The United Nations Forum for Peace and Co-operation continues to be successful, as well as its link with the Centro Riojano in Madrid, despite the multitude of contemporary diplomatic events in Madrid: on the occasion of United Nations Day, 24 October, a conference on the OSCE was organised on 23 October at the aforementioned Centre. The event focused on the intervention of H.E. Mrs. María Victoria Scola Pliego, OSCE-MAEC advisor, accompanied on this imaginary trip to Vienna by Arturo Pérez Martínez, Ambassador of Spain, and Joaquín Antuña, President and founder of Peace and Co-operation.
In the Lounge of the Language, the Vice-President of the Centre got the attention of the attendees to begin the event with the words of Ambassador Pérez Martínez: he immediately convinced us that Mrs. Scola is one of the top experts on the OSCE in Spain with a quick summary of her life. Part of the diplomatic opposition of 1987, she not only worked for Spanish missions, but also for the Council of Europe and the OSCE itself, a tract in which the two ambassadors find a point of connection in their careers.
A letter from the OSCE General Secretariat to Peace and Co-operation was also read during the morning of the conference: with it, Secretary Thomas Greminger congratulates Peace and Co-operation for the 2020 school campaign, focused on the theme of youth and security, in cooperation with OSCE for youth, which this project liked to the point of sharing with the NGO.
Joaquín Antuña explained the different categories of the competition: there are four, depending on the age of the participants, and in each one the students have to express their ideas with drawings on different themes, such as the Objectives of Sustainable Development or the Rights of the children. There is still plenty of time – until 1 July 2020 – but already many schools contacted the Foundation: this is exactly the action that the OSCE declares it needs, to connect with the world’s youth to spread its ideals.
In the end, Maria Victoria Scola Pliego took the floor: she defined as the objective of the OSCE coincides with that of the campaign. The OSCE is not part of the United Nations system, despite the day it is today, because of its multilateralism and its definition of regional security organization, then that follows what is contained in Chapter 8 of the Charter of the United Nations. This woman’s passion for this institution is evident when she speaks of all the tasks that the OSCE fulfils – based on its vocation to resolve conflicts – while most people do not know it exists.
Three is a magic number: for this reason the presence of three factors that determine the uniqueness and importance of the OSCE can be considered positively. First, its origin: it was founded in a difficult time, with the support of Spain among the founding members. Second, its composition: it is the largest regional organisation in the world, “from V to V”, i.e. from Vancouver to Vladivostok, and it allows a forum for dialogue and political commitment based on a continuous consensus among all these actors. Third, but not last, the OSCE operates using the integral concept of security, not only in the political-military but also in the economic-environmental and human spheres. The OSCE is a promoter and guarantor of commitments in all areas of interest in relations between states: its solutions follow peaceful, political and legal principles.
Before concluding and leaving room for questions, the ambassador used a few minutes to highlight Spain’s relationship and level of commitment to the OSCE: as has already been said, it was among the founding members and since then it has always devoted itself to constructive actions. It is the seventh contributing country and won the presidency in 2007: thanks to this role, it began to draw attention to avant-garde issues at the time, such as the environment and the gender issue, and engaged in the election observation mission.
This interesting presentation ended with questions from all over the world and on all situations of conflict or insecurity, demonstrating the attendance of an interested and motivated audience, who had chosen this event from the wide variety of possibilities offered by the Madrid diplomatic landscape, and who were surely convinced that they had done well.
At the end of the ceremony, Joaquin Antuña handed Pilar Barroso the OSCE campaign to the Caude de Majadahonda School in representation of the Madrid schoolchildren.
The next forums will be on Costa Rica on November 22nd and Turkey on November 27th.
The Centro Riojano where tasting and thinking is the most important agora in Madrid in international matters at the present time, so the presentation on the OSCE has had an excellent framework and the campaign has started in Madrid in great style.