Kiev, Ukraine

5 December 2013

Secretary-General's message to 20th Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [delivered by Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs]

I am delighted to convey my greetings to the Ministerial Council of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

I thank the Government and people of Ukraine for hosting this important meeting and for their contributions to advancing the OSCE and European agendas.

Like the "United Nations", your name does not only hold great promise, it is also a firm commitment to cooperation and security. It is an affirmation that there is no security without cooperation and that cooperation remains elusive without security and trust.

Both the OSCE and the UN are convinced that security has to put people at the centre of our efforts - only where people are safe and secure can nations and regions coexist peacefully.

In its history, the OSCE has demonstrated that putting people first means listening to their needs and aspirations. 

As enshrined in your three security dimensions, the politico-military, the economic and environmental, and the human dimension all need to be respected to allow for human dignity and prosperity. Again, the UN and the OSCE share this conviction and approach.

Your contributions to security, development and human rights in the region are indispensable to prevent conflict, enhance democratic governance, accelerate disarmament and economic development, ensure women’s empowerment and counter transnational threats.

With the key challenges of our time transcending borders and regions, it is more critical than ever that security and cooperation be pursued at a global scale. The international community needs to work together more often and more effectively. That is why I attach such high priority to strengthening UN cooperation with regional partners, building on our respective roles, responsibilities and strengths.

Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations recognizes the importance of regional arrangements and encourages regional efforts in advancing international peace and security. Regional and sub-regional organizations have first-hand knowledge of disputes in their area, as well as strong networks with local actors that are critical for preventive diplomacy. The United Nations, for its part, has access to the widest membership and longstanding experience and operational capacity in the area of international peace and security.

The UN and OSCE already cooperate intensively, from Central Asia to the South Caucasus and South-Eastern Europe.  The OSCE provides invaluable support to the implementation of Security Council resolutions, for instance on disarmament and on women, peace and security.

For Afghanistan, 2014 will be a critical year, with major developments on the country’s political, security and economic transition processes. Afghanistan needs assurances of continued long-term support from its international partners. I reiterate the commitment of the United Nations and call on the OSCE and its Member States to continue to find ways to support the country and its people.

The OSCE is a vital partner for the United Nations. I look forward to our continued cooperation, from immediate crises to longer-term issues such as combating climate change, eradicating poverty and shaping an ambitious sustainable development agenda for the post-2015 period. I will count on the OSCE and its members to engage fully in these important efforts, especially in the crucial two years ahead.

In that spirit of partnership, let us learn from one another and strive together for greater peace and security for all.