Role of women tops agenda at security conference
The role of women dominated discussions at the Stockholm Forum on Peace and Development 2017 conference this week.
One of the keynote speakers, Sweden's international development minister Isabella Lövin, said the country has a unique approach to international and diplomatic relations.
We have a feminist foreign policy. Without women, you cannot have sustainable development. And having women participating in politics... that is the only way to make peace really happen."
"We are increasing defence spending but from quite a low level. But we're also increasing our international efforts in diplomacy, in active participation in the UN and other international organizations and venues," she told Radio Sweden. "Sweden punches way above its weight... through our credibility."
The two-day conference was co-hosted by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
While frustration with recent developments in international politics was expressed, former UN Deputy Secretary General and recently-appointed chair of the SIPRI governing board, Jan Eliasson, struck a defiantly positive note.
"We are moving in the right direction now of connecting peace and security to development and human rights in a way that hasn't been the case in the past, with the new [UN] Sustainable Development Goals... and the concept of sustaining peace," he told Radio Sweden.
He did acknowledge that there are challenges to international co-operation in the form of nationalism and populism.
"I feel very strongly now with this polarization and looking at the outside as a problem, as a peril rather than a potential, a possibility. You have a very, very dangerous trend."