Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten

​As part of the newly established Dialogue Forum for Norway's membership in the United Nations Security Council 2021-2022, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in collaboration with PRIO, and the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI) are organizing a series of thematic roundtable meetings about current issues on the Council's agenda. The first meeting took place on April 29th and the topic was global health and security.

The aim of the Dialogue Forum is to facilitate strategic discussions between researchers, experts and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the meetings are led by State Secretary Audun Halvorsen.

- It is important to have a close and in-depth dialogue with leading research communities. I look forward to obtaining high-quality input on current issues, Norwegian priorities, and focus areas, State Secretary Audun Halvorsen said. He continues: - I want to thank NUPI and PRIO that assist in organizing the meetings. It is important with an critical exchange and dialogue about the Security Council.

The Forum on global health and security

The starting point for the first roundtable was how the current Covid-19 pandemic actualizes health challenges as real and serious threats to international peace and security. Researchers and experts from the leading research communities in Norway participated, among them PRIO Director Henrik Urdal and Research Director Siri Aas Rustad. Urdal raised central issues on what we know about the connection between health and conflict today whereas Rustad brought up key results that can be used to better understand existing tools of the Council, such as the call for global ceasefire in resolution 2532 from 2020.

The roundtable took as its starting point existing research results and policy debates to discuss how the Security Council can contribute to preventing or lessening conflict lines through, for example, resolutions about ceasefires and vaccine distribution? Moreover, for the Security Council to maintain its position onwards into the 21st century it must be made capable of handling new types of threats. The Dialogue Forum therefore also discussed pros and cons related to how the Security Council's role can be developed, as well as its role in relation to how the international community can be better prepared to handle future health crises and international unrest and instability.

Norwegian Presidency, climate and peacekeeping

The goal is to organize three to four roundtable meetings per year, all of which will have a specific agenda. Planned topics include:

  • The Norwegian Presidency in the Security Council in January 2022
  • Effects of peacekeeping operations
  • Climate and security

Each meeting will invite leading researchers and experts within the chosen field with the two-fold aim of expanding the knowledge base and identifying opportunities for Norway in the Security Council.

The roundtables will for the time being be held in a virtual format due to Covid-19. The discussion will be confidential in accordance with Chatham House Rules. The organizational work is led by Louise Olsson (PRIO) and Niels Nagelhus Schia (NUPI).

Further reading about the forum:

This text was first published on Regjeringen.no, and is being re-published here with permission.