Swedish Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina Johanna Strömquist and Head of the OSCE Mission to BiH, Kathleen Kavalec, presented the OSCE Swedish Chairpersonship 2021 priorities on 21 January in Sarajevo.
“As Chair of the OSCE, Sweden’s primary focus will be to go back to basics, the fundamental tasks of the OSCE: to defend the European security order, to uphold the OSCE comprehensive concept of security and to contribute to resolving conflicts in accordance with international law,” said Strömquist. “The Chair’s approach is based on the OSCE’s joint principles and commitments, the rules and tools created to prevent and solve conflicts and crises to build security for both people and states,” she said.
Strömquist said that the security challenges Europe is currently facing can only be solved and sustained through international co-operation. “The platform the OSCE provides is immensely important in this context.”
“In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sweden’s focus as Chair of the OSCE, with the support of the OSCE Mission to BiH, will be on: trust-building and dialogue; comprehensive security, including the fight against corruption; and media freedom. Upholding human rights, strengthening democracy, promoting the rule of law and advancing gender equality will be embedded in all our work,” said Strömquist.
“Building bridges and establishing trust is essential to create a more inclusive and prosperous society for all in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Strömquist.
“Sweden and the OSCE Mission to BiH will continue to work with local and international actors to build on what has been achieved, and expand trust-building and dialogue between individuals and organizations in BiH,” said Kavalec.
Strömquist highlighted that corruption undermines democracy and our societies, fuels organized crime and systematically threatens sustainable development, democracy and security.
“Sweden and the OSCE Mission to BiH will build on efforts made so far to fight corruption and strengthen good governance in the country.” She said that by enhancing democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law, societies can be made more secure. “Strengthened transparency, accountability and rule of law to prevent and combat corruption will remain priorities in 2021,” said Strömquist.
Talking about media freedom, Strömquist said that the right to freedom of opinion and expression are key elements of the OSCE comprehensive concept of security and will be central priority to Sweden’s Chair. Increasing media literacy, fighting disinformation and protecting journalists will be in focus.
“Together with the Swedish Embassy in BiH, the OSCE Mission to BiH will continue its monitoring of attacks on the media, including the misuse of defamation suits to intimidate reporters,” said Kavalec.
Strömquist and Kavalec emphasized the importance of gender equal societies, where human rights are fully enjoyed by all, with better prospects for sustainable, resilient and prosperous development. Broad participation of civil society representatives in security discussions will remain a joint priority
“The OSCE Mission to BiH, with the support of Sweden, will uphold the OSCE comprehensive concept of security through the inclusion and meaningful participation of women and men, and the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) Agenda. The WPS Agenda will be the focus of the Annual Security Review Day Conference organized by the Mission for 9 February,” concluded Kavalec.
Photo credit: OSCE/Vedran Pribilovic