San Marino & the OSCE: „I see our role as one of conciliation among countries, a peaceful listener and a peacemaker“

For our new series “OSCE Ambassadors”, we spoke with H.E. Elena Molaroni, Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the OSCE about her work, San Marino’s role within the OSCE and the importance of the organisation.

You are San Marino’s Ambassador to the OSCE since 2008. What does your work there consist of and what are your main priorities in this regard?

As Ambassador of the Republic of San Marino to the OSCE, I have the responsibility to keep my government informed of all activities, events and meetings taking place and to participate in them. I follow my government’s priorities, report about the issues discussed and seek instructions.

We often align to statements issued by the European Union, especially when they deal with our priorities like human rights and fundamental freedoms, gender issues, territorial integrity and conflict resolution. San Marino is not a member of the European Union, but we share European values and principles. Together with the Principalities of Andorra and Monaco, since 2015, we are negotiating an association agreement with the European Union in order to structure our cooperation and interaction.

San Marino is part of the OSCE since June 25, 1973. Why is it important for your country to be a member of this intergovernmental organization and which role does San Marino take on within the OSCE?

San Marino is one of the original founders of the CSCE. We strongly believe in regional cooperation to achieve peace, security and prosperity for all countries.  

The limited size of our country defines the absolute importance of cooperation with our neighbours, good relations and shared values. Without alliances and collaboration no country can survive for long. In order to face the security challenges of our times, a comprehensive, multinational and multi-stakeholder approach is necessary. The involvement of governments, academia, private sector and civil society is also a sine qua non to achieve peace and security.

San Marino believes in respecting and supporting all principles and commitments of the OSCE, in all three dimensions, and believes in restoring dialogue and fostering understanding among all participating states. The increasing tensions within the OSCE area result in an increased difficulty in entertaining a dialogue; nevertheless we believe that a forum like the OSCE is needed to keep an open channel and to strive to improve the situation.

I see our role as one of conciliation among countries, a peaceful listener and a peacemaker.

In 2019, San Marino hosted a high-level conference on the dangers of disinformation and in May of this year, you have met with OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Teresa Ribeiro, in order to discuss issues such as tackling “fake news”. What role can the OSCE play in counteracting these problems? 

The Special Rapporteur on Disinformation and Propaganda of the OSCE Parliamentary Assemblyis a Sammarinese parliamentarian, Mr. Oscar Mina. Two year ago, San Marino has organized a High-level Conference on the Dangers of Disinformation, and continues to follow this issue and its ramifications. During this past year and a half, fake news about COVID has circulated and people have been misinformed and sometimes have taken the wrong decisions. Some of those decisions have resulted in death or illness for those who took them and for the people that crossed their paths.

This crisis has demonstrated that education and information play a fundamental role in the management of an emergency and in the resolution of any problem. The OSCE has certainly an important role to play, raising awareness on misinformation, disinformation, propaganda and fake news, and supporting governments, professionals and users, as well as keeping high on the agenda the human rights and fundamental freedoms of those who provide information.

This crisis has demonstrated that education and information play a fundamental role in the management of an emergency and in the resolution of any problem.

It js of paramount importance to make sure that people know how to choose the sources of their information, and it is necessary that those who offer the information do so correctly and ethically.

From your point of view, what are the weaknesses of the OSCE, what are its strengths?

The OSCE should continue to make its activities in all dimensions, in its field missions and its institutions, better known to the wider public. Our endeavours should be to further advertise and make public our activities in order to spread the knowledge of OSCE operations in each participating state and beyond.

The strength of the OSCE consists in the fact that it represents the world’s biggest regional organization, its area spreading from Vancouver to Vladivostok. More and more countries around its original area are asking to join, or to follow its activities as partners for cooperation, this way recognizing the leading role of the OSCE. The OSCE approach and support work can greatly contribute to the stability of our area and surrounding regions.

Our guidelines on respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms, tolerance and non-discrimination, democratic institutions, elections observation, fight against trafficking in human beings, protection of national minorities, fights against trafficking in small arms and light weapons, conflict prevention and conflict resolution, environmental protection, water management, border control, can assist countries to develop national policies and build confidence, security, prosperity and peace.

I thank you for this opportunity to share our perspective on the OSCE and its role.

Photo: SOCIETY/Salas-Torrero

Key photo: OSCE, 2020