Department of Peace and Conflict Research

The Stockholm Process

A Swedish initiative for more effective sanctions

The Stockholm Process was the third step in an international process dealing with targeted sanctions. It is based on proposals presented by Switzerland via the Interlaken Process and by Germany in the Bonn/Berlin Process. 

The previous processes have focused on drawing up models for financial sanctions, arms embargoes and travel and aviation related sanctions. The Stockholm Process has focused on how these targeted sanctions can be implemented and monitored.

The Swedish Government Offices have assigned Uppsala University and its Department of Peace and Conflict Research to lead the scientific and practical work. The Stockholm Process has achieved a broad global participation. States with experience of work on sanctions in the Security Council, international organisations, non-governmental organisations, academics and other relevant parties were taking part.

The Meetings

The Stockholm Process contains different types of international meetings. At the plenary meetings the entire network of the Stockholm Processes is conved, on the invitation of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs (the first one was in Gimo, Sweden, in April 2002). Then there are meetings where the core of all the working groups meets (normally in Uppsala) on the invitation of the Department of Peace and Conflict Research. In addition there are meetings of a working group and experts with particular competence, often also under the auspices of the Department or in a more informal way. 

Security Council panel on sanctions recognises the results 

18 December - After two years of deliberations, the Working Group on General Issues of Sanctions informed that they had reached consensus on many issues but remain unable to agree on recommendations for how long sanctions should be in place. Despite failures to reach a consensus on the duration and termination of sanctions the members of the Working Group agree to continue working towards achieving a consensus on these issues.

The Group has met over the past two years to consider a draft outcome document concerning the Council's use of sanctions as a policy instrument.

Group members have familiarized themselves with the results of the Interlaken, Bonn-Berlin and Stockholm Processes and find the ideas and recommendations generated in the three processes very useful as they contribute to the fine-tuning and effective implementation of sancions, said the Council President Ambassador Tafrov of Bulgaria. 

The Report

The report has emerged during a year-long process involving some 120 experts. Professor Peter Wallensteen and the research team at Uppsala University are responsible for the Report. It is a non-binding document for all other participants in the Stockholm Process. The Stockholm Process has dealt with improving the application of targeted sanctions, i.e. sanctions that are directed at certain decision-makers and at particular goods and services. 

The Final Report includes recommendations on increasing the effectiveness of the UN system and on improving Member State capacity in sanctions implementation. It also suggests measures to be taken in cases of sanctions evasion. The report has specific recommendations for arms embargoes, financial sanctions, travel and aviations bans, and for targeted trade sanctions. 

Introduction of the Stockholm Report

The Stockholm Report was presented at a workshop on sanctions reform at Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA, May 2-3, 2003. On April 15, 2003 the Stockholm Report was introduced to the Committee for the Common Defense and Security Policy of the European Union by Prof. Peter Wallensteen.

The UN Security Council and the importance of targeted sanctions

The Charter of the United Nations empowers the Security Council to take various measures in order to exert influence on states and actors and thus safeguard international peace and security. As a rule when peace is threatened, the Security Council first tries to use non-military sanctions, such as arms embargoes or breaking off economic, diplomatic and other relations. The Council's demands may be presented in the form of binding decisions, resolutions or recommendations. It is therefore essential that sanctions are both effective, humane and targeted. 


The result of the Stockholm Process was presented to the UN Security Council on February 25, 2003.