Speech: OSCE Co-Ordinator of Economic and Environmental Activities: UK Statement

Delivered by Ambassador Neil Bush at the OSCE Permanent Council on 5 November 2020

Thank you Mr Chairperson.

I would like to thank Ambassador Zugic and his Office for setting out in this report the main accomplishments of recent OCEEA activity. I applaud your Office for its ability in these challenging times – during COVID-19 – to find ways to adapt. The OSCE e-learning platform is a great example of how the OSCE’s best practice knowledge can be easily and freely shared at an otherwise difficult time. It will be important to continue drawing on the positive experiences from alternative ways of working, and to build on the benefits and lessons learned in the longer term.

The UK subscribes to the OSCE’s comprehensive concept of security, and recognises the important role of your Office’s work in securing this, particularly by promoting economic prosperity across the OSCE region.

I congratulate the OCEEA on their new webpage, and the development of the Confluence Platform, which will enable an easier and more user-friendly exchange of information between your Office and delegations. We are looking forward to easily-available and up-to-date information on your Office’s work and project information.

I welcome the account of your Office’s clear, tangible and measurable results and impact. I wholeheartedly agree that stronger dialogue between the Office and the delegations to better and more effectively communicate the success stories of OCEEA projects is of great importance to clearly understand efforts and their impact. We continue to encourage all parts of the OSCE to think about how project outcomes – and not outputs – are quantified. We are awaiting further detail on, for example, how your business guide project will measure impact.

I commend you for your work this year on supporting gender equality in the economic and environmental dimension, and your efforts on gender mainstreaming. We continue to encourage a focus on gender in all programmatic activity. In this exceptional year, it is especially important to address the needs of those in vulnerable situations, We welcome your tailored support, such as the promotion of women’s entrepreneurialism through webinars. We also commend your office on the work on climate security risks, and look forward to reading the results. As we look to COP26 next year, and the call for participating States to announce ambitious nationally determined contributions and commit to long term strategies to get to net zero, this issue has never been more pressing.

Finally, we welcome the Ambassador’s priorities for the OCEEA in 2021, particularly anti-corruption, women’s economic empowerment, and climate change. We look forward to continued discussions on these issues in the months and years to come.

Thank you.