Committee rapporteursPolitical and security committee rapporteur Kristian Vigenin, economic and environmental committee Rapporteur Sofio Katsarava and human rights committee Rapporteur Kyriakos Kyriakou-Hadjiyianni

BERLIN, 10 July 2018 – The three general committees of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly – the political and security committee, the economic and environmental committee and the human rights and humanitarian affairs committee – have wrapped up their work at the 27th Annual Session in Berlin.

Dealing with topics including the crisis in and around Ukraine, rising populism in Europe, protracted conflicts, the environmental impacts of war, rebuilding trust in the OSCE area, and human trafficking, the draft resolutions submitted by committee rapporteurs have been amended and adopted, along with additional resolutions introduced by OSCE PA members, and will now be included in the Berlin Declaration to be voted on in the closing plenary session Wednesday.

Introducing the resolution to the Committee on Political and Security Affairs on Sunday, Rapporteur Kristian Vigenin (Bulgaria) emphasized that security challenges such as terrorism, cyber threats and protracted conflicts require greater multilateral engagement.

“The level of dialogue and trust across the area spanning the 57 participating States of the OSCE has reached historic lows, which some might call a failure of multilateral organizations for falling short in managing the challenges we face,” Vigenin said. “In light of these developments and the declining trust across the OSCE region, it is now more than ever of greatest importance for multilateral organizations to bridge divides and enable dialogue between States and their parliaments and their civil societies in security matters.”

Chaired by Filippo Lombardi (Switzerland), the committee debated issues related to nuclear disarmament, the OSCE’s structured dialogue, gender aspects of security, and the crisis in and around Ukraine. Vigenin’s resolution was agreed to by a vote of 50-5, with one abstention.

In the Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, chaired by Nilza de Sena (Portugal), Rapporteur Sofio Katsarava (Georgia) identified reducing corruption, environmental good governance, climate change, sustainable energy and energy efficiency, environmental migration, and internal displacement as the most urgent challenges facing OSCE participating States in the economic and environmental dimension.

“Corruption and organized crime distort good governance and negatively affect the management of public funds and competitive markets,” she said. “Having a comprehensive legal framework is not enough. What is required is the effective implementation of anti-corruption provisions.”

She also stressed that climate change has pushed the earth into uncharted territory, contributing to extreme weather and migration. She emphasized, however, that migration and internal displacement caused by conflicts must remain in focus as well.

In the debate, members highlighted the importance of cities taking local action against climate change, the need for energy diversity with a focus on renewable energy, carbon pricing, and the possible impacts of the Nord Stream II gas pipeline project. The resolution was adopted unanimously.

The Third Committee was chaired by Isabel Santos (Portugal) and heard a report by Committee Rapporteur Kyriakos Kyriakou-Hadjiyianni (Cyprus).

“Today all of us MPs in our national parliaments need to confirm our commitment to human rights,” he said. “Human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and inter-related. The promotion and protection of human rights is a matter of priority for the OSCE community and furthermore for the national parliaments.”

In the debate, issues were raised such as “fake news,” political prisoners, freedom of religion, and the rights of migrants and refugees. The draft resolution was adopted by a vote of 47-0 with two abstentions.

Today, committees elected new leaders for the 2018-2019 term. In the political and security committee, Filippo Lombardi (Switzerland) was re-elected chair, Sofio Katsarava (Georgia), was elected vice-chair, and Alan Farrell (Ireland) was elected rapporteur. In the economic and environmental committee, Nilza de Sena (Portugal) was elected chair, Artur Gerasymov (Ukraine) vice-chair, and Elona Hoxha Gjebrea (Albania) rapporteur. In the human rights committee, Margareta Kiener Nellen (Switzerland) was elected chair, Michael Georg Link (Germany) vice-chair, and Kyriakos Kyriakou-Hadjiyianni (Cyprus) rapporteur.

gender lunchFranziska Giffey addresses the gender lunch on 9 July 2018. (DBT/photothek)An informal working lunch on Monday focused on the theme of “Combating Violence Against Women.” Keynote speakers at the event included Dr. Franziska Giffey, Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth of Germany; and OSCE Senior Advisor on Gender Issues Amarsanaa Darisuren.

The lunch was opened by OSCE PA Special Representative on Gender Issues Hedy Fry (Canada), who commended the OSCE’s work on combating violence against women, and by OSCE PA Treasurer and Head of the German Delegation Doris Barnett, who stressed how essential it is to promote gender equality. OSCE PA President George Tsereteli (Georgia) also spoke on the issue of gender-based violence, highlighting the indispensable role of parliaments and the OSCE PA, which can help promote best practices and better information-sharing between governments.

The Annual Session has featured many side events organized by national delegations dealing with a wide range of topics, including corruption, propaganda, the state of journalism, environmental impacts of armed conflict, the Boris Nemtsov assassination, the Nord Stream II pipeline project, and election observation.

President Tsereteli has also held a series of bilateral meetings over the past several days, including with Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation for Italy Guglielmo Picchi, Luxembourg Speaker of Parliament Mars Di Bartolomeo, Montenegro Speaker Ivan Brajovic, and Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights Ingibjorg Gisladottir. He has also met with OSCE PA delegations from Slovakia, Israel, Morocco, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Norway, Romania, Spain, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan.

The Annual Session is being held under the theme “Implementing OSCE Commitments: The Role of Parliaments” and continues today with plenary debates. It concludes Wednesday with the adoption of the Berlin Declaration and elections of Assembly officers.

For schedules, resolutions, speeches, news updates, press releases and other information, please visit http://www.oscepa.org/meetings/annual-sessions/2018-berlin-annual-session. Photos can be found on the OSCE PA's Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/oscepa Livestreaming is available in German and the floor language here: https://www.bundestag.de/mediathek