UN Secretary-General and Security Council visit Sweden

UN Secretary-General António Guterres visited Sweden on 21–23 April. During the visit, he met Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, gave the Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture in Uppsala and led an informal working meeting with the Security Council at Dag Hammarskjöld’s farm, Backåkra, in Skåne.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: Ninni Andersson/Government Offices.

“Following the developments in Syria in recent weeks, much of the discussion has been about the conflict there, which has been going on for more than seven years. The UN must lead efforts to bring an end to the suffering and start to build a lasting peace,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after his bilateral meeting with António Guterres.

The talks between the Prime Minister and the Secretary-General were held at the National Library of Sweden in Stockholm. They were preceded by a private viewing of parts of the Dag Hammarskjöld archive. As UN Secretary-General, Dag Hammarskjöld took the initiative to form the first armed UN peacekeeping mission. Still today, more effective conflict prevention remains one of Sweden’s most important priorities in its work on the Security Council.

“Sweden is a close and staunch friend of the UN, but we also see the need for reforms. The UN must function more effectively and its activities on the ground must be better coordinated. The UN could also play a greater role in efforts to deal with the refugee flows and get more countries to share this responsibility. We have also discussed how the UN’s peacekeeping missions can be strengthened and streamlined,” said Prime Minister Stefan Löfven after the bilateral meeting.

This was also the theme of the UN Security Council’s retreat, which for the first time was convened outside the United States, at Dag Hammarskjöld’s farm, Backåkra, in Skåne.

The UN Security Council also visited one of Europe’s largest research infrastructure projects, European Spallation Source (ESS) in Lund, in the company of Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström. A discussion was held there on the interplay between technological development and global challenges, and how research and innovation can be used to address current problems and crises.

During his visit to Sweden, the Secretary-General also travelled to Uppsala, where he met Crown Princess Victoria and gave the Dag Hammarskjöld Lecture. In Uppsala, he also took part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Dag Hammarskjöld’s grave.