Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 February 2019
The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) pursues a concept of co-operative security which encompasses commitments by participating States in the areas of military security, political co-operation, human rights, economy, culture and the environment. Its priorities are to consolidate common values and build civil societies, prevent local conflicts, restore stability and bring peace to war-torn areas, overcome real and perceived security deficits and avoid the creation of new divisions by promoting a co-operative system of security. The OSCE is the primary instrument for early warning, conflict management and crisis management in the OSCE region, i.e. Europe, Central Asia and North America. Its basic feature is the strict equality of all 55 participating States, which is well reflected in its decision-making process. With a few exceptions, decision-making at meetings within the framework of the OSCE is only possible by consensus, which is considered to be achieved if no State has expressed an objection. States are, however, allowed to make reservations or interpretative statements.