The Three Dimensions of OSCE

The OSCE promotes a broad comprehensive approach to security, spanning three dimensions, and participating States also undertake a targeted agenda of Arms Control measures and Confidence-building, as follows: 

I. The First Dimension; the Politico-Military Dimension

This Dimension oversees a number of mechanisms for conflict prevention and crisis management, and for confidence-and-security building measures. The focus is on achieving greater openness, transparency and co-operation between the OSCE participating States, as well as their engagement in activities of arms control, border management, combating terrorism, policing, conflict and military reform – all aimed to promote and enhance regional security. The main OSCE forums active in this Dimension are: the Forum for Security Co-operation (FSC), the OSCE’s Security Committee, and the Annual Security Review Conference (ASRC).

Arms Control and Confidence-building: This is an area where the OSCE has demonstrated tangible successes, especially in the 1990s. For example, its work in reducing weapons stockpiles in Europe and building systems for transparency and trust between the armies of OSCE participating States. Key instruments for this include: the Conventional Forces Europe Treaty (CFE), the Vienna Document 2011, and the Open Skies Treaty.Canada is signatory to all and is one of the two depositories of the Open Skies Treaty, together with Hungary.

II. The Second Dimension; the Economic and Environmental Dimension

This Dimension closely monitors developments in the region’s economic and environmental spheres that may affect the security of participating States. It seeks to develop sound policies of good governance and sustainable development, as well as initiatives to promote environmental co-operation and enhance regional economic and environmental stability. The main OSCE forum active in this Dimension is: The Economic & Environmental Forum supported through the Office of the Co-ordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities.

III. The Third Dimension; the Human Dimension

The Third Dimension; the Human DimensionThis Dimension oversees the implementation by participating States of OSCE principles, commitments and standards in the field of human rights. The focus is on upholding the fundamental OSCE principles and norms with respect to: democracy, the promotion of tolerance and non-discrimination, rule-of-law and the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It addresses a range of such regional challenges including religious freedom, the trafficking in human beings, monitoring and support for elections, gender equality, minority rights, and non-discrimination issues. The three OSCE Institutions involved in this Dimension are: the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (in Warsaw), the High Commissioner on National Minorities (in The Hague), and the Representative on Freedom of the Media (in Vienna).