(OSCE Press Center) - In an effort to develop closer public and private sector co-operation in the fight against terrorism, the Russian and U.S. Missions to the OSCE have tabled a joint proposal to hold an international conference on the subject.
The event, set for Vienna next May, would bring together governmental agencies dealing with the threat, as well as representatives of non-governmental organizations, the media and - crucially - businesses. The conference is expected to focus on the vital role the private sector can play in co-operating with governments to prevent and combat terrorism, and the role of the media in the fight against terrorism.
"Since businesses suffer from terrorist attacks and benefit from stable trade, secure transport and a well-functioning economy, it only makes sense that business should also play a role to help counter terrorist threats," said the Russian and U.S. Missions in a recent paper delivered jointly to the OSCE Permanent Council, the Organization's main regular decision-making body.
"Another theme of the conference will be the business community's voluntary partnership with governments in countering terrorism, e.g. in protecting critical infrastructure, planning for disaster resilience, using technological developments to improve the security of our societies, in exchanging relevant information and experience and, where possible, taking co-ordinated actions while respecting each others specific roles and interests."
The paper also said that collaborative efforts by the public and private sectors were essential for devising and implementing successful national counter-terrorism strategies.
With its comprehensive approach to security threats and broad range of partners, both in participating and partner States, the OSCE can contribute to such a public-private partnership by leveraging its strength in reaching out to civil society. It addresses the central underlying factors that might provide fertile soil for violent extremism to flourish, while at the same time promoting tolerance and respect for human rights.
The conference would build on earlier OSCE work to foster public-private co-operation - a workshop on container security held in Vienna in February 2005, at July and November 2005 conferences on human rights and the fight against terrorism, and on combating terrorism financing, as well as at a May 2006 workshop on urban transport security.