Swedish ministers, the former US Ambassador and representatives of organisations promoting gender equality and refugee integration met in Stockholm in October 2016 to discuss the role of refugee women in their host country.

The links between women, peace and security are unarguably especially important in a country like Jordan. Jordan is one of the major contributors of personnel to United Nations peacekeeping missions, with more than one thousand military and police personnel in nine missions worldwide. It is also a country deeply affected by the Syria crisis in economic, social and security terms. It hosts more than 600 000 Syrian refugees and a large number of refugees from other regional conflicts in Iraq, Libya and Yemen

As critical public debate is largely being forced out of Russian media, physical meeting places are assuming an increasingly important role in public discussion. Representatives from Sweden’s Embassy in Moscow and the Consulate-General in St Petersburg recently took part in a ‘BarCamp’ in the forest outside the city of Syktyvkar in north-western Russia.

The Sustainable Development Goals are at the heart of Swedish efforts to provide innovative solutions in humanitarian emergencies.  One of many examples are the solar panels at Azraq refugee camp in Jordan.

Six countries in the Western Balkans are working hard to become members of the EU. At the end of May, these countries participated at ministerial level in a seminar in Stockholm attended by Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström. The situation in the region and the countries’ integration with the EU were discussed at the seminar. Johanna Strömquist, MFA head of group for south-eastern Europe and EU enlargement, explains the processes at the moment.

At midnight last Sunday, Ukrainian citizens could for the first time ever travel to the 30 countries of the Schengen Zone without a visa. This is a forceful reminder of one of the most poignant slogans of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity, namely that “Ukraine is Europe”.

The new wastewater treatment plant in Kaliningrad, which was co-financed by Sweden, represents an important step towards improving water quality in the Baltic Sea. This is because the wastewater from Kaliningrad’s close to half a million inhabitants has for many years run straight out into the Baltic Sea untreated.

Sweden has historically been one of the most generous donors to the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, IDA. Now, as drought and subsequent famine looms over a number of countries, the IDA rushes to support the frontlines.

To mark Europe Day on 9 May, Minister for EU Affairs Ann Linde took part in two panel discussions organised by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions. The themes were ‘Where would Europe be without the EU?’ and ‘The future of European cooperation – what will it look like?’ 

Never have our oceans been as stressed as they are today. And yet, the world has long chosen not to recognise or acknowledge the seriousness of the situation, or perhaps it has seen the problems as isolated issues. This is why the UN Ocean Conference in June is so important.