The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) is one of the largest regional security organisations in the world with 57 participating States spanning the geographical region from Vancouver to Vladivostok.

The OSCE's strength lies in its wide concept of security: the organization emphasizes not only politico-military security but also the critical significance that human rights and democracy and economic and environmental issues have on security. The activities of the OSCE are based on the Helsinki Final Act, signed in 1975.

Finland has been known for its support of the OSCE since the creation of the organization. According to Finland, the organization can effectively promote European security and stability, respecting the jointly agreed commitments and principles.

In the recent years, Finland has played a prominent role in the promotion of mediation and the improvement of women's position.

In addition, Finland is active in matters related to arms control and supports the OSCE's strong role in the efforts to resolve the Ukraine conflict.

Finland is a notable provider of project funding to the OSCE. The most central themes in recent years' project cooperation have been, among other things, support of civil society and democracy development and the promotion of minorities' and women's position.

Geographically, the focal areas have been the poorest countries in Central Asia (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan) and in East Europe (Ukraine in particular).

Finland is one of the biggest voluntary contributors to the OSCE's most important human rights instrument, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR).

Finland seconds staff to OSCE field operations and positions in its Secretariat in Vienna and, annually, sends 25 to 40 election observers to the OSCE election observation missions.