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Working without Sanctions: Factors Contributing to the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities'(Relative) Effectiveness

Wolfgang Zellner

Building on the approaches of Arild Underdal and Oran Young to regime effectiveness, this paper deals with the question of whether and in what way an organization active in the field of preventive diplomacy such as the OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (HCNM) can become “effective” in resolving ethno-political conflicts despite having no coercive measures at its disposal. To answer this question, the paper will compare the HCNM’s effectiveness in terms of goal attainment with his effectiveness in terms of problem solving at the operational, normative and substantive levels. It then asks whether the HCNM is more successful in attaining goals and/or solving problems by organizing political pressure, changing normative mind-sets or by persuading the actors involved in conflicts. The analysis will draw on the empirical work done in an earlier project on the HCNM’s effectiveness, which looked at three cases of Russian-speaking minorities (Estonia, Latvia, Ukraine), and one case each of a Hungarian (Romania) and an Albanian minority (Macedonia). At the same time, it will try to refine this project’s methodological approach.

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