This is my goal for our time on the United Nations Security Council

“On 1 January 2017, Sweden will assume its seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. This will offer Sweden a good opportunity to influence world politics and promote Sweden’s perspective on important international issues. And in yet another arena, contribute to creating conditions for a peace process in Syria,” wrote Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström in Metro on 26 October 2016.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom
Sweden’s actions in the Security Council will be informed by human rights and feminist foreign policy, among other things, says Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström. Photo: JC McIlwaine / UN Photo

The UN is the only global platform for international peace and security. And although the EU is Sweden's most important foreign policy arena, UN membership plays a decisive role for us.

Sweden's membership of the UN Security Council, which will begin on 1 January 2017, offers Sweden a good opportunity to influence world politics and promote Sweden's perspective on important international issues.

Being elected to the Security Council by a large majority of votes from the world's nations is recognition that Swedish foreign policy is respected and popular.

We will manage the confidence that has been placed in us in dialogue with the other members of the Security Council and with the countries that are affected by the Council's efforts, as well as with the countries contributing personnel to the UN's various international operations.

Sweden will be a professional and principled member, and will take responsibility for all the issues on the Security Council's entire agenda – remaining prepared for the unexpected.

Sweden's actions in the Security Council will be informed by our values and principles; international law, human rights, feminist foreign policy and a humanitarian perspective will be the starting point for all our efforts.

In recent weeks, the situation in Syria has deteriorated even further. It is completely unacceptable to bomb civilian populations, attack hospitals and target humanitarian convoys. Our membership of the Security Council offers us an opportunity in yet another arena to contribute to creating the conditions for a peace process in Syria.

The Security Council must become better at both preventing conflict from breaking out and at responding earlier to signs of impending conflict. This is something Sweden will work towards, together with the UN's new Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres.

At the same time, we must be realistic. We know that the other fourteen members of the Security Council, five of whom have a veto, do not always share our views. This is a reality we will have to deal with, using the tools of diplomacy and dialogue, but never by straying from our principles.

As Minister for Foreign Affairs, I am proud of the great commitment to the UN that exists in Sweden. Sweden's work in the UN is an expression of our common pursuit of peace, solidarity and security. But also of our pursuit of justice, gender equality and sustainability.

We now need to ensure that we have an effective and popularly supported UN that is in tune with the times.

I look forward to continuing to work towards this goal.

Margot Wallström

Minister for Foreign Affairs