Statement by Ambassador Tacan İldem, Permanent Representative of Turkey, in Response to the Secretary General’s Presentation of The 2016 Programme Outline, 1050th Permanent Council

Tacan İldem 07.05.2015
Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

We thank the Secretary General for his presentation of the 2016 Programme Outline. We also thank all the fund managers and their staff for the valuable input they furnished bringing this important document together.

The Programme Outline document which constitutes an important part of the annual budget cycle, indicates a determination of continuity in pursuit of the activities carried out in the recent years.

We continue to observe that a conservative approach has been adopted in view of financial conditions prevailing in the OSCE geography. The discrepancy between the resources allocated to the OSCE and our willingness to have an effective organization remains a sad reality also reflected in this year’s Programme Outline. This dilemma requires a solution and the earlier the better. Otherwise, we risk exposing the OSCE to significant inadequacies that are likely to become structural over time.

Reaching a consensus on the OSCE’s priorities and, therefore, its budget is always a strenuous exercise. To alleviate the stress generated in this exercise on the one hand, and to ensure greater continuity on the other hand, we deem it useful to work on a methodology envisaging a multi-year budgetary perspective. Such an approach would also help our Organization project a strategic vision. The fact that Chairmanships until the end of 2017 are already known provides us with an additional possibility to reflect upon and make projections for the upcoming two years and, perhaps, even beyond.

We will be presenting our views on the particulars of the Programme Outline during the deliberations in the weeks ahead of us. Here, I will confine myself to expressing our views on some important points.

Since the end of 2013, our work has been dominated by the crisis in and around Ukraine. The Special Monitoring Mission has assumed a pivotal role within the context of the OSCE’s ongoing engagement in that country. Turkey strongly supports the Mission and its activities. We believe that the decision we adopted last December to revise SMM’s financing modalities was a significant step forward in more firmly grounding the Mission’s funding within the Unified Budget and lessening its dependency on extra-budgetary contributions. At the same time, the dramatic increase in the SMM’s funding requirements provided us with yet another incontrovertible indicator of the unsustainability of zero nominal growth policies. We need to be realistic. As illustrated once more by the Ukraine crisis, unexpected developments can arise and rapidly assume alarming proportions. The OSCE’s budget must be allowed to grow accordingly if our Organization is to have a chance to successfully address them.

We support the work done by the Secretariat and the TNT Department to enhance coordination of the programmatic activities to counter transnational threats. We welcome the attention given to the implementation of Confidence Building Measures and the elaboration of additional CBMs in the area of cyber security. We are also pleased to observe that some field missions have increased their focus on countering violent extremism and the Foreign Terrorist Fighter phenomenon.

In our view, the potential of the economic and environmental dimension, which cuts across all three dimensions of the OSCE, has not yet been fully utilized. Therefore we support the allocation of additional resources to enable the Office of the Coordinator of Economic and Environmental Activities to realize its true potential. We appreciate the focus some field missions attribute to this dimension, as many challenges to security have significant economic and environmental aspects. On the other hand, we also need to make sure we do not duplicate the work of other international organizations and to ensure complementarity in our work. This attitude, which also serves the purpose of more efficient usage of resources, applies particularly to such issues as water governance and climate change.

We are pleased to note an ever increasing trend in gender mainstreaming within OSCE executive structures and field missions. We are also ready to favorably consider proposals for allocating funds to the Secretariat’s activities in the field of women, peace and security.

One of the most formidable transnational threats we face today revolves around terrorism and violent extremism. We have done important work in discussing their root causes. In light also of the discussions we have had on these matters, we encourage ODIHR to enhance its activities related to promoting tolerance and non-discrimination.

Last but not the least, parallel to the emerging challenges to the security environment the complexity of tasks assigned to the executive structures of OSCE are continuously increasing. We therefore have to find additional means to provide Organization with adequate financial and human resources. On the other hand, we also support ideas and ways to ensure an even better utilization of existing resources. We remain open to discuss proposals in this direction.

Thank you.