmental impacts of the conflict in Ukraine.

The OSCE PA’s 2021 Remote Session opened Wednesday with a virtual meeting of the Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions. It continues Friday with a meeting of the Committee on Political Affairs and Security.

For draft programmes and the reports of the three general committees, please click here.



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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