LUXEMBOURG, 7 July 2019 – High-level officials addressed the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly today, urging effective multilateralism and better alignment of regional organizations in advancing sustainable development. The OSCE PA is meeting in Luxembourg for its 28th Annual Session under the theme “Advancing Sustainable Development to Promote Security: The Role of Parliaments.”
Speeches by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, the OSCE Secretary General and President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) emphasized the important role that parliamentarians play in implementing international commitments, including those found in the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak linked the approach of the UN’s SDGs to the comprehensive security model developed by the OSCE, arguing that the 1975 Helsinki Final Act laid the groundwork for the sustainable development agenda.
“Today, the OSCE through its field operations, autonomous institutions and secretariat – continues to be active in both stable countries and conflict settings. It has its own expertise, its own prevention toolbox, its own local knowledge,” he said. “And, it can, I believe, uniquely contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Parliamentarians have a crucial role to play, he said, including by increasing funding to schools and boosting the participation of women in local governments. “You are the link between the OSCE and the people it serves,” Lajcak said. “You inform and inspire the work of our Organization.”
OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger urged greater momentum on the sustainable development agenda, including by systematically mapping SDG-related activities in OSCE countries. Parliamentarians can contribute in a concrete way to this process by passing laws, allocating financial resources and holding governments to account, as well as by raising awareness and exercising leadership, he said.
“I see your manifest interest in today’s topic as encouragement to conduct a more systematic assessment of how the OSCE contributes to SDG implementation,” Greminger said. “So let us build further momentum on this issue.”
The Secretary General discussed other main priorities of the OSCE, including the crisis in and around Ukraine, cyber security and climate change. His biggest challenge as Secretary General is building a stronger sense of common purpose among participating States, he said. The OSCE has the potential to be the forum for meaningful diplomatic dialogue between the East and the West, Greminger noted, urging support from the PA in this regard.
PACE President Liliane Maury Pasquier discussed issues of common concern between the OSCE and Council of Europe, noting that both organizations are based on values found in the European Convention on Human Rights and the Helsinki Final Act and both are dedicated to establishing the rule of law. In an age in which multilateralism is increasingly challenged, she said, we should not underestimate the importance of the role that the assemblies of the Council of Europe and OSCE play in promoting international norms and sustainable development. Implementing SDGs is a multi-stakeholder process, she pointed out, in which parliamentarians must play a central role.
In plenary, OSCE PA Members agreed to a resolution authored by Belgian parliamentarian Nahima Lanjri, “Effective Migration Governance Based on Promoting Inclusive Societies and Dignified Returns,” which urges OSCE countries to adopt humane return policies.
Earlier in the day, the OSCE PA’s three general committees wrapped up their work and elected officers for the 2019-2020 term. In the General Committee on Political Affairs and Security, Members elected Filippo Lombardi (Switzerland) Chair, Costel Neculai Dunava (Romania) Vice Chair, and Laurynas Kasciunas (Lithuania) Rapporteur.
In the Committee on Economic Affairs, Science, Technology and Environment, Sofio Katsarava (Georgia) was elected Chair, Artur Gerasymov (Ukraine) Vice-Chair and Elona Gjebrea Hoxha (Albania) Rapporteur.
The Committee on Democracy, Human Rights and Humanitarian Questions elected Kyriakos Hadjiyianni (Cyprus) Chair along with Vice-Chair Michael Georg Link (Germany) and Rapporteur Susana Amador (Portugal).
The resolutions that have been adopted by will be included in the draft Luxembourg Declaration to be voted on in plenary session on Monday.
For more information on the OSCE PA's Annual Session in Luxembourg, please click here.
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