Politico-military dimension

International investigators working around the remains of the Malaysia Airlines' aircraft that crashed in eastern Ukraine in summer 2014
Under the observation of a separatist fighter, international investigators get down to work in eastern Ukraine where a Malaysia Airlines aircraft crashed in summer 2014. © OSCE/Evgeniy Maloletka

In the politico-military dimension of security, the OSCE strives to increase military security through greater openness, transparency and cooperation.

The politico-military dimension of security comprises the following areas of activity:

  • arms control
  • defence and police reforms

  • border control

  • combating transnational threats such as terrorism

  • conflict prevention and resolution

  • secure stockpiling and destruction of small arms and light weapons

  • fight against cybercrime

Chairmanship of the Forum for Security Co-operation of the OSCE

Meeting of the OSCE Forum for Security Co-operation
© OSCE

On 1 January 2019, Switzerland will assume the four-month, rotating chairmanship of the Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC) of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). The FSC is the OSCE's negotiating and decision-making body for the organisation's politico-military dimension. Within the FSC, the 57 OSCE participating states engage in security dialogues on ways to increase military security and stability in Europe. In order to facilitate a constructive and where possible innovative exploration of security and defence policies, Switzerland has put forward a range of politico-military items for discussion in the security dialogues. These include small arms and conventional ammunition, private military and security services, confidence- and security-building measures within and outside the OSCE, the democratic control of armed forces, security sector governance and reform, and women's role in security policy. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) are responsible for preparing and fulfilling Switzerland's chairmanship of the FSC.

Switzerland’s engagement

The goal is to create a culture of transparency and predictability, and to build confidence and stability. Switzerland's engagement in the politico-military dimension is based on two OSCE documents: the Vienna Document containing confidence and security-building measures, and the OSCE Code of Conduct on Politico-Military Aspects of Security.

It focuses on managing the stockpiling of small arms and munitions and is also active in measures to combat transnational threats such as terrorism and cybercrime. Switzerland is committed to comprehensive border management and improving international police cooperation.

One of Switzerland’s particular concerns during its OSCE Chairmanship 2014 was to set up a mediation support unit to be better equipped in the event of a crisis or conflict. This involved putting together a mediation support team, training OSCE staff, coaching the Chair's special representatives as mediators and publishing a reference guide. The Swiss Chairmanship not only enhanced capacities in the OSCE secretariat in Vienna but also in field missions on the ground.

Moldovan police sort through and destroy weapons in Chisinau, 2013
The weapons destroyed by the Moldovan police were either confiscated, damaged, unusable or had undergone unauthorised alterations. © OSCE/Igor Schimbator