The 2001 OSCE Bucharest Plan of Action for Combating Terrorism referred to the need to broaden dialogue with regional organizations beyond the OSCE area, such as the Shanghai Co-operation Organization, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the Arab League and the African Union.
The 2003 Maastricht Strategy further called to continue developing contacts with organizations in other regions, and to consider ways in which OSCE norms, principles, commitments and values could be shared with other regions, in particular neighbouring areas.
In line with these decisions, Topics explored with regional organizations have included exchange of best practices and lessons learned on:
- Counter-terrorism efforts
- Mechanisms and institutions of conflict prevention and early warning
- Support of democratic elections
- Dialogue of civilizations, cultures and religions
- Small arms and light weapons
- Field activities and deployment of field missions
Framework for co-operation
Relations are maintained through mutual invitations to meetings and special events, as well as within the framework of the United Nations' dialogue with regional organizations:
- The OSCE regularly invites regional organizations to OSCE events, such as Ministerial Council meetings, as well as to relevant conferences and workshops. Similarly, regional organizations frequently invite the OSCE to participate in summits and other major events.
- Several regional organizations have visited the OSCE to learn more about the work of the Organization, among them the African Union (2002), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (2002 and 2003) and the League of Arab States (2003).
- In addition to bilateral contacts, relations between the OSCE and regional organizations outside the OSCE area have been developing within the framework for co-operation between the UN and regional organizations. Since 1994, high-level meetings between the UN and regional organizations have been held regularly, and in 2005 it was decided to further strengthen this forum for co-operation. Since 2003, the UN Security Council has met annually with regional organizations on thematic issues related to peace and security.
- OSCE participating States or Partners for Co-operation often serve as facilitators of co-operation and as channels of communication between the OSCE and other regional organizations of which they are also members.