Operational Structures and Institutions

OSCE Chairman-in-Office (Chairman in Office) rotates annually. In 2011 the Organisation is chaired by Lithuania and the Chairman-in-office is its Foreign Minister Audronius Ažubalis. Chairman-in-office is in charge of co-ordination of all activities of the OSCE. He represents it and oversees its activities in conflict-prevention, crisis-management and post-conflict rehabilitation.

Since the Chairmanship-in-office rotates annually, the Chairman-in-office is assisted by the preceding and succeeding Chairmen-in-office, in the Troika format  (Troika).The idea is to maintain continuity in the work of the Organisation. The other two Troika members are the previous Chairman-in-office – the Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan and the next Chairman-in-office – the Foreign Minister of Ireland.

Besides Troika, one of the operational structures of OSCE is also the Secretariat (Secretariat), which under the direction of the Secretary General (Secretary General) provides operational support to the Organization. The seat of the Secretariat is in Vienna, and it is reinforced by the assistance of the Prague office. The Secretary-General is elected by the Council of Ministers for the period of three years, and from 21st June 2005 this office is held, at the French proposal, by Marc Perrin de Brichambaut. The Secretariat comprises the following departments: Office of the Secretary-General, Department for Management and Finance, Human Resource Department, the Prague Office, Training Centre, Counter-Terrorism Unit, Conflict Prevention Centre, Office of the Co-ordinator of the for Economic and Environmental Activities, International Cooperation Department and Strategic Police Matters Unit.

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly (PA) (OSCE Parliamentary Assembly) is an institution of 320 members whose primary task is to facilitate inter-parliamentary dialogue as an important aspect of overall efforts to successfully tackle challenges to democracy in the region. The Assembly is an autonomous organ of the OSCE which is not bound by the rule of consensus, but instead reaches its decisions by a majority vote. At every annual session the Parliamentary Assembly elects its President, and the current one is Petros Efthymiou (Greece).

Since that the Assembly's main tasks are the promotion of parliamentary participation in the OSCE activities and the facilitation of inter-parliamentary dialogue and cooperation the Parliament, in pursuing its tasks, uses various mechanisms: 1. Declarations, Resolutions and Recommendations adopted at Annual Sessions; 2. Committees that discuss important international matters; 3. Various programmes including a comprehensive election oversight programme, various seminars on democracy development and strengthening; 4. Sending delegations to special missions in crisis and potential crisis areas.

Montenegro is entitled to three representatives in the Parliamentary Assembly. The Head of Delegation is the Speaker of the Parliament Ranko Krivokapić.

High-Level Planning Group (High-Level Planning Group) is an organ established pursuant to decisions of the 1994 Budapest Heads of State and Government Summit and its tasks are to make recommendations for creating and functioning of the multi-national peace forces of the OSCE, determine their scope and characteristics, logistics, command and oversight, engagements in third countries, etc.

In order to facilitate implementation by member-states of OSCE commitments and principles, the Organisation has established three relatively autonomous institutions dealing with specific issues: Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), High Commissioner on National Minorities, and OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media.

ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) was established in 1990 as Office of Free Elections, later becoming Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights. According to the 1992 Helsinki Act, ODIHR has the mandate to assist OSCE member-states to "ensure full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, to abide by the rule of law, to promote principles of democracy and ... to build, strengthen and protect democratic institutions, as well as promote tolerance throughout society." The seat of the Office is in Warsaw and its Director as of July 2008 is the Ambassador of Slovenia, Janez Lenarčić.

Another institution established in 1992 is the High Commissioner on National Minorities (High Commissioner on National Minorities) whose task is to identify and offer solutions for removing ethnic tensions that might threaten peace, stability and friendly relations among OSCE member-states. Ambassador Knut Vollebӕk (Norway) was appointed High Commissioner on 4th July 2007 for a period of three years.

In December 1997, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media (OSCE Representative on Freedom of Media), office was established, with seat in Vienna. His task is to observe matters related to media in all 56 OSCE member-states. He responds to all violations of freedom of speech and promotes harmonisation with OSCE standards in this area. Dunja Mijatović (Bosnia and Herzegovina) was appointed Representative on 11th March 2010.

The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings is Maria Grazia Giammarinaro (Italy).