Swedish statement at the UN Security Council Meeting on Implementation of the note by the President of the Security Council
National statement delivered by Ambassador Olof Skoog on behalf of Sweden at the United Nations Security Council Meeting on Implementation of the note by the President of the Security Council S/2010/507, 31 January 2018, New York.
I want to start by joining other Council members in paying tribute to you and your team for your excellent stewardship of the Council during the month of January. As the first country from Central Asia to preside over the Council, we commend the focus on regional approaches to conflict prevention that you have brought to our work. Stronger regional cooperation can not only help overcome common challenges, but also creates the conditions for mutually-beneficial opportunities. Each country is better off if their neighbours also prosper. This point, I think, was clearly demonstrated during the Open Debate on 19 January, where we discussed regional partnership in Afghanistan and Central Asia as a model for linking security and development. The Presidential Statement adopted following this debate is an important legacy of your presidency. I want to add how strongly I appreciated our trip together to Kabul and how well you, and your team, managed that visit.
Regarding regional approaches, for our part, we were pleased to collaborate with Côte d'Ivoire, with constructive engagement from all council members, on the Presidential Statement on UNOWAS/West Africa and the Sahel, which was adopted yesterday. A regional approach to conflict prevention, early warning and response mechanisms has proven increasingly relevant, as challenges related to climate change, trafficking and terrorism do not respect borders. UNOWAS is a model for other regions.
Sweden has long been a champion of disarmament and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The briefing you convened on non-proliferation, and in particular the important role of confidence building measures, was welcome, and timely.
The Council has an important role to play in advancing these issues as well as standing united to ensure that those who violate international norms are held to account. The Council needs to move forward in this effort.
In the area of non-proliferation, Sweden, together with Poland, requested an update from the Secretariat under other business following the 09 January intra-Korean talks, the first in two years. The Council members welcomed the developments, reiterated its call for full implementation of sanctions against North Korea and echoed the Secretary-General's call for denuclearization. The meeting was important, as it also showed the Council's commitment to, and support for, a peaceful solution to the tense situation on the Korean Peninsula.
Turning to the situation in Syria, we are alarmed, as we heard only yesterday, by the continued severity of the devastating humanitarian situation, the unacceptable levels of violence, and that urgent humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance, is required by more than 13 million people. As penholders, together with Kuwait, we are resolved to do what we can to support the UN and the humanitarian actors on the ground to help the millions in desperate need. During his briefing to the Council on 22 January, the Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, outlined five actions needed for sustained and improved humanitarian assistance, particularly to besieged and hard-to-reach areas. These are concrete, tangible and realistic, and we strongly support them. It is imperative that the Council stands united behind OCHA's efforts in this regard.
Let me say a few words about working methods. We applaud your efforts to ensure that the Council was able to communicate clear messages after most closed consultations during the month. This not only increases transparency, but also helps the Council to summarize the most salient points of discussions, and to think about how to best address the issue further. We look forward to working with Kuwait on continuing efforts to make the work of the Council more results-orientated, transparent and inclusive. The open debate next week on working methods is welcome in this regard. Many of the tools needed to make the Council more effective are already there; however, they must be used appropriately. This includes ensuring meeting are tailored in terms of format and focus to ensure the best chance of meaningful outcome from the Council's deliberations.
Finally, Mr President, experience over the past year shows that non-traditional briefers, from civil society, notably women, have often animated our discussions by adding perspectives that we would otherwise not necessarily think about. We appreciate that a woman CSO briefer has been added to the UNSMIL meeting on 17 January.
Ensuring women's full participation in sustaining peace is, as you know, a Swedish priority. And, in Libya, it is essential that women are able to participate at every step in the implementation of the Action Plan. We strongly believe that the Council will find that our efforts are more effective if we allow this to happen across the board.