Crisis Response and Peace Operations

The OSCE may undertake crisis response and peace operations to oversee political agreements between disputing parties.

Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine

On 21 March 2014, the OSCE Permanent Council (PC) resolved to establish a Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), composed of several hundred monitors (female and male) from 44 participating States. The unarmed civilian monitors work to contribute, throughout the country and in co-operation with relevant OSCE executive structures and actors from the international community, to reducing tensions and fostering peace, stability, and security, and to monitoring and supporting the implementation of all OSCE principles and commitments.

Through PC.DEC/117,1 the PC tasked the SMM to: Report the facts as we observe and establish them in response to specific incidents and reports of incidents, including those concerning alleged violations of OSCE commitments and principles; Gather information and report on the security situation in the area of operation; Monitor and support for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights of all persons belonging to national minorities; Establish contact with local, regional and national authorities, civil society, ethnic and religious groups and members of the local population; Report on the humanitarian situation and people’s needs, and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid of other organizations; Help to establish dialogue and local ceasefires; Report on any restrictions of the monitoring mission’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate; Coordinate with and support the work of the OSCE executive structures, including the HCNM, ODIHR, RFoM, in full respect to their mandates, as well as with the CoE and the UN and other relevant international actors/organizations.

The Mission engages with authorities at all levels, as well as civil society, ethnic and religious groups and local communities to facilitate dialogue on the ground. The monitors also report on humanitarian situation, including referring individual needs of vulnerable civilians to the stakeholders that could be representatives of Government, IO and NGOs. Note that the OSCE does not provide humanitarian aid.

The monitors are tasked to observe, establish and report facts. The SMM monitors gather information and report on the security situation on a daily basis, for example on the number of ceasefire violations and explosions recorded. The monitors establish facts on the ground by visiting the places, conducting meetings and interviews with wide range of interlocutors on the ground. They report on the humanitarian situation and people’s needs. When needed SMM facilitates the delivery of humanitarian aid of other organizations. SMM also helps to establish dialogue and ceasefires (SMM monitors and reports and provides platform for dialog and liaison, especially in relation to ceasefire for vital infrastructure repair (gas or electricity damaged in shelling).

SMM reporting work

SMM publishes the SMM daily and weekly reports on the security situation and spot reports in response to specific incidents, as well as status reports that present a general overview of the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), its main activities and latest news are on its website.

Example of a Daily report:

In the Donetsk region, between the evenings of 21 and 22 August, the SMM recorded 60 ceasefire violations. The majority of the ceasefire violations were recorded in an area south-south-east of Styla (non-government-controlled, 34km south of Donetsk). In the previous reporting period, the Mission did not record any ceasefire violations.


To enhance gender-mainstreaming, a Mission-wide responsibility, gender expert structure has been established. It includes a Gender Officer and Senior Gender Adviser a reporting directly to the Chief Monitor. They takes part in SMM senior management meetings and is therefore able to directly provide gender mainstreaming advice at the strategic and decision-making levels. In addition, a network of 13 SMM Gender Focal Points (GFPs) supports the Gender Office in different Monitoring Teams (MTs) throughout Ukraine. The OSCE published a report on Women on the Contact Line and issues Gender Thematic Reports.

Monitoring officers speaking to a civilian in Starohnativka, Donetsk region (OSCE/Germain Groll)

Monitoring officers speaking to a civilian in Starohnativka, Donetsk region (OSCE/Germain Groll)

The Mission has regularly conducted outreach events with a particular focus on gender equality, implementation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and combating human trafficking in the context of conflict. As an example: during the reporting period, the SMM hosted eight OSCE Cafés on either Women, Peace and Security or Ending Gender-Based Violence throughout Ukraine, in which an estimated total of 400 men and women participated. Such outreach activities, intensified during the global 16 Days Campaign to End Gender-Based Violence (25 November – 10 December) and International Women’s Day (8th of March), brought together different stakeholders, including representatives from the UN8 and NGOs, as well as government and law enforcement officials in order to facilitate dialogue on relevant issues and answer questions from the general public.