Conflict Resolution Unit
Background to the CRU
In 2007, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade established a Conflict Resolution Unit (CRU) to enhance Ireland’s engagement in conflict resolution activities internationally. The work of the Unit builds on Ireland’s tradition of UN peacekeeping, our commitment to overseas development aid, our experience of the peace process in Northern Ireland, and our commitment to human rights and the international rule of law. The Unit has focused its activities in the areas of peacemaking, peacebuilding and sharing the lessons of the Northern Ireland peace process.
2012 OSCE Chairmanship
The CRU/OSCE Taskforce is currently engaged with practical and substantive work related to Ireland’s Chairmanship-in-Office of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) for 2012.
Comprising 56 participating States from Europe, Central Asia and North America, the OSCE is the world’s largest intergovernmental regional security organisation, dealing with a range of issues in the areas of democratisation, human rights, arms control and economic and environmental security.
In December 2009, it was agreed by consensus at a meeting of OSCE Foreign Ministers in Athens that Ireland would chair the OSCE in 2012. Ireland has not held the Chair to date (the position has been in existence since 1991).
As Chair-in-Office, Ireland bears overall responsibility for the executive action of the Organisation and the co-ordination of its activities.
The CRU also works in the following areas:
The OSCE has its origins in the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in 1973 in Helsinki which brought together some 35 countries, including Ireland, from both sides of the Cold War divide to discuss confidence and security-building measures and other areas of possible cooperation in economic, environmental and humanitarian areas.
The CSCE concluded two years later with the Helsinki Final Act, a politically-binding agreement, which contained recommendations in three areas (or “Dimensions”), covering, respectively, the political and military, economic and environmental, and human aspects of security.
Today, the OSCE has 56 participating states, including all EU member States, Russia and the US. It maintains a network of 18 missions or field operations in the Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
These missions are supported by a range of institutional bodies, including the Warsaw-based Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, the Vienna-based Representative on Freedom of the Media, and the High Commissioner on National Minorities, based in The Hague. The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, with an international secretariat in Copenhagen, brings together more than 300 parliamentarians from OSCE participating States.
The OSCE Secretariat, based in Vienna, provides operational support to the Organisation and is home to units focusing on conflict prevention, economic and environmental activities, anti-terrorism, policing and anti-trafficking.