La OSCE desempeña un papel relevante en los procesos de democratización. FOTO OSCE
History and Goals
Conceived as a vehicle for a detente between the two enemy blocs in the Cold War, the CSCE later became the OSCE, it aspires to be a decisive organisation in the security policy of the whole of Europe. It also takes on the challenge of boosting and strengthening democratisation, crisis management and respect for human rights in the 57 countries that comprise its membership.

The fall of communism and the violent conflicts that accompanied the breakup of the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia marked the main eras that the organisation has gone through. On 3 July 1973, the foreign affairs ministers of the 35 nations officially inaugurated the CSCE in Helsinki, and, two years later, between 30 July and 1 August 1975, the Final Act of the CSCE was signed by the main leaders of the 35 Member States. The first review meeting of the Conference took place between October 1977 and March 1978 in Belgrade. Between November 1980 and September 1983, work continued in Madrid on its implementation. On 9 September 1983, the final document was signed that emphasised the detente achieved on issues of security, although it indicated the deterioration in the international situation following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Various meetings were subsequently held and it was in December 1994, at the summit in Budapest, where the CSCE ceased to be a conference and became an organisation, which since 1 January 1995 was renamed the OSCE and established its headquarters in Vienna. At that time, the 52 Member States undertook to give the organisation a renewed boost in order to tackle the challenges of the 21st Century. However, the Budapest Summit was a failure due to the differences between Russia and the West as regards the extension of NATO and the war in Bosnia.


Since that time, different ministerial meetings and meetings of Heads of Government have been held, the latest in December 2010 in Astana (Kazakhstan). The OSCE carries on its activities and adopts decision by consensus. The organisation maintains cooperation relations with the United Nations and its related bodies, the European Union, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), NATO and the Council of Europe. Within its framework, the OSCE also includes Partners for Cooperation (Afghanistan, Japan, South Korea and Thailand), and the Mediterranean Partners for Cooperation (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia).


The following are the main OSCE institutions:

The Summit of Heads of State and Government; the Ministerial Council, which gathers together the foreign affairs minister of Member States once a year; the Permanent Council; the Parliamentary Assembly; the Forum for Security Cooperation; and the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), with headquarters in Warsaw. The Presidency of the OSCE operates on a rotating annual basis of its Member States. Since June 2011, the Italian, Lamberto Zannier, has held the post of Secretary General of the OSCE.

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