The Vienna Document 1999
Fact Sheet


The Vienna Document 1999 represents the latest review of the OSCE’s confidence- and security-building measures (CSBMs).  As in earlier versions of the Vienna Document, the CSBMs are designed to promote mutual trust and dispel concern about military activities by encouraging openness and transparency. They include provision regarding the exchange and verification of information on the participating States’ armed forces, their defence policies and military activities. Like other OSCE commitments, the Vienna Document is politically binding.

I. Background

The cornerstone of the current CSBM regime was laid in “Basket I” of the Helsinki Final Act, where the participating States agreed to specific measures. These were designed “to contribute to reducing the dangers of armed conflict and of misunderstanding or miscalculation of military activities which could give rise to apprehension, particularly in a situation where the participating States lack clear and timely information.”  These were:

·    prior notification of major military manoeuvres and movements;

·    exchange of observers;

·    “other confidence-building measures”, such as the exchange of military personnel.


II. Vienna Document Provisions

The Vienna Document 1999 contains provisions regarding the exchange and verification of military information between participating States, including: 

·    an annual exchange of military information (including the size of defence budgets, the location, size and strength of military units and formations);

·    prior notification of certain military activities (i.e. major troop exercises and movements);

·    observation of certain military activities;

·    exchange of annual calendars of military activities;

·    constraining provisions for military exercises;

·    verification measures (inspections and evaluation visits);

·    military contacts and co-operation (visits to airbases, military facilities, exchange of observers, demonstrations of new weapons systems);


Since 1990, negotiations regarding the CSBMs have continued in Vienna and resulted in the Vienna Document 1990, which was subsequently revised and expanded in 1992 and 1994. Specific provisions introduced in the Vienna Document 1999 include a chapter on regional security issues, addressing the importance of regional aspects of security within the OSCE and encouraging participating States to complement the CSBMs’ regime with measures tailored to specific regional needs.