The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Interorganisational Cooperation: Conceptual and Historical Aspect of Cooperation in Peace and Security

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UNU Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies
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UNU-CRIS Working Papers
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This paper will explore the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE’s) understanding of the security concept and its application to the Organisation’s activities. It also evaluates the effectiveness and limitations of the OSCE within the framework of cooperation with other international organisations, namely the UN and other European regional organisations. Like many other international organisations in the world, the OSCE is currently facing a two-fold challenge. The first element stems from the Organisation’s challenge adapting to an increasingly complex security environment. It now includes not only the management and prevention of intra- and inter-state conflicts but also trans-national threats. The second element is related to the OSCE’s need to respond to the changing political constellation in Europe, namely the enlargement of the EU and NATO. This has influenced relations among the participating states and the place they give to the OSCE in the broader European security architecture. It is, in this context, that the OSCE’s approach to security has developed, ultimately based on a broad understanding of the concepts, visible in the Organisation’s mandate. The OSCE’s reasoning has been inventive, rather than remaining attached to the traditional conceptions of security in the Cold War world and instead revealing the innovative character of its new insight to better addressing the security issue. Because of its unique characteristics, broad membership and wider links with other international organisations, including the UN, the OSCE is relatively well-adapted to a more cooperative and mutually supportive inter-state and inter-organisational security structure for the region. Particular attention will be focused on the OSCE’s role in drawing a model for common and comprehensive security.