With 57 participating States in North America, Europe and Asia, the OSCE – the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe – is the world’s largest regional security organization. The OSCE works for stability, security and democracy, through political dialogue based on shared principles and through practical work to build and sustain peace. With its Secretariat in Vienna, a network of 15 field operations, as well as three institutions, the OSCE implements its comprehensive approach to security that encompasses the politico-military, economic and environmental, and human dimensions.
In 2016, the OSCE participating States decided by consensus to renew the OSCE’s mandate with regard to connectivity and trade facilitation. Since then, the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities (OCEEA) in the Secretariat, as well as the field operations have intensified their activities in trade facilitation.
The OCEEA has been supporting through a regional project Belarus, Kazakhstan and Moldova in setting up or strengthening the capacity of National Trade Facilitation Committees (NTFCs) with the aim, inter alia, to comply with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA) and other relevant international standards.
Currently, the OCEEA carries out a regional project to support Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan in maximizing the transit potential of their Dry Ports, Caspian and Black Sea ports, by digitally connecting them, facilitating sustainable trade along the route, and by promoting the utilization of green energy in the port’s operations. Its overarching goal is to boost trade, reduce transportation costs and diversify supply chain from Asia to Europe through comprehensive connectivity approach based on standard harmonization, regional community building and digitalization. In the area of trade facilitation, the aim of the project is to identify main bottlenecks on the trade route from China to Europe through the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea, and to implement measures to overcome them, such as enhanced data exchange between authorities and economic operators, as well as between countries
OSCE field operations are very active with regard to trade facilitation by organizing among others a wide range of capacity building activities and targeted trainings related to the various aspects of trade facilitation, transit transport development, customs and border regulations. For instance, the OSCE Border Management Staff College in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, provides targeted, technical assistance and capacity building to customs, trade and transport officials on risk analysis, non-intrusive inspection methods, trade facilitation and the development of trusted trader programmes.