The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) sets standards in fields including military security, economic and environmental cooperation, and human rights and humanitarian concerns. In addition, the OSCE undertakes a variety of preventive diplomacy initiatives designed to prevent, manage and resolve conflict within and among the participating States.
The OSCE has its main office in Vienna, Austria, where weekly meetings of the Permanent Council are held. In addition, specialized seminars and meetings are convened in various locations and periodic consultations among Senior Officials, Ministers and Heads of State or Government are held.
Selected OSCE institutions and structures include:
- Summits: Comprising the heads of state or government of the OSCE participating States, set priorities and provide political orientation at the highest level.
- Review Conferences: Provide for review of implementation of all OSCE commitments by all OSCE participating States.
- Ministerial Council: Comprising the Foreign Ministers of the OSCE participating States, acts as the central decision-making and governing body of the OSCE activities.
- Senior Council: Responsible for the overview, management and coordination of the OSCE activities.
- Permanent Council: Responsible for the day-to-day operation of the OSCE.
- Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC): Negotiates and consults on concrete measures aimed at strengthening security and stability throughout Europe.
- Chairman-in-Office (CiO): Vested with overall responsibility for executive action and coordination of current OSCE activities.
- Secretary General and the Secretariat: Consists of the four permanent administrative departments under the Secretary General.
- Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR): Responsible for furthering human rights, democracy and the rule of law.
- High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM): Responds at the earliest possible stage to ethnic tensions that have the potential to develop into a conflict within the OSCE region.
- Representative on Freedom of the Media: Assists governments in the furthering of free, independent and pluralistic media.
- Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities: Addresses economic, social and environmental issues of security.
- OSCE Missions: Serve as instruments of conflict prevention and crisis management in a number of participating States.
- OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA): Meets annually to examine issues important to the national legislatures of the OSCE States.
- Court of Conciliation and Arbitration: Settles disputes submitted to it by OSCE States.