Approaches to Conflict Resolution in the OSCE Area (2013)

By Raimonds Rublovskis

Launched in 2012 at the initiative of the Secretary General Lamberto Zannier, the OSCE Security Days is the forum for dialogue on the current and future role of the OSCE as a security organization. Another Security Days event was dedicated to very important topic of current and new approaches to conflict resolution in the OSCE area. There are still number of mutually hurting frozen conflicts in the OSCE area which remain unresolved. Certainly, OSCE should further focus on conflict prevention, conflict management and conflict resolution issues. Protracted conflicts in Moldova, Georgia and Nagorno-Karabakh have deep negative impact not only to parties involved but also for wider international community and , therefore, these conflicts should remain high on international security agenda.


One has to take into account facts that since the beginning of those conflicts in the 90-ties of the 20th century, new generations have grown witnessing profound negative impact on human development in those areas with increasingly negative influence of organized criminal networks and radical ideological networks. The societies in the areas of frozen and protracted conflicts are vulnerable and exposed to economic hardships, such as unemployment among young generation and this aspect fuels increasingly important role of criminal networks and radical ideologies. One would still argue that OSCE has the capacity to improve its role in conflict areas by using dialogue, mediation, and external guaranties as its tools to be an effective organization. There are several approaches which should be used to enhance the toolbox of OSCE. Firstly, the principle of inclusiveness which means that all possible internal and external parties within the particular conflict area should be included into conflict management/ resolution process. One should concentrate on conflict prevention rather than to conflict resolution and, therefore, inclusiveness plays crucial role from the very beginning of any conflict. If certain groups are not included into conflict prevention/ management and resolution, they could return to violence as their own tool. Secondly, further cooperation of OSCE with NATO and EU in the field of security and conflict prevention and, thirdly, improvement of the dialogue between academic world and practitioners in the field, which will increase intellectual framework of the practitioners and, subsequently, increase their effectiveness via application of the research results on the field.


However, due to the different approaches of the parties involved, conflict resolution and reconciliation within a protracted conflicts means different things for the different people, therefore, it is of key importance for OSCE to put an effort to reframe the conflict in order to have positive trends within the domain of conflict resolution. It means that parties involved should not concentrate to historical background of any particular conflict, but to focus to the future to explore mutually beneficial gains.


One would conclude that global security environment slowly but surely shifts towards multi-polar world, and OSCE has also important role to play within upcoming security environment along UN, NATO, EU and other important international organizations. OSCE is to remain an important actor within conflict prevention/ management and resolution area and Latvia has to pay an attention to those developments in OSCE area within the framework of global security trends in the 21st century. Persistent efforts to achieve resolution of protracted conflicts in Europe should be increased and OSCE is the key actor to ensure it.