Policy Areas

Human Security. Norway’s participation in peace processes

In his speech “Prospects for Human Security in the 21st Century” held at a symposium in Vancouver, Canada, 4 February, the Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jan Petersen, stressed that in a globalised age, home affairs and foreign affairs can rarely be separated. Threats know no borders and security is indivisible. That is also the main reason why Norway tries to play a role as a facilitator in supporting the parties in conflicts around the world.

11/02/2005 :: It is only through joint action that the international community will be able to meet the terrorist threat and therefore it is positive that regional organisations like the EU and NATO are taking an active part in fighting the terrorist networks, Mr. Petersen underlined. ”Regardless of whether we are large or small nations, in America or Europe, we are all dependent on multilateral solutions in the end”, he said.

The Minister informed the audience that Norway has been involved in various ways, and to different degrees, in peace and reconciliation processes around the world since the early 1990s. This is an important Norwegian foreign policy priority. In Asia, apart from Sri Lanka, Norway is working in the Philippines and has supported the peace efforts in Aceh, Indonesia. In Africa, Norwegians are engaged in Ethiopia/Eritrea and in Sudan. In Latin America Norway was involved in the process in Guatemala, and is still engaged in Colombia and Haiti. And, perhaps most notably, Norway played a well-known role in the Middle East peace process through the ‘Oslo Channel’ and is still playing a role in the region, now as chair of the AHLC, the donor group for Palestinians which brings together major donors, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the Quartet, Israel and the Palestinians.

Norway’s participation in peace processes takes many forms. It ranges from official facilitation of negotiations, as in Sri Lanka and the Philippines, to sponsoring a back channel for secret negotiations, as in the Middle East, to being part of an international coalition, as in Ethiopia/Eritrea, Somalia, Colombia, Guatemala, and Sudan and to the provision of humanitarian assistance. Promoting peace is a responsibility that all countries share. No individual country is strong enough to bring about peace on its own, Mr. Petersen stressed.

To read the whole statement, click on the link on the right side of this page.


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Foreign Minister Petersen and the Norwegian Ambassador to Canada, Ingvar Havnen, at the symposium in CanadaPhoto: Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ottawa