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To promote co-operation between the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and representatives of civil society, PA President George Tsereteli (Georgia) has appointed Pia Kauma (MP, Finland) as the Assembly’s Special Representative on Civil Society Engagement.
“Our Assembly has a history of engaging and working closely with non-governmental organizations and representatives of civil society,” Tsereteli wrote to Kauma in his appointment letter. “Whether in the field of arms control and demining, environmental concerns, election monitoring or human rights promotion, NGOs have an important voice and we should work to benefit from their expertise.”
“The OSCE PA has long acknowledged the need for stronger engagement with civil society, but has not always followed through on making this engagement sustained and effective. As Special Representative, I look forward to identifying concrete ways to enhance this co-operation to advance OSCE values for the benefit of the people we serve”, says Kauma.
“We as political decision makers have to keep our eyes open, when it comes to the functioning of free press, division of powers, rule of law and people’s right to express their opinions. It is not self-evident that basic principles of civil society are respected even in our own society. Sometimes weakening of civil society and human rights happen so gradually that it is not easy to see it, if we do not pay enough attention. I am very pleased and honoured about this new role within the OSCE PA, and I look forward to meeting NGOs and other key organizations in the near future”, she adds.
Kauma has been a Member of the Finnish Parliament from 2011–2015 and again since 2017. With an education in economics and business, she has served in the Parliament on the Commerce Committee, Social Affairs and Health Committee, Grand Committee, Constitutional Law Committee, and the Environment Committee.
In the OSCE PA, she has been a Member of the Finnish Delegation from 2011–2015, an Alternate Member from 2017–2019, and a Member since 2019. She served as the Rapporteur of the General Committee on Political Affairs and Security in 2013–2014, and has participated in numerous election observation missions.
As Special Representative on Civil Society Engagement, she will work in consultation with other OSCE PA Members engaging with representatives of non-governmental organizations and advise on ways for the Assembly to ensure an inclusive approach to representatives of civil society.
For more information on the work of the Special Representative, please click here.