The Lithuanian OSCE Chairmanship on 15 March 2011 launched a series of discussions among the 56 participating States as a follow-up to the 2010 OSCE Astana Summit.
The Astana Commemorative Declaration, adopted at the Summit, tasked the incoming OSCE chairmanships with organizing a follow-up process to the Summit.
In his introductory statement to the first ambassadorial meeting devoted to OSCE's role in managing conflict cycle, Ambassador Renatas Norkus, the Chairperson of the Permanent Council, emphasized the need for a pragmatic approach aimed at translating initiatives and ideas introduced by participating States during the Corfu process and in preparation for the Astana Summit into practical deliverables to be agreed by OSCE Foreign Ministers later this year in Vilnius.
Herbert Salber, the Director of the OSCE Secretariat's Conflict Prevention Centre, in his address to the participants of the first meeting, suggested concrete initiatives to address conflict prevention. “Acting preventively and responding in a timely manner requires not only political will, but also money, staff and operational support in the field,” he said.
The dialogue aims to promote exchanges on topics related to security and co-operation in the OSCE area, such as conflict prevention and resolution; transnational threats; energy and environmental issues; and security and human rights. It builds on the Corfu Process, an informal OSCE-anchored, wide-ranging strategic dialogue that was launched by OSCE Foreign Ministers in June 2009 during an informal meeting on the Greek island of Corfu.
The Lithuanian OSCE Chairmanship plans to also hold topic-focused expert discussions to contribute to the dialogue among the 56 participating States.
For example, the International Peace Institute (IPI) will organize workshops with civil society and “think tank” representatives on topical issues across all three dimensions of security. Several OSCE participating States, including the Chairmanship, are contributing to this project. The IPI has long been a trusted partner of the United Nations in thinking through how to tackle a challenging and changing security agenda.
According to Ambassador Norkus, "Uniquely positioned and widely respected, the IPI has been asked to assist the Chairmanship by facilitating focused discussions in off-the-record meetings of diplomats, government officials, parliamentarians and experts from the OSCE community. These could greatly contribute to strengthening a trustful atmosphere for unbiased discussion and debate, thus providing a forum for finding common ground among parties engaged in negotiation in an otherwise politicized environment. The Chairmanship views such activity as a valuable support to the informal 'Vienna to Vilnius' security dialogue. We are grateful to those participating States that have provided financial contributions to this project or are considering to do so in the nearest future".