What is the OSCE and why does it matter to the United States?
The U.S. Mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) represents the interests of the United States in the OSCE. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) is the world’s largest and most comprehensive regional security organization - with 56 participating states spanning the globe from Vancouver to Vladivostok and 12 additional partner countries. The OSCE is a major forum for discussing and taking action on vital issues of peace, security and human rights in Europe and Central Asia. Collective security and stability are sought through consensus-based agreements.
A legacy of the historic 1975 Helsinki accords, the OSCE is a political and public diplomacy forum in which the United States works together with Europe on global challenges, to find pathways to build a Europe whole, free, and at peace, to meet new challenges, to resolve protracted conflicts in the OSCE region, and to encourage democracy and respect for human rights. In the aftermath of the August 2008 war in Georgia, and Russia’s calls for a new approach to security in Europe, the OSCE is expected to play an even larger role in shaping the evolving debate on European security in the future.
In the OSCE, the 56 participating States have agreed in principle that true security and mutual confidence among States includes transparency within each State as to the operation of its political system and respect for OSCE norms of human rights, rule of law, media freedom and democracy. This recognition that real political and military security in the Trans-Atlantic/European/Central Asian region must be built on a foundation of open-society commitments makes the OSCE unique in its approach to military and political security.