RIGA, 18 June 2012 - A regional seminar for high-ranking officials from the Baltic Sea area on the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security started in Riga today.
The Code of Conduct is a landmark document in security sector reform and governance, adopted in 1994. It governs the role of armed forces in democratic societies. Through the Code, OSCE participating States commit themselves to the democratic control of their armed forces and to other important principles of inter-state behavior.
The three-day seminar is organized by the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre, in co-operation with Latvia as current Chair of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation, and co-funded by Germany and Switzerland.
Latvian Defence Minister Artis Pabriks said in his opening address: ”This seminar provides a unique opportunity to discuss important issues with a specific, regional focus, and share national and regional experiences made in the implementation of the Code of Conduct. I hope this seminar will evoke constructive discussions and generate new ideas.”
The seminar brings together some 45 high-ranking officials from the armed forces, foreign ministries, representatives of parliaments and academia from nine States of the Baltic Sea region who will discuss the parliamentary oversight and control of armed forces, security sector reform, issues related to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, the respect for international humanitarian and human rights law, as well as the rights of armed forces personnel.
“The Baltic Sea region, which experienced various military conflicts in the past, but now became one of the most stable and peaceful in the world, is well-placed to host such an event. We all have something to learn from each other. I believe that Latvia’s experience, for example, in reforming armed forces in times of economic crises and its successful co-operation with neighboring countries, could prove useful to other OSCE States," Pabriks said.
The results of the seminar will feed into discussions of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation and into the first annual implementation discussion of the Code of Conduct to be held on 11 July 2012 in Vienna.
This is the fifth regional seminar of its kind; previous regional seminars were held in Kazakhstan (2008), Bosnia and Herzegovina (2009), Belarus (2010) and Ukraine (2011).
For further information, please contact Fabian Grass from the OSCE Conflict Prevention Centre (email: email@example.com).