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Innovative project strengthened Norway's foreign policy in the Security Council

For two years, researchers from NUPI, PRIO and other institutes have advised the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through an innovative research project.

Kristin Haugevik and Niels Nagelhus Schia.

Foto: Therese Leine

Norway's term as an elected member of the UN Security Council ended on 31 December 2022, after two intensive years.

Key accomplishments by Norway in the Council was debated in the Norwegian Parliament on 19 January, following Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt’s statement on the country’s membership.

Norway’s Security Council term was characterized by major events, from the covid-19 pandemic, the coup in Myanmar, armed conflict in Ethiopia, and the fall of Kabul in 2021, to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is now evaluating and taking lessons from the council period to pave the way for Norway's future foreign policy.

From left to right: Andreas Løvold (Norwegian MFA) and Trine Heimerback (Norwegian MFA).

Foto: NUPI


Knowledge-based foreign policy

A foreign policy for the future was also on the agenda for the ninth and final Dialogue Forum for Norway's membership of the UN Security Council on 17 January.

The forums – a collaboration between the MFA, PRIO, and NUPI – have been organised as round table discussions, and have brought together researchers and policymakers in Oslo throughout 2021 and 2022. They have been arenas for strategic discussions, strengthening a knowledge-based foreign policy and identifying opportunities for Norway in the Security Council.

The meetings have brought together around 80 leading Scandinavian scholars from over 25 different research institutions. The meetings were led by the State Secretary of Norway’s MFA, contributions from a broad range of experts, and decision-makers from across the Ministry, including the UN delegation in New York.

“This innovative move has facilitated a thorough and inspiring discourse between researchers and the MFA. The dialogue has supported the Ministry with state-of-the-art research on current topics on the Security Council’s agenda, such as Afghanistan, climate security, health security, the Sahel, and geopolitics. Simultaneously, the researchers have gained a greater understanding of the dynamics of the Security Council and important insight into Norway’s working methods within the Council. This collaboration has really had mutual benefit,” says NUPI senior researcher Niels Nagelhus Schia, who has worked on the project right from the idea phase.

Senior Research Fellow at NUPI Niels Nagelhus Schia (left) and Ulrika Möller, Associate Professor in Political Science at University of Gothenburg. 

Photo: NUPI


Key lessons

As mentioned, the way forward for Norway's foreign policy was discussed at the concluding meeting under the heading:

"Norway after membership in the Security Council: What are the key lessons for Norway's foreign policy priorities, multilateral engagement and UN policy going forward?"

The researchers and MFA representatives spoke, among other things, about how the term has strengthened Norway as a foreign policy actor. In addition, it was discussed how Norway should take advantage of innovative working methods and processes that were developed during the membership.


About the Dialogue Forum secretariat

The Dialogue Forum Secretariat was responsible for managing the meetings. It developed the concept and framework for each meeting and coordinated with speakers and participants ahead of the meetings. The discussion of the roundtables followed the Chatham House rule of confidentiality to ensure free speech.

The secretariat has consisted of Vegar Andreassen (UD), Niels Nagelhus Schia (NUPI), Louise Olsson (PRIO), Birthe Einen (PRIO), and Ida Rødningen (PRIO), under the strategic leadership of Andreas Løvold (UD), Ulf Sverdrup (NUPI), and Henrik Urdal (PRIO).

Read "Leaving the UN Security Council: Norway steps down" to get an overview over what NUPI published about the period Norway was a member of the UN Security Council.