Today sees the opening of the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality – a global conference with 600 participants from over 100 countries. The Forum will bring together activists, academics, politicians and entrepreneurs who put their energies into making the world more gender-equal.

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.

Award-winning author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner and human rights counsellor Colin Gonsalves are some of the 500 gender equality actors who will participate in the Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality on 15–17 April. The global forum is about strengthening women’s and girls’ rights, representation and access to resources.

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.

There is an important story about women, peace and security that needs to be told.
We are putting the spotlight on women who have paved the way – the bold and the brave – and we know there are and can be many more of them.
We are pushing for #MoreWomenMorePeace

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.

Sexual and gender-based violence is used as a tactic of terrorism by a range of today’s violent extremist groups. This makes it essential to address violence against women and girls as an integrated part in countering and preventing violent extremism. This is key to Sweden’s feminist foreign policy.