Back in business. The OSCE and conflicts in Europe's neighborhood

Christian Nünlist

March 2016; 4 pages

Global Governance Spotlight 1|2016 (pdf)

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has awoken from its 15-year slumber. The Ukraine crisis, in which the OSCE has played an important conflict management role between Russia and the West since 2014, has done much to restore the OSCE’s raison d’être: as in the Helsinki process during the Cold War, the OSCE is once again an urgently needed dialogue forum for negotiating a modus vivendi for peaceful coexistence in Europe among its 57 participating states,
despite their diverse values, interests and historical experiences.

In January 2016, the OSCE Chairmanship passed to Germany – by far the most powerful country to lead the OSCE since its evolution from the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE). Expectations of Berlin are high. However, the German government will not be able to resolve the fundamental geostrategic conflict between Russia and the West in just one year. Nonetheless, with a pragmatic policy of small steps, Berlin can potentially rebuild lost trust and facilitate constructive dialogue in the OSCE. But dialogue does not mean consensus. Germany should assert, with self-confidence, the universality of the OSCE principles, which were negotiated and codified by East and West between 1972 and 2010. These principles are non-negotiable, even though they have been deliberately breached by Russia.

Particularly after the contentious NATO-led intervention in Libya in 2011, established and emerging powers are pit against each other in the debate regarding intervention for the protection of individuals’ human rights. While established powers prioritize intervention and see military force as a useful tool, emerging and postcolonial states see non-intervention as a crucial guarantee of their autonomy, and favour non-military means of assistance. In the current Global Governance Spotlight Prof Dr Kai Michael Kenkel argues why the support of both, states from the Global North and South, is necessary to re-establish the legitimacy and effectiveness of the “responsibility to protect” (R2P) and gives recommendations how the debate might be invigorated.


Strengthening Social Security in Africa


Numerous African countries have adopted measures to improve social protection in recent years. And a large number of relevant initiatives have been established at both regional and continental level. How successful are they and what are the challenges associated? What has to happen for initiatives to be effective on a broader scale? And what kind of support can the international community provide? We will discuss these questions with experts from politics, academia, business and civil society during this year’s Potsdam Spring Dialogues on 19/20 April 2018. Register now!

:further info here

Current challenges for democracies


In February 2018, the first Dresden Forum for International Politics took place. The new series is co-organised by the sef:, the Free State of Saxony, Engagement Global gGmbh and Foundation Frauenkirche Dresden. Around 80 experts from different world regions discussed current challenges for democracy. They focused on how to create and sustain peaceful societies in democracies. Read the conference report and further coverage online now!

:further info here



The Development and Peace Foundation (sef:) and the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) are launching a new publications series: GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS. The new series aims to identify options for international policy action in an ever more complex world. Furthermore, it presents perspectives from different world regions. The series analyses current developments and challenges against the background of long-term political trends, and it illustrates facts with figures and tables. GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS is issued by a team of co-editors from different world regions. For more information, see our press release.

:further info here

Cooperation in a Post-Western World


The Western liberal order finds itself in deep crisis. Global power shifts are accelerating. What does this mean for the future of global cooperation? How can the wish for more national autonomy be reconciled with the need to cooperate in a globalised world? Can new forms of governance contribute to sustaining global cooperation? Michèle Roth and Cornelia Ulbert discuss these questions in the first issue of the new publication series GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS.

:further info here

How to overcome the impasse in UN Security Council reform


The urgently needed UN Security Council reform has been stuck for decades. Without a far-reaching structural change that includes the end of permanent seats and the veto, the Council is fading into irrelevance. But at a time of great power transitions, multipolarity without sufficient multilateralism is a dangerous trend. Therefore, in GLOBAL TRENDS. ANALYSIS 02|2018, Jakkie Cilliers calls for a political and intellectual leap to overcome the impasse in UN Security Council reform.

:further info here