Chronicle

Sweden's voice in the Security Council - a voice in the world

When Sweden was elected to the UN Security Council for the fourth time, the joy was great. A small country like Sweden would take a place in the world's highest decision-making body in 2017–2018 as a non-permanent state. Sweden has received much attention for its involvement in the Security Council, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres has pointed out that Sweden is an important player in peace and conflict resolution.

But then there is the crux of the right of veto and how it can hinder the Security Council's work to resolve conflicts in a peaceful way. We see the example with Syria, a war that has been going on for seven years and proposals for resolutions are stopped by the right of veto several times. And then the discussion arises, the Security Council should be reformed. My expectations at the seminar were that the focus would be very much on the right of veto and how this may have affected Sweden's work in the Security Council.

Sweden's two-year term of office is soon over. And in a difficult time when the number of conflicts has increased and collaborations between countries are affected by heavier actors. The United States, which threatens to withdraw its aid to several countries and organizations. Russia and China are using their vetoes on resolutions to talk about action to end the war peacefully. Then we must ask ourselves how can we continue to contribute to maintaining world peace and averting threats to international security after 2018.

In that situation, we must overlook the contradictions that are being vetoed and see that it is possible to make a difference as a non-permanent state in the Council. During the seminar, it was emphasized that it is actually possible to make a difference. We must not forget the resolutions that Sweden has pushed for and which will strengthen the role of individuals in society. Resolutions on women, peace and security, on children and armed conflict and on young peace builders are fundamental to conflict prevention and the promotion of peace.

This year, the Nobel Peace Prize announced to Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege for their work to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon in armed conflict. It is for them - and other peace activists who raise their voices at the local level - that Sweden must continue to support the work for peace. To me, the driving force of these people for change is greater than the veto itself.

But the issue of the Security Council is important to highlight. When something is as outdated as the right of veto is, and prevents the Security Council from carrying out its tasks, the Council needs to be reformed. It does not work to stand and stomp in the same regulation of the organs as at the end of World War II, when today's global society looks different.

A few years ago, Dr. Denis Mukwege said in an interview that a price does not matter if it does not come with a change. I hope for him and everyone else who lives in conflict-affected areas that that change will take place soon, and that Sweden will continue to use its voice in the world.

This is a chronicle. The author is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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