At a glance
Upon an initiative of the then Swedish OSCE Chairmanship, the first meeting in a tripartite format took place in 1993. The objective was to bring together the OSCE, the Council of Europe and the Geneva-based parts of the United Nations system, including UNOG, UNHCR, UNHCHR and the UN/ECE.
The tripartite meetings have become a recurrent effort to seek greater inter-organizational synergy. They aim to optimize activities in common fields of responsibility through information sharing, exchange of ideas and improved co-ordination. The meetings constitute a forum to bring about a co-ordinated international response to global and regional threats to human security.
At these meetings, participants discuss topical issues of mutual interest, review their co-operation and examine prospects for further developments. Traditionally, participants issue a joint statement at the end of the meetings. The themes addressed have included:
The annual High-level Tripartite Meetings, organized and chaired on a rotating basis, involve the Chairmanships and Secretaries General of the OSCE and the Council of Europe, the Heads of the three OSCE Institutions as well as the Under-Secretary-General, Director-General of the UN Office at Geneva.
In addition, a number of other organizations are regularly invited to participate. Since 1994, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration have also been invited to participate. In 2000 the European Commission was invited for the first time to participate, followed by the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union in 2003. In recent years, the United Nations have not only been represented by the Geneva-based entities but, according to the issues on the agenda, also by other UN departments and programmes (e.g. UNDPA, UNDPKO and UNDP).
Since 1999 it has become customary to hold a target-oriented meeting the day before the high-level tripartite meeting. The summary of the target-oriented meeting is then one of the points on the high-level meeting agenda.
Target-oriented meetings have addressed issues such as:
Target-oriented meetings are held at the level of senior officials and experts (including from field missions) and involve, depending on the agenda, also other international organizations and institutions. Initially, these were called on an ad hoc basis, but in recent years the tripartite target-oriented meetings have become a regular tool for exchanging information on ongoing and planned activities. They aim to facilitate co-ordination and identify possibilities for enhanced co-operation.