HE Lamberto Zannier: Increased global polarisation is our greatest challenge

Countries must continue working together despite the difficulties created by the “polarisation of international relations”, said current Organization for Security and Co-Operation in Europe (OSCE) High Commissioner on National Minorities, Lamberto Zannier.

HE Zannier, who was OSCE Secretary General for two consecutive three year terms, between 2011 and 2017, is delivering a talk at the University’s School of Law and Social Justice on April 26.

His talk, entitled Conflict Prevention through Societal Integration, will address some of the key challenges facing countries across the world; from the Euroatlantic to Eurasian space.

Lamberto Zannier said: “The OSCE is a regional organisation but we take an important role in complementing and supplementing the work of the United Nations (UN).

“It also has the added value of being an inclusive organisation that includes everybody, from Norway to Malta and from Washington to Moscow.

“We try to address issues of relevance with a method we call co-operative security, which is a broad approach that aims to create productive collaborations that also pay attention to human rights and transparency.”

The former UN special representative for Kosovo said a strength of the OSCE is its consensus approach that ensures “nobody can be a victim of a decision”, but he says this is becoming more difficult due to “increasing polarisation”.

HE Zannier identifies this “increasing polarisation” as the organisation’s greatest challenge, particularly in relation to Russia and the West.

But he says the OSCE can provide “a space” and “a stepping stone” towards improved relations between the West and Russia, raising the OSCE’s Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine as an example  where this approach has been “most visible”.

Since taking on the role, in July 2017, HE Zannier has placed emphasis on raising its profile and also reaching out to other areas of the world. He travels to Uganda in May, where he will present his work to the African Union. He will also visit New York in autumn, to meet with the UN and other regional organisations carrying out similar activities.

HE Zannier considers his talk at the School of Law and Social Justice to be part of this work, with the aim of further increasing public profile to help the OSCE spread “best practice.”

His first visit to the city will evoke “memories of his youth”, he said, particularly around The Beatles and football, adding that he is also looking forward to visiting the docks “and thinking back to the time when the large ships were coming in.”

Conflict Prevention through Societal Integration: Insights into the work of the High Commissioner on National Minorities takes place in the Lesley Hearnshaw Lecture Theatre, Eleanor Rathbone Building on April 26, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Tickets are free but booking is recommended. Visit https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/law-and-social-justice/events/conflict-prevention-through-societal-integration/ to secure your seat.

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