česky  english 

Advanced search

Decision-making Bodies

OSCE has several bodies that deal with issues of common interest of participating States and adopt decisions that are politically binding. The decisions are always adopted by consensus. This principle reflects the cooperative approach of the Organization towards security and also the fact that all participating States have equal footing.

​  Flags of the OSCE participating States (OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev) ​

Flags of the OSCE participating States (© OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev)

Summits are periodic meetings of Heads of States and/or Governments of the Participating States. They adopt decisions at the highest political level, set the principles and provide the Organization with the basic direction of its work. Since its foundation in 1975 (then called Conference for Security and Cooperation in Europe - CSCE), 7 summits (both CSCE and OSCE) have taken place so far (Helsinki 1975, Paris 1990, Helsinki 1992, Budapest 1994, Lisbon 1996, Istanbul 1999, Astana 2010).

Ministerial Council (MC) is the second highest OSCE decision-making body where the participating States are represented by their Foreign Ministers. MC meets once a year, as a rule at the end of the calendar year (corresponds to the end of the OSCE presidency). In the year when a summit takes place there is usually no MC meeting. MC discusses relevant issues of OSCE concern, reviews and assesses its activities and adopts necessary decisions.

Senior Council (SC) was created as a body for preparation, implementation and as a decision-making body where the Political Directors from Ministries of Foreign Affairs would meet for preparatory work and implementation of MC decisions. Since 1997, steadily growing part of its tasks was being step by step transferred onto the Permanent Council (see below). This led to its final abolition in 2006. At present, the Political Directors meet if necessary e.g. in the framework of the Reinforced Permanent Council.

Permanent Council (PC) is a regular political consultation and decision-making body discussing all issues of OSCE interest. It is responsible for everyday OSCE agenda. Its members are Permanent Representatives of Participating States (diplomats of ambassadorial rank). It meets regularly once a week or more frequently when needed in the Congress Center of the Hofburg Palace in Vienna.

Forum for Security Cooperation (FSC) is a consultative and decision-making body where the Participating States are represented by their Permanent Representatives. FSC focuses mainly on negotiations on armament control and confidence building, military and security cooperation between participating States and implementation of agreed steps. It meets once a week in the Hofburg.

OSCE regularly publishes documents adopted by different OSCE decision-making bodies.