Sweden & the United Nations

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    . Photo: Sami Nefzi

Sweden and the UN - a commitment to peace and development

The commitment to work for a stronger and better UN is in Sweden’s DNA.  Since the days of Dag Hammarskjöld, Sweden has remained a steadfast and engaged, albeit not uncritical, supporter of the UN. Today, Sweden is the sixth largest provider of assessed and voluntary contributions to the UN system. Since 1948, when Sweden sent observers to the very first UN mission UNTSO, more than 80.000 Swedish women and men have participated in UN peace operations. This places Sweden among the top per capita contributors to UN peace operations. Sweden is also one of the most significant donors to UN development cooperation, humanitarian assistance and climate financing (including as the largest per capita donor to the UN Green Climate Fund).

Through the UN, Sweden contributes to conflict prevention, peace and humanitarian efforts, rebuilding of conflict-affected states, disarmament and non-proliferation, poverty reduction and sustainable development.  The Swedish response is one of global solidarity, responsibility and dialogue. Our UN policy is an integral and important part of our foreign and development policy, and a way of pursuing objectives ranging from a more stable Middle East, respect for international law, human rights and the principles of the UN Charter, to the participation of women in peace processes and negotiations in Mali, Afghanistan, Cyprus and elsewhere. The UN needs to be fit for purpose and Sweden is also committed to processes to reform the UN.

Sweden’s candidacy for the UN Security Council for the period 2017-18 is an expression of our commitment to the UN and our willingness to contribute to managing the current conflicts and threats to international peace and security. It will be twenty years since Sweden last served on the UNSC, having served three times since joining the United Nations seventy years ago.

The following are some examples of current priorities for Sweden in the United Nations:

-          Implementing Agenda 2030. Sweden has taken a whole-of-government approach and a multi-stakeholder national delegation has been appointed. Prime Minister Löfven, together with leaders from eight countries around the world, has launched an informal High-level Group to mobilise political support the implementation of Agenda 2030.

-          Tackling Climate Change. Implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement and its goals to curb the global rise in temperature. Sweden aims to become one of first fossil-free welfare countries in the world and is one of the largest providers of climate finance.

-          Fighting poverty and inequity. Sweden has highlighted the escalating crisis of finance in the UN development system and proposed ten principles for Good Multilateral Donorship.

-          Strengthening the UN humanitarian system. As one of the largest humanitarian donors, Sweden acts to bridge the financing gap and to make the humanitarian system more effective. Foreign Minister Wallström serves on the UNSG’s high-level panel on humanitarian financing.

-          Dealing with conflicts. Sweden is active in the UN reform efforts of peace operations. In the case of Syria, Sweden has launched a ground-breaking strategy that is a concrete example of how urgent humanitarian support can be linked to more long-term measures. Sweden has also decided to extend its contribution to the MINUSMA mission by one year, and will increase its contribution of police and civilian personnel to UN peacekeeping.

-          Building peace. Sweden supports efforts to address both prevention and post-conflict scenarios. Sweden has worked towards this end as the Chair of the UN Peacebuilding Organisational Committee and the Swedish Minister for Development Cooperation Lövin co-chairs the International Dialogue on State building and Nation building.

-          Pushing for women and girls. Sweden is committed to a UN that takes the lead in accelerating the women, peace and security agenda and where gender equality and women’s empowerment are brought into the core of its work in all areas. Sweden itself is in the process of adopting a new and reinforced National Action Plan for UNSCR 1325, and of developing a network of Swedish women peace mediators.

-          Preventing sexual and gender-based violence.  Sweden is working to keep the issue on the agenda of the Security Council and has raised this with the Secretary General.

-          Working through regional organisations. Sweden works to further develop cooperation between the UN and regional and sub-regional organisations, as these organisations often become first responders to a majority of crises, in particular in Africa. 

-          Progressing disarmament and non-proliferation. Nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation are mutually reinforcing processes. The only real guarantee against the use of nuclear weapons is their total elimination. Sweden is also active in combatting the illicit and irresponsible spread of conventional weapons including through the implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Program of Action for Small Arms and Light Weapons.

More about Sweden and the UN.