Washington—At the Dublin Ministerial Council meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on December 7, the 57 participating States of the organization agreed to pursue greater cooperation in combating corruption and fighting terrorism in the OSCE region.
“This declaration is a step toward more effective good governance programs, which will promote greater security and rule of law throughout the OSCE region. Particularly worthwhile is the declaration’s emphasis on preventing criminals from transferring money and on freedom of information in public procurement transactions,” said Representative Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission). “It is only unfortunate that, for the second year in a row, the organization wasn’t able to achieve necessary consensus for a declaration pertaining to human rights, such as media freedom.”
“This declaration is important to the work of the OSCE because for the first time we have a comprehensive document that provides a framework for the OSCE’s work in combating corruption,” said Senator Ben Cardin (MD), Co-Chairman of the Commission, “and I am particularly pleased that in this declaration the participating States have acknowledged the importance of transparency in combating corruption and specifically called out the work of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). I also want to thank fellow Commissioner and Commerce Assistant Secretary Michael Camuñez, who played an integral role in developing and advancing this declaration across the finish line.”
“Reinforcing the OSCE’s commitment to good governance and the fight against corruption is essential to attracting investment, driving economic growth, and promoting trade in the OSCE region,” said Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael Camuñez, who concurrently serves as an Executive Branch Commissioner on the U.S. Helsinki Commission. Camuñez, who has helped elevate the Commission’s engagement on the Economic and Environmental Dimension of the OSCE, said “This declaration will also empower the OSCE field missions to assist participating States in their good governance commitments to help promote greater transparency and the rule of law in the region.”
The declaration, formally titled, “Ministerial Council declaration on Strengthening Good Governance and Combating Corruption, Money-Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism,” is one of five declarations agreed to by consensus of the participating States in Dublin. The declaration recognizes the role that good governance plays in furthering “economic growth, political stability, and security,” and calls on the OSCE to play a greater role in fostering good governance through increased efforts in combating corruption and money laundering. Achieving the declaration has been a priority for the Commission and benefited from the active participation of Commissioner Camuñez in pushing forward the concept of good governance within the OSCE.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 57 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.