A little more than a decade ago, the year-long Stockholm Process on the Implementation of Targeted Sanctions was concluded. It constituted the third step in a series of attempts to reform the sanctions instrument and took a very broad perspective. Sweden took the lead in that process in a wish to utilize its experiences from sitting on the Security Council in the years 1997-1998, but the success of the process was assured by the contributions of a large number of UN Member States as well as Academia.
In the report from the Stockholm Process, it was recognized that coordination between the UN and other relevant actors – be they UN or other specialized international organizations, governmental or private – is important for effectiveness in the implementation of targeted sanctions. Whether the restrictive measures are intended to reduce the flow of illicit arms or dual use products, impede illicit financing or eliminate trade in prohibited commodities, they are, by their very nature, highly technical policy instruments requiring a significant degree of expertise and capacity to fully implement and monitor.
Since then, the number of sanctions regimes established by the Security Council (and also by regional organizations and single states) has greatly increased. So has the diversity of the types of restrictive measures actually imposed. At the same time, there are a growing number of other international actors engaged in standard-setting, monitoring and evaluation in fields which coincide with, or are related to those targeted by United Nations restrictive measures, activities which therefore also bear a relation to the upholding of international peace and security.
Already in the report from the Stockholm Process a need was recognized for the Security Council and bodies assisting or affiliated to it to work more closely with a variety of other selected specialized agencies in order to better utilize their combined expertise in implementation of enhancing measures.
In this increasingly complex international environment, it is logical to seek efficiency dividends by learning from the experiences made by other actors in regard to methodologies applied in information gathering, reporting, monitoring or in implementation. Synergies are no doubt achievable, and there should also be a possibility to detect unnecessary overlaps and avoid unnecessary administrative burdens.
The High Level Review now initiated by a group of sponsors does not in any way aspire to suggest changes in the mandates of different organizations, nor does it wish to look into such matters as when and where sanctions should be imposed. It is more about the ‘how-to’ in the implementation of sanctions. Its main focus will be to identify more of best practices, better means of coordination and improved information sharing modalities, while fully respecting the different roles of different actors. To explore possibilities for increased capacity-building measures will be a key endeavor.
Sweden has undertaken to lead the effort in three distinct areas, namely to explore the issues I have mentioned in the relationship between:
- UN sanctions and international arms and export controls
- UN sanctions and international financial and economic regulations, and
- UN sanctions and international criminal justice.
The working group that we will be moderating will have a start-up meeting tomorrow at our mission to draw up the lines and methods of work and listen to introductions by experts in these areas. Further work will be carried out in informal, mostly virtual, ways but also through hearings with relevant organizations, meetings with sub-working parties in the three fields and so on. To be able to carry this work forward we will of course very much depend on the willingness of countries, organizations and experts to participate actively, by sharing their expertise and contributing to joint thinking, and with a view to arrive at practical findings.