Borders are the first lines of a country’s defence, and the movement of trade across them is critical to the health of economies across the globe. In 2005, the OSCE committed itself to achieving a balance between the need to maintain security against the cross-border threats and the freedom of movement for persons, goods, services and investments. Co-operation among participating States is key to this border management and security strategy, in particular on international risks such as drug trafficking, terrorism, migration, transport security and organized crime.
Anti-terrorist activities play a central role in the OSCE’s efforts to address transnational threats to security. These efforts are guided by the ‘OSCE Consolidated Framework for the Fight against Terrorism’ which highlights operational principles and identifies the strategic focus of future OSCE counter-terrorism activities. Activities are run to promote the implementation of the international legal framework against terrorism, to strengthen travel document security, to counter violent extremism and radicalization that lead to terrorism, to counter the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes and help protect critical energy infrastructures.
Trafficking in human beings concerns all OSCE participating States, both as a security threat and a human rights issue. Virtually all countries in the region are countries of origin, transit, or destination, or a combination of the above. The OSCE addresses all relevant issues: human rights and rule of law; corruption and crime control; discrimination and inequality; and economic, labour, and migration policies. In 2003, the Organization set up the Office and post of Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings to help participating States develop and implement effective policies.
The OSCE’s comprehensive approach to security is closely tied to the concept of early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation, also named the “conflict cycle.” The Organization’s main methods to address this cycle include its network of field operations and the Conflict Prevention Centre. Created in 1990 to help reduce the risk of conflict, the Centre now provides policy advice, support, and analysis to the Secretary General, Chairmanship, participating States, and field operations. It acts as an OSCE-wide early warning focal point, facilitates negotiation, mediation, and other conflict prevention and resolution efforts, and supports regional co-operation initiatives. It also assists the Forum for Security Co-operation, an autonomous OSCE decision-making body dealing with military security; and supports the Organization’s programme and project management work.
Economic and environmental considerations represent an important element of the OSCE’s approach to security. To tackle challenges in this area, the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities and his Office co-operate on the ground with field officers; organize an annual Economic and Environmental Forum; and hold a yearly Implementation Meeting to assess progress and identify future priorities. The Office works closely with the Organization's Chairmanship and under the guidance of the Economic and Environmental Committee, a body of representatives of the OSCE's participating States. Dr. Halil Yurdakul Yigitgüden, formerly Under-Secretary of the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and an expert on energy, water and mining policy, has served as Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities since February 2013. The activities in this area stretch from anti-money laundering, transport security, migration, developing more efficient border and customs policies, water management, controlling dangerous waste through to climate change, sustainable energy and involving the public in decisions affecting the environment. With other international partners, the OSCE is also an active member of the Environment and Security Initiative.
The OSCE recognizes that equal rights and opportunities for women and men are fundamental to achieving comprehensive security, and has committed to ensuring that a gender perspective is integrated into all its activities. To do this effectively, the Secretariat’s Gender Section gives support to all OSCE structures, field operations and participating States.
In accordance with the OSCE's mission to build bridges between countries and peoples, and to find ways to replace confrontation with dialogue, the migration phenomenon is increasingly at the centre of the organization's action.
The Organization has worked with police forces across its region for many years. It maintains a network of police advisers in several of its field operations and provides assessments, expert advice, and assistance to participating States to help them develop accountable policing services that protect and aid their citizens.