Guiding document

The Stockholm Process 

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.

More effective sanctions - the Stockholm Process

The Stockholm Process is the third step in an international process dealing with targeted sanctions and 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 will focus on how these targeted sanctions will be implemented and monitored.

Uppsala University is undertaking the project

The Government Offices have assigned Uppsala University and its Department of Peace and Conflict research, with the task of carrying out the project. It will lead the scientific and practical work of the Stockholm Process, in accordance with the model launched by the Interlaken and Bonn/Berlin Processes.

The objective of the Stockholm Process

The purpose of the Stockholm Process is to strengthen the implementation of targeted sanctions and it is planned to present a report to the UN Security Council in the form of a handbook primarily for practical use in UN work. The Stockholm Process deals with the application of targeted sanctions and aims at providing further contributions to the current international debate on the issue. In its work, practical experience from previous and current sanction regimes will be made use of and play an important role.

The basis and organisation of the Stockholm Process

In order to achieve effective implementation of targeted sanctions, a series of measures needs to be taken simultaneously by all UN member states and the UN Secretariat. Possible elements in this chain of action may include:

  • close agreement between decisions made by the Security Council and the legislation and regulations of the member states.
  • effective monitoring mechanisms in the member states, that include not only border and airport checks, but also monitoring of bank systems, and a preparedness to intervene against or help those not observing sanctions (either consciously or as a result of capacity problems).
  • a plan for dealing with retaliatory measures from the targeted country or actor,
  • back-up for those who cooperate with the sanction objective, such as neighbouring countries or various opposition groups,
  • feed-back of information on the effects of sanctions to the UN Secretariat and the Security Council, for further revision and development of these sanctions.

The three working groups of the Stockholm Process

  1. How can the UN Secretariat strengthen its role in the implementation of sanctions?
  2. How can the will and capacity of member states to implement sanctions be strengthened?
  3. How can the accuracy of sanctions be improved and how can target groups' retaliatory action be dealt with?

These issues will be assessed on the basis of existing experience of targeted sanctions. Conclusions may vary depending on the type of sanctions being planned (financial measures, arms embargoes and travel and aviation related sanctions).

Circle of participants

The Interlaken and Bonn/Processes were undertaken in broad participation with a large number of states and other actors. The Stockholm Process has also sought to achieve broad global participation. In addition to states with experience of work on sanctions in the Security Council, international organisations, NGOs, academics and other relevant parties have been invited to take part.