After two weeks of talks and intensive negotiations, the Commission on the Status of Women was concluded on 23 March and the agreed conclusions adopted. On the agenda were women’s and girls’ rights, with a focus on women in rural areas, which was the theme of this year’s meeting. Despite a tougher world climate, progress has been made. The final document now contains important formulations on the fight against violence and sexual harassment, protection of women human rights defenders, and sexuality education in schools, as well as the right of women to own land.

It took the Iraqi army three years to break Daesh/ISIL’s territorial hold of Iraq, which at one point amounted to a third of the country. The war against Daesh/ISIL resulted in large-scale destruction and humanitarian needs on a massive scale. At its peak, over 5 million Iraqis fled their homes and just under half are still waiting to go back.
Many of the major cities formerly held by Daesh/ISIL were completely destroyed as a result of the conflict. One example is Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, renowned for its rich cultural and historical heritage. Following the liberation of the city in July 2017, the focus is now on rebuilding basic infrastructure so that internally displaced persons can go back to their homes and resume some form of normality. However, the challenges of doing so are turning out to be a lot greater than anyone had expected. The Embassy visited Mosul to observe the work of the UN in the area and to see the challenges of stabilisation in the aftermath of war.

Here, Björn Andersson describes his many years of working for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), gender equality and women’s rights. He is head of the UNFPA’s operations in Asia and the Pacific.

Malin Herwig works as an adviser on conflict prevention at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Hub for the Arab States, based in Amman. She mostly works on preventive measures against violent extremism. Read her story about her work to support peace.

Stina Eriksson currently works for UNDP Sri Lanka, monitoring and evaluating peacebuilding projects. She and her colleagues work to implement resolution 1325 in the Sri Lankan peace process. Read her story about her work to support women peacebuilders.

On 11 December, the Swedish Embassy in Mexico hosted a seminar on how the gender perspective could be enhanced in the analysis and protective measures offered by the Mexican government to protect journalists and human rights defenders. The event took place in connection with International Human Rights Day, which this year particularly focused on freedom of expression, and the two-week campaign to highlight and combat violence against women.

The One Planet Summit begins in Paris on 12 December, and Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate, and Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, Isabella Lövin will be there. Below she talks about the summit and a new Swedish climate initiative.

The theme of the UN Environment Assembly in December this year is ‘Beat Pollution’, and one of the issues to be discussed is how to prevent environmental exploitation in war and armed conflict. Marie Jacobsson, who is Ambassador at the Department for International Law, Human Rights and Treaty Law, is engaged in this issue.

Den 12-15 oktober deltar Ulrika Modéer, statssekreterare för internationellt utvecklingssamarbete och klimat, på Världsbankens årsmöte i Washington D.C. Temat för årsmötet är ”The future need of client countries”, med ett fokus på mänsklig utveckling, utbildning och innovation.