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The Secretary-General’s Security Council Retreat in Backåkra, Sweden


The Secretary-General annual retreat with the Security Council will take place at Backåkra, the private estate of former-Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld, in southern Sweden from 21 – 22 April.

Photo: Moa Haeggblom / Government Offices of Sweden

The visit will take place at the initiative of Sweden and the Presidency of the Security Council for April, Peru. 

Backåkra is a unique location, where Dag Hammarskjöld had planned to retire. The property has just undergone a major renovation and will now serve the former Secretary-General's legacy as a meeting place for discussion on topics close his heart.

Speaking in advance of the meeting in New York, Swedish Ambassador Carl Skau said:

"The meeting takes place at a critical time for the United Nations, and at a difficult moment in the life of the Security Council. The retreat offers an important opportunity to step back and reflect."

The focus of the discussions will be on a new narrative for United Nations peace operations.

In this regard, Ambassador Gustavo Meza-Cuadra, Permanent Representative of Peru to the United Nations, recalled former Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, who during his tenure made the point that the evolution of peacekeeping operations "may provide a useful practical indication of how international authority, and respect for it, can be built up".

The meeting comes over a year since the Secretary-General called for prevention to be prioritised through a "surge in diplomacy for peace".

"Nowhere is this needed more than in Syria. Following one of the most divisive weeks in the Council's recent history, it is natural that Syria should be part of this discussion. What we need now is for the Council to come back together, to reestablish dialogue and to find a constructive dynamic. There is a need for some humility and patience."

Dag Hammarskjöld had an unwavering belief in multilateralism and in the UN. He was also known to be a measured man, and a man of deep reflection. With this in mind, the Ambassadors concluded that Backåkra can provide a fitting and inspiring venue for the Council to come together to consider immediate and longer-term challenges. Drawing on the legacy of Dag Hammarskjöld, Sweden and Peru believe that the discussion in Backåkra can help bring about a new spirit of cooperation within the Security Council. 

The Backåkra estate

The 19th-century Backåkra estate was acquired by Dag Hammarskjöld in 1957. The former Secretary-General planned to spend his retirement in the picturesque setting on Swedish countryside, but never got to fulfill his dream as he was killed in the line of duty in 1961.