Introduction by

H.E. Mr. Jarmo Viinanen
Permanent Representative of Finland to the United Nations

Mr. Deputy Secretary-General,


Distinguished guests and representatives,

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am very pleased to welcome you all to this briefing on a High Level Review of UN Sanctions, on behalf of its co-sponsors, Australia, Greece, and Sweden as well as my own country Finland. The Co-sponsors, in partnership with the Watson Institute of Brown University and Compliance and Capacity International, aim at enhancing the effectiveness of UN sanctions through this review. The purpose of this afternoon's event is to brief you on the project, further information of which can also be found at a dedicated website mentioned on the program (copies are available in the room).

Sanctions can be a powerful tool. For more than two decades, the Security Council has adopted targeted sanctions in response to a growing number of threats to international peace and security: no longer are sanctions mainly employed within the context of an intrastate conflict, but also to respond to a variety of threats such as international terrorism, widespread human rights violations and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. There may be opportunities for sanctions regimes to approach emerging threats as well.

At the same time, UN sanctions do not operate in a vacuum. The UN system as a whole has a role in giving effect to the sanctions decisions made by the Council. The range of related actors dealing with many of the same threats has multiplied, including in the fields of international arms control, financial and economic regulation and international criminal justice. Furthermore, other crisis resolution tools are employed with growing frequency. Sanctions are also increasingly imposed by regional organizations as well as individual states. All these raise issues of coordination and complementarity.

As you all know, UN sanctions have evolved from comprehensive embargoes against states to smart sanctions which are tailored to target specific individuals, entities and economic sectors in order to maximize effectiveness. This has served to reduce unintended negative consequences for third parties but new issues have risen with the significant and direct impact that sanctions have on those targeted. This has highlighted that UN sanctions need to be in conformity with the rule of law, in particular respect for due process and human rights. Otherwise, their implementation on the regional and national levels may be jeopardized by successful legal challenges. Relating questions include information exchanges between the UN sanctions committees and the regional and national actors.

The expansion and specialization of sanctions has also had significant consequences for private operators. Financial institutions, in particular, are facing an ever more complex international regulatory framework. There is a need to increase coordination to ensure the coherence of this framework. This would simplify compliance efforts, reduce related costs, and increase effectiveness of sanctions.

The foregoing issues are among those to be addressed by the High Level Review of UN Sanctions. The aim is to explore the interplay between the various actors and mechanisms as well as the ways how the UN sanctions could be made more effective. In the coming months, work will be carried out by three working groups, under the chairmanship of Australia, Sweden, and Greece. The working groups will consult widely with the relevant stakeholders and provide policy-oriented options to enhance sanctions implementation. Later on this afternoon, we will hear more from each of the chairs on their respective working groups.

Before that we will, however, have the pleasure of welcoming three other speakers. After the keynote address by H.E. Mr. Jan eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Amadu Koroma, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone, will present Sierra Leone's experience of and perspective on sanctions. As you may recall, UN sanctions against Sierra Leone were adopted in October 1997 and terminated in September 2010. The Hon. Sue E. Eckert, on behalf of the Watson Institute and Compliance and Capacity International, will then explain the context of this High Level Review. After the listed speakers there will be an opportunity for comments and questions from the floor.

Now, without further ado, I have the honor of inviting H.E. Mr. Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, to deliver the key note address. Mr. Eliasson, the floor is yours.