Krieg, Wirtschaft, Umwelt: meine Rede auf der parl. Versammlung der OSZE (Winter Meeting)
23. Februar 2023

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, 2nd Committee on Feb. 23rd, 2023, in Hofburg Vienna

Speech by Rapporteur Gudrun Kugler 

A few weeks ago I talked to people from Russia. We wondered where we wanted to be in 2050 and we quickly agreed: We wish for common prosperity for all of us.

Instead, today, we meet in times of war in the OSCE region which is a time of crisis for all of us.

This war is a crisis for each and every woman, man, child in Ukraine. Each one innocently suffering in a unique way. Lives destroyed, biographies interrupted, children traumatized. Harm done for generations. Imagine your own children affected in such a way.

This war is also a crisis for each Russian who would rather be with his family and following his profession – than dying on a battle field.

This war is a crisis for all people and countries in the OSCE region – suffering from fear, inflation, insecurities and less cooperation, inflation and who knows what else is to come.

This war is a crisis for the OSCE and it is a crisis for the second committee because war is detrimental to economy, environment and cooperation in the fields of technology and science.

The economy of the OSCE region could thrive: The natural reserves, our industrial capacities and our technological level could make us so prosperous and a blessing for the entire world. Instead, we squander this potential!

The environment in the OSCE region should be protected, instead, for generations lands and rivers will be poisoned through war waging.

The great Austrian Emporess Maria Theresia who reigned here in this castle, once said: “Lieber ein mittelmäßiger Frieden als ein glorreicher Krieg.“ – Better a mediocre peace than a glorious war.

In the newly restored Austrian parliament, the glamourous entrance hall, is in its entirety lined with a huge wall painting paying tribute to the “Blessings of Peace” – you will see it tonight!

  • On the left you see the blessings of peace with regard to the economy in various depictions: Economy and people being creative, doing business, thriving in various forms, because peace allows them to thrive. This is common prosperity!
  • On the right side of the wall painting, you see the “Blessings of peace with regard to the arts” – Beauty and arts which thrive because there is peace. Maria Theresia invited Mozart to perform in this castle here, when he was still a child.

As the rapporteur for the second committee, I am working intensely on my report and a draft resolution.

I see my role as a moderator:

  • working with all special representatives and co-ordinators of OSCE and of OSCE PA in related topics.
  • I am eager to include your suggestions and will be an active listener today.

Parliamentarians are drivers in the seat for change!

In my report, I focus on how the key issues of this committee as they relate to our work as parliamentarians. I try to assess and conclude what this could mean for our parliamentary work and what each one of us could do to contribute to finding solutions.

In my report for the Second Commitee I will – amongst others – focus on the following principles:

My principles in the field of the Economy:

Security and cooperation need stable, resilient and sustainable economies.

  • Achieving peace and preparing reconstruction
  • Securing the economic competitiveness of the OSCE region
  • Combatting inflation
  • Energy is the basis for economic growth and prosperity. It needs to be affordable.
  • Food security is a key issue.
  • Demographic implosion is a destabilizing factor for economies in OSCE participating states. It requires analysis, responses and adaptation in all of our countries!
  • Corruption is stealing twice: It means stealing money – violating the ownership of the people. And it means stealing hope and demoralizing generations. 

My principles in the field of the Environment:

  • Protecting the environment is a global challenge. One region alone is not enough.
  • It needs a global approach and it needs a science-based approach:
  • When science-based, energy transition can be seen as a driver of economic growth!
  • Hazardous waste and radiation do not stop at borders, and neither does our responsibility for side products we produce
  • Look into health impact of micro plastic because it seems to be a bigger root cause for sicknesses than know now.
  • We should not foster climate-anxiety and scare people, but it is desirable to also highlight the good that has already been achieved, such as rare species which have been sighted again or the recovery of coral reefs.

My principles in the field of Science and Technology:

  • Science and Technology are our key allies in the change we seek to achieve.
  • Science and technology are our way to achieve “green” energy, without jeopardizing the progress in the areas of economy.
  • We must not overlook the potential security threats which new technologies and some forms of artificial intelligence might pose!

I would like to thank the OSCE PA secretariat, esp. Marco Bonabello, and our chair Asay Guliev and vice chair Artur Gerasymov, who is unfortunately not here today.

And I would like to thank all of you for this common thinking process as we seek to achieve security and cooperation in the fields of the 2nd commitee  – and as we seek to work towards common prosperity.

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