This week I am in Brasilia working on AEO Brazil Phase III.
Today we had an amazing workshop between Customs, Tax, Agriculture & Tax to start the development of one of the first fully integrated ‘Single Government AEO Status’ models in the world, connecting the AEO programme & the Single Window.This means that AEO status given by Receita Federal (the Brazilian Revenue Authority) will also be acknowledged and given benefits by the other agencies. Amazing progress on te meeting today.
I love working in Brazil & with Brazilian agencies, colelagues. They show such dedication, passion, professionalism, love for their country – despite tough times in many ways.
Our man at the very top, Swedish top diplomat and super negotiator Jan Eliasson is Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations.
Swedish largest daily newspaper DN has done a long article about the work and world of Mr. Eliasson. The article is written by acknowledged journalist and writer Björn af Kleen and was published this weekend.
Let me start by saying that Jan Eliasson is a unique international leader and very few people in the world (ever) has had his CV and merits from the diplomatic world – and nobody has been negotiator in more international conflicts than Mr. Eliasson.
I have met Jan several times and we have many common friends. I can confirm that the intelligent, charming, efficient and very friendly diplomat that people meet on the world scene is the real Jan Eliasson. A remarkable person in so many different perspectives.
Björn af Kleen got the chance to follow the Deputy Secretary General for a full working week in New York. The result? A previously not told story and an unique insight in the world of diplomacy of the Deputy Secretary-General, Jan Eliasson – A warrior for peace.
Mr. Eliassons is a firm believer in governance, passion and transparance – in combination with his Scandinavian open mangenent style, it made this amazing article possible. I will quote some of it in this posting.
Since July 2012, Jan Eliasson is the Deputy Secretary General of UN.
“I’m the one who makes all policy decisions’ in the Secretary-Generals Ban-ki Moons absence, Jan Eliasson says. He is traveling all the time and he does not have time to read all the details. I sign in his place, which means that all major policy decisions’ passes through me”.
“I am responsible for the entire political sector, including peacekeeping, human rights, humanitarian issues, but overpriced the development area of Climate. But I’m not operational. There are operational departments under me. It is a privilege given to me by the Sectretary General. When he travels I hold the fort”.
As to be expected Jan Eliasson has a fantastic national and international career before joining his present post. His career includes having served as Swedish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Swedish State Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He has been Sweden’s Ambassador to Washington, D.C., United States and on 13 June 2005 he was unanimously elected President of the United Nations General Assembly, for its sixtieth session. He served as President from 13 September 2005 to 11 September 2006. He was former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palmes advisor on Foreign Policy and has since the 70s been a top negotiator in countless international crises and conflicts.
Eliasson has authored and co-authored numerous books and articles and is a frequent lecturer on foreign policy and diplomacy. Since 1988 he has been a visiting lecturer on mediation, conflict resolution and UN reform at Uppsala University.
Sweden is a candidate for a seat on the United Nations Security Council for the period 2017–2018.
Sweden has been a member of the UN Security Council on three different occasions before, namely; 1957-58, 1975-76 och 1997-98.
The last time, 97-98, Mr. Eliasson was Head of the Swedish Campaign.
“It was great”, says Jan Eliasson. “We received 153 votes (out of 181 countries), the highest number Sweden ever had. We got almost all African states, I think. I had interceded with the Palme since the early 1980s. I had a pretty good phone list”.
Eliassons four-year posting as Deputy Secretary General is the culmination of a class journey. He was born in one of the working-class district Kålltorp in Gothenburg. His dad worked at the industry SKF and at a gas station.
“Let me get personal”, says Jan Eliasson to the students in Nairobi during a lecture. “I am from Sweden. You may not believe me, but Sweden was one of the poorest countries in the 1920s and 30s. My father was engaged in the union. I was the first one in my family who graduated from high school. When I graduated, I asked my father: What triggered the change and transformation of Sweden? He said: Infrastructure. Training. And number three: We trusted the people in the state government machine. We put our best people there in government, aencies and institutions. And you know, the party [Socialdemocratic] won power in the 1950s elections promising higher taxes! Higher taxes meant education and elderly care. There you have the history of human rights and the rule of law. The importance of institutions that serve people’s interests”.
So why is it important for Sweden to be a Member if the UN Security Council? Sweden can not lift a veto. But we can expose the great powers of the press. Sweden is the Nordic region. Sweden is the EU. A strong group.
“Sweden has good position in Africa through the legacy of Palme and Hammarskjold. As a small country, Sweden has alliances as a big one. The membership in the Security Council is important. To get through a Security Council resolution you must have nine votes. Many of the non-permanent states work in teams. It was partly the pressure of the non-permanent members who helped that we actually got a resolution on Syria on 18 December” Eliasson says.
During his week in the UN building the journalist Björn af Kleen also meets with the Secretary General, Ban-ki Moon who says:
“I am very grateful to Sweden. You are a peace-loving country. In terms of development and human rights, Sweden is exemplary. Regarding your solidarity and compassion towards other people, especially refugees, you are the number one in the world per capita. I’m very impressed. One day in Sweden during my latest stay, I visited a company that hires refugees and immigrants. A company that actually is controlled by refugees. It motivates them: if this company does well then their own lives will be much better. I visited this company and met many employees – what a great idea! I then spoke with many European leaders: instead of holding them in camps, why not try to stretch the legal passages so that refugees can integrate themselves into society and thus become less of the burden, less friction”.
Kleen asks Ban Ki-moon; As Secretary-General, What have you learned from Dag Hammarskjold, the former Swedish Secretary-General of the UN (1953-1961)?
“He is my rolemodel! Unfortunately, he died in his role during a peace mission. When I was a little boy in elementary school, we learned his name. He was a hero. We all want to walk in his footsteps. His name today is synonymous with people who die during peacekeeping operations. We give them the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal”.
“You told me”, says Jan Eliasson to Ban Ki-moon, “that you wrote a letter to Dag Hammarskjold as a child”.
“Yes, it is a very personal story”, says Ban Ki-moon. “I was in sixth grade. It was 1956. A popular uprising raged in Hungary against the Soviet Union. We children in Korea did not know much about Hungary, but we knew there were revolts for freedom and democracy was going on. We discussed: what should we do? We gathered them all and as a representative of the school, I read out a letter: “Dear Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold. We are very concerned about Hungary. Please help. And when I got elected, in October 2006, I said in my speech that I hope to avoid such letters. But I still get such letters. From the concerned children. So this is my relationship with him. Although I never met Hammaskjöld, he lives with us, he’s living here in the UN building”.
The journalists last question goes to Eliasson: Why are you always working? The answer, “Because I want movement. Because I do not want the world to stand still”.
He is one of the people in the world that I admire most.
This is the article (in Swedish): Jan Eliasson UN
Britain’s EU referendum could lead to the break-up of the entire European Union”, Sweden’s foreign minister warned.
The Minister, Margot Wallstrom told BBC that a domino effect of demands for referendums and requests for preferential terms by member states could follow as a result.
“The spill-over effect will be felt, deeply felt. It would be bad either way,” she said.
The referendum in the UK will take place on 23 June. “A no in the referendum might affect other EU member states tosay: ‘Well if they can leave, maybe we should also have referendums and maybe we should also leave”, Wallström stated.
Ms Wallström also said thst she hoped the UK would remain in the EU, underlining thst Britain is an important trading partner for Sweden, one of Seedens closest partners in the Union and in addition that there are more than 90,000 Swedes living in the country.