There needs to be more practical co-operation between international organisations: Let’s start with the EU, OSCE and OIC.

Idea submitted by BIN member who wanted to remain anonymous

There are plenty of international organisations trying to manage world affairs. Not all are fit for purpose, and some are in dire need of an overhaul. Often there is much disagreement on how such reform can take place. But one thing is certain, there needs to be more co-operation and co-ordination between different organisations to tackle global challenges. Instead of re-enforcing divisions international organisations should become platforms for outward reach – helping to build bridges instead of re-enforcing walls.

I like the idea that the membership of BIN is open to those coming from European Union, (EU), Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and Organisation for Islamic Co-operation (OIC) member states. This is a big chunk of the world, and between them these three organisations represent about 100 countries mainly in the northern hemisphere.

Whilst there is a reasonable amount of co-operation between the EU and the OSCE, and some nominal co-operation between the EU and the OIC, there is hardly any between the OSCE and the OIC. Yet they deal with a lot of common issues including radicalisation, the terrorist threat, and broader issues related to human security.

I would like to see as soon as possible a trilateral meeting between the leadership of these three organisations. It will be very difficult for the three organisations to meet with an open-ended agenda. A preparatory process should therefore entail identifying one or two issues on which there is genuine common concern, and an agreement to focus on these issues first – even if necessary agreeing on a time-period of say five years, during which no new matter may be raised. Ofcourse crafty diplomats will always find a way of introducing new elements to a discussion, but if there is a minimum level of goodwill this can be avoided. One can start with annual meetings involving the Chairmanship and the Secretariat of the three organisations. What should be avoided are bombastic summits with heads of state – expensive jamborees that add little value, since most things are agreed by diplomats in advance anyway.

Some may argue that the EU, OSCE and OIC are too asymetrical in the way they are organised and the scope of their work for them to have common ground, yet they do have many common agendas which they can tackle much better if they appraoch them together.

In the meantime however space for people to people contacts needs to be created and this will help generate the right conditions for the meetings at state level, as well as contribute an intellectual space for discussions.

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