Ukraine is a full participating State of the OSCE since 30 January 1992.
The OSCE traces its origins back to the detente phase of the early 1970s, when the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) was created to serve as a multilateral forum for dialogue and negotiation between East and West. Meeting over two years in Helsinki and Geneva, the CSCE reached agreement on the Helsinki Final Act, which was signed on 1 August 1975. This document contained a number of key commitments on politico-military, economic and environmental and human rights issues that became central to the so-called "Helsinki process". It also established fundamental principles (the "Decalogue") governing the behaviour of States towards their citizens, as well as towards each other.
The OSCE is a pan-European security body whose 57 participating States span the globe, encompassing three continents - North America, Europe and Asia.
The OSCE is a primary instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and post-conflict rehabilitation. Its approach to security is unique in being both comprehensive and co-operative: comprehensive in that it deals with three dimensions of security - the politico-military, the economic and environmental and the human.
The Organization maintains a regular dialogue and co-operation with partner states and a large number of other international, regional and sub-regional organizations. The Mediterranean and Asian Partners of Co-operation comprise 11 states: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia; and Afghanistan, Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, and Thailand.
Unanimously adopted by the OSCE Ministerial Meeting in November 2010 decision on Ukraine's chairmanship in the OSCE in 2013 was the recognition of the role of our country in strengthening security and stability in the OSCE area.
Among the main priorities of Ukraine in the OSCE are:
strengthening the capacity of the OSCE as a platform for political dialogue and an instrument for early warning, conflict prevention, crisis management and conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction;
restoring respect for the fundamental principles of the Russian Federation under the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and the OSCE commitments as a result of military aggression in Donbass, occupation and annexation of the Crimea and Sevastopol, the condemnation of the abduction and illegal detention of Ukrainian citizens in Russia (N.Savchenko, O.Sentsova and others);
settlement of the so called "frozen conflicts" in Transnistria (Moldova), South Ossetia (Georgia), Nagorno Karabakh (Azerbaijan);
strengthen the capacity of the OSCE in combating transnational challenges and threats to security (the fight against terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime, countering the threats coming from cyberspace);
further development of the energy security dialogue in the OSCE.
Ukraine also pays special attention to the development of cooperation between the participating States in protecting environment, combating human trafficking, promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination, strengthening freedom of speech.
OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine
On 21 March 2014, the Permanent Council of OSCE decided to deploy the Special monitoring mission of unarmed civilian observers to Ukraine. The Mission is being deployed following a request to the OSCE by Ukraine’s government and was agreed by all 57 OSCE’s participating States.
The SMM aim is gather information and report on the security situation, establish and report the facts, especially on specific incidents on the ground, including those concerning alleged violations of fundamental OSCE principles and commitments as well as to monitor and support respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and facilitate the dialogue on the ground in order to reduce tensions and promote normalization of the situation.
On 14 of April, 2014 a Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) on the deployment of the SMM was signed in Vienna in order to create appropriate conditions for the activities of the SMM in Ukraine.
The SMM plays an important role in monitoring the implementation of all relevant provisions of the Minsk agreements which include the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014, the Minsk Memorandum of 19 September 2014 and the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk agreements of 12 February 2015. These Minsk documents establish the agreed commitments in accordance to which the SMM has to ensure effective monitoring and verification of implementation of the Minsk arrangements, in particular those related to the ceasefire, the withdrawal of heavy weapons and border monitoring.
The mandate of the SMM covers the entire territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders, including the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.
OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian Checkpoints Gukovo and Donetsk
On 2 of July, 2014 it was agreed that Russia will provide access to the OSCE international observers to monitor Russian checkpoints "Donetsk" and "Gukovo" in accordance with Joint Declaration of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, France, Germany and the Russian Federation (Berlin Declaration).
On 24 of July 2014, the OSCE decided to deploy an “Observer Mission to the two Russian checkpoints of “Gukovo” and “Donetsk”. There will be one Observer Team working 24/7 at each checkpoint at Gukovo and Donetsk.
Paragraph 4 of the Minsk Protocol of 5 September 2014 envisages the OSCE permanent monitoring on the Ukrainian-Russian State border and verification with the creation of security zone in border areas of Ukraine and the Russian Federation. Full implementation of paragraph 4 of the Minsk protocol is inextricably linked to accomplishing the objectives of establishing a sustainable cease-fire regime and ultimate peaceful resolution of the situation in Donbas.
For more information on the activities of the OSCE Observer Mission at the Russian checkpoints on the Ukrainian-Russian state border please visit Mission webpage. (Link: http://www.osce.org/om)
OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine (PCU)
The former OSCE Mission in Ukraine was established in August 1994. Its main purpose was to underpin the stabilization processes in Crimea. In 1999 the Mission was closed after full implementation of its mandate. This was the first ever case when an OSCE field operation was closed after successful fulfillment of its tasks.
1 June 1999, with the adoption of the mandate of the OSCE Project Co-ordinator in Ukraine, a new form of co-operation between Ukraine and OSCE was created.
The normative basis of the Co-ordinator's activities consists of its mandate, adopted by the Decision of the OSCE Permanent Council and being extended every six months, and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Ukraine and the OSCE signed on 13 July 1999 and ratified by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine on 10 January 2000.
The PCU is tasked with planning, implementation and monitoring of projects involving the OSCE, its institutions and the relevant Ukrainian authorities. These projects, which are approved by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, may cover all aspects of OSCE activities and can involve Ukrainian governmental and non-governmental organizations. At present the Co-ordinator is working on implementation of projects in the following fields:
Democratization and good governance: assisting development of the civil society; enhancing election process in Ukraine; promoting national dialogue in Ukraine; providing support to the Government of Ukraine in improving information and communication policies
Rule of law and human rights: further strengthening the rule of law in Ukraine; strengthen the capacity of government agencies and NGOs in combating human trafficking; ensuring gender equality and combating domestic violence; development of administrative justice; improving the quality of legal education in Ukraine; improving the prevention of torture and ill-treatment in Ukraine; enhancement of human rights protection and rule of law in legislative and judicial practice; supporting the development of police reform in Ukraine; support for the national dialogue for reforms, justice and development.
Economic, environmental and politico-military projects: increasing the efficiency of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine; rehabilitation of areas contaminated by explosive remnants of the past wars; enhancing radiological safety and security in Ukraine; environmental inspection and reclamation of the former storage sites of liquid rocket fuel "mélange"; assistance in the process of social adaptation and reintegration of discharged military personnel; improving standards of digital administrative services in Ukraine; countering terrorism and transnational organized crime; preventing money laundering and terrorism financing; enhancing mechanisms for public awareness raising on environmental issues.
Ukraine also cooperates with OSCE institutions, especially with OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.
Cooperation with the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities carried out in the context of drafting legislation of Ukraine to protect the rights of formerly deported people and language policy and minority issues in bilateral relations of Ukraine with other countries.
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), which, among other things, engaged in election observation in OSCE participating States, monitored the electoral process in Ukraine since 1998.
Ukraine also pays special attention to the development of constructive dialogue with the OSCE Representative on Freedom of Speech, Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental areas towards the development of this component of regional security, as well as with OSCE Special Representative on Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.
The Parliamentary Assembly (PA) of the OSCE - established in April 1991; Plenary meetings are held one time in a year with the support of the International Secretariat of the PA, located in Copenhagen (Denmark).
The Baku Declaration of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly adopted in July 2014 in Baku (Azerbaijan) called for Russia to cancel the annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol and also contains a resolution "Clear, gross and uncorrected violations of Helsinki principles by the Russian Federation" which refers the so-called referendum in the Crimea, held on 16 of March, 2014, to illegitimate and illegal act, whose findings have no legal force. (Link http://www.oscepa.org/meetings/annual-sessions/2014-baku-annual-session)
During the 24th Summer Session of the OSCE PA (5-9 July 2015), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly member states adopted the Helsinki Declaration, which includes, among others, two resolutions in support of Ukraine "Continuation of clear, gross and uncorrected violations of OSCE commitments and international norms by the Russian Federation " and “Abducted and illegally detained Ukrainian citizens in the Russian Federation” (Link http://www.oscepa.org/meetings/annual-sessions/2015-annual-session-helsinki).
Process of Ukraine’s accession to the WTO started on November 30, 1993 by submitting the official application of the Government of Ukraine about its intention to join the GATT. The Protocol on Ukraine’s accession to the WTO was signed on February 5, 2008 in Geneva and ratified by the Verkhovna Rada on April 10, 2008.
On April 16, 2008 the President of Ukraine V.Yushchenko signed a Law on the ratification of a Protocol on Ukraine’s accession to the WTO. According to the WTO procedures Ukraine became a full-fledged member of the Organization on May 16, 2008.
Ukraine’s WTO membership provided necessary conditions and opened new prospects for development of the national economy. As a WTO member Ukraine on absolutely equal conditions with the other member states is directly involved into creation of new world market trade rules within the current round of multilateral trade negotiations for the purpose of the maximum consideration of the national interests in the trade and economic field.
Having acquired the WTO membership Ukraine received the right to use the WTO disputes settlement mechanism that promotes the fair solution of any trade quarrels between the member states concerning observance of provisions of the WTO agreements. Within the specified mechanism a number of important questions were positively resolved, such as discriminatory taxation, licensing of some types of the Ukrainian production etc. Ukraine continues to use the above WTO mechanism in the course of the consistent efforts on promoting export growth and expansion of the Ukrainian goods on other markets.
The Ukraine’s accession to the WTO also creates the necessary conditions for signing the Agreement on free trade with The European Free Trade Association (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein) which came into force since June 1, 2012, as well as became a strong incentive to start negotiations with the European Union on creation of a free trade area. Political part of EU- Ukraine Association Agreement was signed on March 21, 2014. Economic part of this agreement was signed on June 27, 2014.
The Ukrainian Government foreign trade policy is directed toward active participating in multilateral trade negotiations in order to take advantages of Ukraine-WTO membership for the purpose of Ukraine’s export growth and protection of state economic interest on foreign markets.
Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine is the central executive authority that is responsible for cooperation of Ukraine with the WTO. More information on cooperation of Ukraine within the WTO can be found on the website of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine.