Sweden has reached the halfway point of its Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt is travelling to Canada for political discussions on issues concerning the Arctic region and the work of the Arctic Council. During the afternoon, Mr Bildt delivered a key policy speech on the Arctic at Carleton University, where he emphasised that the Arctic region is changing and facing major challenges, of which climate change is the greatest.
Yesterday, Tuesday, the Deputy Foreign Ministers from the Arctic Council's eight Member States met in Stockholm. The meeting marked the halfway point of the Swedish Chairmanship of the Arctic Council. Later this week, Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt will travel to Canada for bilateral talks primarily focusing on issues on the Arctic agenda. Mr Bildt will also visit the Arctic areas in Canada.
On Monday 7 May a diploma ceremony was held for 24 foreign students studying at higher education institutions in Sweden. They have all distinguished themselves in areas related to innovation and entrepreneurship. Minister for Trade Ewa Björling presented diplomas and the students received the Global Swede award. It is hoped that after completing their degrees, they can become excellent ambassadors and promote a positive image of Sweden.
On May 1st, the General council of the WTO confirmed the election of Joakim Reiter, Sweden's ambassador to the WTO, as chair of the working party of the accession of Liberia to the WTO. Liberia applied for membership in 2007, and the working party was established the same year.
What impact will Russia's accession to the WTO have on Swedish companies? This issue was debated at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs' seminar on Friday, which gathered leading politicians, experts and entrepreneurs. Minister for Trade Ewa Björling, together with Russia's former chief negotiator Maxim Medvedkov, took part in a panel discussion with Swedish entrepreneurs.
The approval of Russia's WTO accession, after more than 18 years of negotiations, will make the world's largest non-WTO economy a fully integrated member of the international trade system. As Sweden is one of the world's ten largest investors in Russia, with over 400 Swedish companies operating in the Russian market, the country's WTO accession is expected to have substantial consequences for our bilateral economic relations.
On Wednesday 25 April, Stockholm+40 - the international conference on sustainable development hosted by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of the Environment - concluded with a ministerial dialogue in the Old Riksdag Building.
At the conference's concluding ceremony, Minister for the Environment Lena Ek and Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson handed over the Stockholm Call for Action to Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of Rio+20, and Francisco Gaetani, Brazil's Vice-Minister for the Environment. You can access webcasts, articles, photos and reports from the conference via the links below.
"The Convention is an important element in efforts to bring about a broad-based ban on cluster munitions and reduce the unacceptable human suffering they cause," says Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt.
The UN has now received the Swedish instrument of ratification and announced that the Convention will enter into force in Sweden on 1 October 2012.
Nils Wahl was yesterday appointed as Advocate-General to the Court of Justice of the European Union. This is the first time a Swede will take this office within the European judicial system.
The European Court of Justice interprets EU law to make sure it is applied in the same way in all EU countries. The task of the Advocate-General is to present opinions on the cases brought before the Court.
"It is gratifying that Sweden now has the opportunity to have a Swede as one of the eight advocates-general in the Court of Justice of the European Union. Nils Wahl is an excellent person for this appointment," says Anders Rönquist, Director-General for Legal Affairs at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
On 24 April, in conjunction with the Chinese Premier's visit to Sweden, Minister for Trade Ewa Björling meets her Chinese counterpart Chen Deming.
The talks will focus on creating conditions to further strengthen bilateral relations in the area of trade and investments.
Kofi Annan met Minister for International Development Cooperation
Minister for International Development Cooperation Gunilla Carlsson yesterday met Kofi Annan during his visit to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. They spoke generally about developments in Africa and about the situation in the Horn of Africa and in Kenya. Mr Annan's mission as the Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States to Syria was also discussed.