OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde. (MFA Sweden/Kristian Pohl)

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde. (MFA Sweden/Kristian Pohl)

The Chair-in-Office (CiO) or the Chair is vested with overall responsibility for executive action and the coordination of OSCE activities. The OSCE CiO presides over the OSCE decision-making bodies: the Summit, the MC and the PC, as well as their subsidiary bodies, playing a key role in facilitating consultations among the pS.

The CiO duties include:

  • Representing the Organization before other organizations and to participating States

  • Coordinating the work of OSCE institutions

  • Supervising activities related to conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict rehabilitation

  • Seeking consensus as the basis for regular decision-making

  • Mediation and conciliation of conflicts among participating States, either directly or through Special Representatives appointed by the Chair.


The term of a CiO is one calendar year and rotates annually. It is a significant role for States, regardless of their size, which voluntarily take the leadership of the OSCE for one year. Usually the State is designated as CiO by a decision of the MC (or Summit) two years prior to its term of office starts. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the country chairing the organization traditionally holds the position of the “Chairperson-in-Office” (CiO) for the given year. 


Traditionally, the CiO has been assisted by the previous and succeeding Chairs; the three of them together constituting the Troika. Thus, the country that is elected as incoming CiO, must provide substantial personnel not only to carry out the many functions of the Chair during its term, but also over two additional years where the States is a member of the Troika, as in-coming and out-going Chair.

Regular coordination ensured through weekly Troika meetings at the ambassadorial level. In addition, the Troika normally meets twice a year at the ministerial level.

Envoys and Personal Representatives of the CiO

Annually, the CiO has the power to appoint (or extend the mandates of) his/her Personal Representatives, Special Representatives and Envoys to address specific issues or geographical areas. These include: 

  • the Head of the High -Level Planning Group

The Personal Representatives of the CiO:

  • on the Conflict dealt with by the OSCE Minsk Conference

  • on Combating Anti-Semitism

  • on Combating Intolerance and Discrimination against Muslims, and 

  • on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Discrimination also focusing on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians and Members of Other Religions.

The Special Representative of the CiO: 

  • in Ukraine and in the Trilateral Contact Group

  • for the South Caucasus 

  • for the Transdnistrian settlement process

  • on Combating Corruption

  • on Gender 

  • on Youth and /Security 

  • the SR/CTHB (as it is a two-hatted position, both under the CiO and the SG), and 

  • the Representative to the Russian-Latvian Joint Commission on Military Pensioners. 

The CiO further draws upon experts, advisory, material, technical and other support of the OSCE, especially the Secretariat, including for advice, analysis, background information, drafting of decisions and statements, summary records and for archival support.

In addition to working with the SG, DCPC, the PC and FSC on the political dialogue, the CiO works with the OSCE Institutions of the High Commissioner on National Minorities, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Representative of Freedom of the Media, as well as the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly which is an independent institution. 

The Chair hosts the annual OSCE Ball in the Hofburg, transforming the Neuersaal and second floor cafeteria into festive halls.