The Government’s measures for a more peaceful world
The need for peace in the world is greater than it has been for a long time. The number of conflicts in recent years has increased. Violence in countries such as Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan has turned back decades of economic, social and political development. Climate change, with the accompanying droughts, flooding or lack of freshwater, is accelerating and aggravating the challenges that already exist in fragile states.
War always results in enormous human suffering and crimes against human rights. Armed conflicts result in downward spirals that are difficult to turn around. To have a serious chance of dealing with the root causes of poverty and conflict, the capacity to contribute to sustainable peace needs to be strengthened. For the Government, this is a priority area encompassing several different interacting measures:
- The Government recently set up a new support function at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs with the task of strengthening cooperation between diplomacy and development cooperation in a number of priority conflict areas. This initiative includes a handful of specially recruited diplomats who will contribute new knowledge to the embassies' ongoing peace support efforts on the ground. The aim is to strengthen the capacity to pursue political change and to take initiatives for dialogue and negotiation. This is about creating a deeper understanding of complex conflicts, identifying paths towards solutions, bringing together parties and promoting dialogue as a tool.
- On 1 January, Sweden took up its seat on the UN Security Council. Membership of the Security Council is a very important aspect in our work for peace. We will focus on strengthening the UN's conflict prevention perspective, the UN's effectiveness, and the women, peace and security agenda. Moreover, Sweden will be chairing the Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.
- Sweden is also active at international level outside the Security Council, not least within the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding, co-chaired by Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate Isabella Lövin and Sierra Leone's Minister of Finance and Economic Development Momodu Lamin Kargbo. The dialogue brings together donor countries, fragile states and civil society, and it has developed ways to support peacebuilding and statebuilding in fragile states. Ms Lövin hosted an international high-level meeting in Stockholm in the first half of 2016, when the Stockholm Declaration was adopted and the participants committed to enhancing measures to address the root causes of war and conflicts.
- All aid must be made 'conflict-proof', and efforts to prevent war and conflicts have been strengthened within the framework of development cooperation. In the second half of 2014, the conflict prevention perspective was added to the agency instructions for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The Government has also resumed aid to Iraq to help with the reconstruction of the country. Sweden will also remain committed to peace efforts in Colombia, Somalia and a number of other countries. The Government has also devised a five-year aid strategy for the Syria crisis to help lay the foundation for a coming peace and supplement the extensive humanitarian support to women, men and children affected by the conflict.
- Through the feminist foreign policy we are developing support to women's meaningful participation in peace efforts before, during and after conflicts. It is self-evident that women should participate on the same terms as men in all parts of society.
Peacebuilding on several levels
Peacebuilding is a long-term process that should permeate and include the whole of society.
Sweden provides support to conflict resolution at local level through initiatives by local organisations that understand the conditions on the ground and can help, for example, to resolve conflicts over access to water, land ownership issues or cattle.
At national level, Sweden provides extensive support to promote institutional development, strengthen of the rule of law and improve public services. Sweden also supports national initiatives for peacebuilding, reconciliation, transitional justice and mediation. Measures may involve disarming and reintegrating former combatants or reforming the security sector to increase civilian insight and control. Another area is stabilisation, where development initiatives can supplement military operations and contribute to increased stability in the area affected by armed conflict.
Sweden is also working actively to strengthen conflict prevention and peacebuilding at regional level, for example by analysing regional conflict trends and addressing them as early as possible. It is very important that issues such as small arms and light weapons, migration, access to water and other natural resources, and crisis prevention are dealt with at regional level.
Support through the UN, the World Bank and the EU
Sweden is a major donor to both the UN and the World Bank. The 2030 Agenda, which is the global development framework, is a decisive factor for peacebuilding. The Global Goal on peaceful and inclusive societies is a new and unique opportunity to focus on peacebuilding internationally.
The groundbreaking UN resolution on a new peacebuilding architecture (UNSCR 2282) presents the term 'sustaining peace'. It is a broad concept covering all parts of a conflict – before, during and after – and it offers the opportunity to strengthen the UN's conflict prevention and peacebuilding capacity.
The World Bank's focus on fragile and conflict-affected countries has increased considerably in recent years, and peacebuilding is now considered a key issue. A similar development can be seen in both the African and the Asian Development Banks.
Sweden is also working on conflict prevention and peacebuilding to a great extent through the EU. This includes a broad range of measures, from military peace operations to civilian crisis management and development cooperation.