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Summary of Maastricht Ministerial Decisions

OSCE Strategy to Address Threats to Security and Stability in the Twenty-First Century: Recognizing that threats are increasingly transnational and based on societal destabilization, Ministers agreed to a comprehensive and robust strategy for combating new security challenges in the OSCE region. Among the measures called for are:

Establishment of an OSCE Counter-Terrorism Network to facilitate coordination and information sharing among OSCE nations;

Increased efforts to combat organized crime, including a detailed action plan for fighting trafficking in human beings;

Elaboration of the OSCE Border Security and Management Agreement to strengthen states’ capacities to promote secure borders;

Stepped up efforts to counter threats arising from discrimination and intolerance, including the adoption of and Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE area.

Promotion of effective and comprehensive export controls for MANPADS;

Adoption of measures for the destruction of stockpiles of ammunition and other explosive materials;

Adoption of uniform and more secure standards for issuing travel documents within the OSCE region;

Publication of a handbook on best practices on controlling the transfer of small arms and light weapons;

Exploration of the best way to expand the adherence to OSCE’s rigorous principles in adjacent regions;

Enhanced use of field missions, rapid expert assistance and the OSCE’s Action against Terrorism Unit;

Better use of the OSCE Court of Conciliation and Arbitration;

Enhanced dialogue and OSCE activity on threats emanating from economic and environmental challenges.

Activating the OSCE Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings: In March 2003 the OSCE approved an Action Plan with recommendations on how best to fight human trafficking both nationally and cooperatively. That plan represented the most comprehensive anti-TIP program ever adopted by an international organization. The Ministerial decision activated the March 2003 plan and made its fulfillment a political commitment by all participating states. The Ministers also agreed to:

Appoint a Special Representative to promote counter-trafficking programs and coordinate anti-trafficking efforts among OSCE states;

Create an Office [title] to support the Special Representative and manage anti-trafficking efforts;

Raise the public profile of the human trafficking problem;

Increase coordination and cooperation with other international organizations to maximize efforts to combat trafficking;

Offer expertise and advice to government authorities seeking to improve their abilities to combat trafficking in human beings.

Decision on Travel Document Security: In the first regionally coordinated effort of its kind, Ministers pledged to:

Comply fully with International Civil Aviation Organization security standards for the handling and issuance of passports by December 2004;

Begin the issue by all OSCE states of machine-readable travel documents by December 2005;

Have all OSCE states consider the use of biometric identifiers when technically feasible;

Hold a workshop on methods for implementing this decision in the first quarter 2004.

OSCE Document on Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition: This landmark decision is the first attempt by any organization to limit unnecessary or surplus stockpiles of ammunition, explosive material and detonating devices. The document delineates practical procedures for use on a voluntary basis, and provides for assistance when appropriate. Specific provisions include:

Providing risk assessment, as well as advice on stockpile management;

Elaborating programs for the destruction of surplus stockpiles;

Convening multinational assistance teams of experts to give initial assessments and recommendations;

Training personnel involved in destruction and/or stockpile management;

Sending assistance and evaluation missions where appropriated;

Centralizing the data collected by the creating of an archive;

Ensuring liaison and exchanging information.

Decision on Man-Portable Air Defense Systems: In an unprecedented move, Ministers recognized the increasing threat of the use of MANPADS by terrorist groups by calling for intensified discussion of current practices regarding MANPADS, and the application of effective and comprehensive export controls for them.

Handbook of Best Practices on Small Arms and Light Weapons (SALW): The Ministerial meeting was the occasion of the publication of the first regional guide to controlling the transfer of this class of weapons. The UN recognized this achievement as a “breakthrough” in controlling illicit traffic in these arms. How to guides include:

National controls over the Manufacture of SALW;

Marking, Record-keeping and Traceability of SALW;

National Procedures for Stockpile Management and Security;

National Control of Brokering Activities;

Export Control of SALW;

Definition and Indicators of a Surplus of SALW;

National Procedures for the Destruction of SALW;

SALW in Disarmament, demobilization and Reintegration Processes.

Decision on the Action Plan on Improving the Situation of Roma and Sinti within the OSCE Area: Recognizing the instability that comes from discrimination and intolerance, Ministers approved an unusually detailed action plan to improve the socio-economic conditions and uphold the human rights of Roma and Sinti. The plan includes specific provisions to be carried out by individual states as well as programs and policies to be undertaken by the OSCE. It is complementary to the “Decade of Inclusion” proposal set forth by George Soros in 2002. The plan calls for:

Combating racism and discrimination through legislation, national dialogue, accurate documentation of discriminatory acts and improved access to justice, with the advice and assistance of OSCE institutions;

Improved relations with police, by better training, inclusion of Roma and Sinti on police forces and active policies that promote awareness and sensitivity among law enforcement institutions;

Use of the mass media to enhance public awareness and counter prejudice; inclusion of Roma and Sinti in major journalistic outlets;

Development of mechanisms to clarify property rights, increase access to suitable housing for Roma and Sinti and train community leaders where appropriate;

Improvement in the access of the Roma and Sinti peoples to adequate health care;

Increasing educational advantages by improving national legislation, offering equal access opportunities, including informational about Roma and Sinti societies in textbooks and devising support programs;

Increased participation in public and political life by inclusion of Roma and Sinti representatives in consultative processes, the encouragement of an active role in local government and ensuring equal rights in elections and appointed offices

Better involvement of Roma and Sinti in consultations about crises and in post-crisis situations;

Better cooperation on these issues with other international organizations and NGOs.

Decision on Wider Sharing of OSCE Norms, Principles and Commitments with Others: Recognizing the contribution of the OSCE in promoting security and stability, Ministers pledged to widen its area of influence by:

Identifying additional fields of cooperation and interaction with OSCE Mediterranean and Asian Partners for Cooperation;

Encouraging the Partners for Cooperation to voluntarily adopt OSCE norms, principles and commitments;

Exploring the scope for even wider sharing of OSCE norms, principles and commitments in adjacent areas.


Additional Decisions:

Strategy document for the Economic and Environmental Dimension

Additional Commitments on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination

Additional Commitments on Elections

Terms of Reference for a Counter-Terrorism Network

Agreement that Belgium will be the OSCE Chairman in 2006

Agreements strengthening the Institutional Aspects of the OSCE

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