Participants in an OSCE Chairmanship-organized workshop held in Vienna on 30 May discussed the potential of economic and environmental activities to effectively build confidence and trust.
Speakers highlighted the fact that economic and environmental activities can contribute to building confidence and trust between different parties and States, reduce or eliminate possible causes of tension, and play an important role in maintaining and strengthening national and regional security and stability.
The event brought together practitioners, experts, representatives of international and non-governmental organizations, who shared best practices and discussed plans and projects.
Ambassador Renatas Norkus of Lithuania, Chairperson of the OSCE Permanent Council, highlighted the cross-dimensional nature of OSCE efforts: “Economic and environmental activities and projects designed to build confidence go hand in hand with efforts directed at early warning and prevention of conflicts, mediation and reconciliation across other directions of the OSCE’s work, notably politico-military and human dimensions”.
“One example of the confidence-building potential of economic and environmental activities are projects on river basin co-operation in Central Asia, Eastern Europe, South-Eastern Europe and the South Caucasus, which have promoted constructive dialogue and good neighbourly relations between stakeholders in different countries,” Norkus added.
The OSCE Co-ordinator for Economic and Environmental Activities Goran Svilanović reflected on the examples of good practice in confidence-building in the OSCE’s Economic and Environmental Activities presented by OSCE and international experts in fields such as, fire management in the South Caucasus, as well as water co-operation and the strengthening of civil society. “We will produce a comprehensive report identifying concrete project ideas that would be implemented in co-ordination with economic and environmental officers from all OSCE field operations and our partners in the Environment and Security (ENVSEC) initiative,” he said.