Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs at SIPRI Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development

Speech by Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström at SIPRI Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development, 3-4 May 2017, Stockholm.

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Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a privilege and honour to welcome you to the fourth annual Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development.

First of all, I would like to thank SIPRI for having established this Forum as a meaningful and important new tradition. This is the fourth time we have met – and, unfortunately, the reasons for us gathering around these issues of peace and development remain urgent.

Since our task is so important, I am particularly pleased to see such broad participation, and so much knowledge and experience gathered here today. We are privileged to have with us:
• H.E. Vadym Chernysh, Minister of Temporary Occupied Territories and IDPs, Ukraine
• H.E. Momodu Kargbo, Minister of Finance Sierra Leone, co-chair International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and State Building
• H.E. Axel Addy, Minister for Commerce and Industry, Liberia
• H.E. Deqa Yasin, Minister for Women's Affairs and Human Rights, Somalia TBC
• Dr Hanan Ashrawi, PLO Executive Committee Member, PLC Member

In addition, we have colleagues here today from a number of influential think tanks and civil society groups from around the world, from institutions such as the World Bank and the United Nations, and from regional bodies, not least the African Union. A warm welcome to all of you!

The theme of this year's Forum is highly relevant. Asking ourselves "What works?" is a frank and honest recognition that we collectively need to redouble our efforts to build inclusive societies, prevent violent conflicts and sustain peace.

Friends, sadly we are once again meeting at a time of great unrest. Ongoing developments in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, South Sudan, Afghanistan and elsewhere have resulted in the largest humanitarian crisis in modern history. Conflicts are not only increasing in number, but are becoming more complex and violent.

Yet there is promise. Last year's inclusive peace agreement in Colombia may bring sustainable peace to a once conflict-ridden nation. Also in Somalia, the peaceful presidential election was the result of successful state and peacebuilding efforts – and effective cooperation between Somalia and its international partners.

There is a new resolve in the international community to make sustaining peace a priority. But we need to turn words into action. I see the need for improvement in three areas:

First, politically: we need to forge a new political consensus that puts conflict prevention and sustaining peace at the core of our efforts.

Second, practically: we need to improve the capacity of the multilateral system to work together across organisations, mandates and areas of responsibility to address the root causes and drivers of conflict. We need to ask ourselves: "What works?" – and be brave enough to answer truthfully.

Third, financially: we need to secure predictable and sustainable financing for prevention and sustaining peace. Investing in prevention is not only morally right. It is the smart, economically sound and sustainable thing to do.

However, in addition to this, we must urgently give increased attention to the linkages between climate change and security. The Security Council recently visited the Lake Chad region. As a result, UN Security Council Resolution 2349 made clear reference to the role of climate change as a threat multiplier and a driver of instability in the Lake Chad region. The urgent humanitarian crisis in a country like Somalia also reflects these critical linkages.

It is important that we continue to improve reporting mechanisms and that we can draw on expertise and research to make decisions based on facts. The UN system needs an institutional home, where an integrated approach can be used. Sweden therefore supports the appointment of a Special Representative on Climate and Security.

Ladies and Gentlemen, this Forum provides a unique opportunity for frank and open discussions on contemporary peacebuilding. We need to learn from our collective successes and failures. I am proud to represent a feminist foreign policy that aims to build international political momentum in support of effective and inclusive conflict prevention.

Minister Lövin and I are therefore happy to co-host this Forum with SIPRI. SIPRI has long been a world-class think tank dedicated to disarmament and non-proliferation, and we are now pleased that it is also developing a unique niche within the broader agenda of peace and development. On that note, Minister Lövin and I would like, once again, to express our deepest gratitude to SIPRI for all its hard work in organising this Forum. We would also like to thank the outgoing chair of SIPRI, Ambassador Sven-Olof Petersson, and warmly welcome the incoming chair, Ambassador Jan Eliasson. We are indeed looking forward to continued fruitful cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, over the next two days you will be discussing the future of peacekeeping operations, how to ensure inclusive peace processes, the complexity of violence, the humanitarian-development nexus and much more. I, for one, am very much looking forward to these discussions. I am sure they will help us advance sound policy and ensure that no one is left behind.

Thank you.