NORDEM meets ODIHR Director during his first visit to Oslo

Challenges and developments in election observation in the OSCE region were among the key issues discussed when NORDEM met the Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), Michael Link, at NORDEM's premises at the Norwegian Centre for HumanRights on 9 February.

ODIHR Director Michael Link, NORDEM Director Marianne kvan, Jan Petersen and Jan Haukaas at the NORDEM lunch meeting

"The OSCE participating States have to lead by example in election observation, especially now that human rights and fundamental freedoms are under pressure throughout the OSCE region", said ODIHR Director Link. The Director called for an expansion of ODIHR's election observation activities "west of Vienna", as even the most established democracy can benefit from ODIHR’s professional, independent and impartial assessments and recommendations. Link also thanked NORDEM for its longstanding support to the Office.

NORDEM was pleased that Former Minister of Foreign Affairs and recent Ambassador in Austria, Jan Petersen, was able to join the meeting. Petersen successfully headed the ODIHR Election Observation Mission to Moldova last year.

Link was accompanied by his representative and the ODIHR liaison in Vienna, NORDEM secondee Jan Haukaas. Haukaas was appointed to this new post in late 2014 and assigned to lead ODIHR's work in strengthening the Office's co-ordination with other OSCE executive structures and to become more accessible and responsive to participating states and the international community in Vienna. Prior to taking up this important post, Haukaas has served as special adviser to the ODIHR Director in Warsaw and as senior political adviser to OSCE Heads of Mission in Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

"Haukaas' position is an excellent example of the close relationship that NORDEM enjoys with ODIHR", said NORDEM Director Marianne Kvan. "Throughout the years, NORDEM has worked closely with ODIHR by providing long term personnel to its Headquarter in Warsaw and contributing to its election observation activities, not only by seconding election observers, but also by engaging in the development of election observation methodology. We look forward to continue our cooperation", said Kvan.

Michael Link took up his tenure as ODIHR director on 1 July 2014, and this was his first visit to Oslo.

Published Feb. 16, 2015 10:04 AM - Last modified Feb. 16, 2015 10:11 AM