Tag Archives: Sweden

Hubei Province Seeks to further Cooperate with Sweden in All Aspects

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Many Chinese delegations visited Sweden and signed contracts and then went back but seldom come back. Swedish complained. But Vice governor of Hubei Province Zhao Haishan said they are serious about cooperation with Sweden at a grand promotion ceremony held in Stockholm on Thursday also marking the 69th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sweden.

Tomas Lagqvist, Chairman of Sweden-China Trade Council gave an opening remark at the promotion event.
Chinese Ambassador Gui Congyou gave an opening remark at the promotion event.

Chinese Ambassador Gui Congyou said China pays great attention to economic and trade relations with Sweden , especially against the background of “trade war” with the U.S. China is willing to cooperate with Sweden. For two years Sweden has surplus in trade and investment with China due to big project such as Geely. China hopes Both sides continue to increase investment to each other. Sweden has become the largest trade partner with China outside the EU. Chinese embassy also seeks to see more cooperation between Hubei province and Sweden.

Zhao Haishan said at the promotion conference that Hubei and Sweden are not new in cooperation. After many years of cooperation and rapid development in China, Hubei province has decided to pay greater attention to cooperation with Sweden because of their complementary factors for each other.

Zhao said Hubei is complete in industrial systems and loves to further sustainable development where Sweden is in the good position. Hubei province also has great automobile industry and he was impressed by visiting Volvo cars in Gothenburg. He said Hubei has 128 universities and 1.5 million university students, which are both talents and consumers.

The huge delegation consists of about 80 members from different cities and companies. Three women vice mayors from Wuhan, Xiangyang and Yichang came along to have a presentation about their respective cities.

Hubei province is the center of China and the communication hub for Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Xian as well as Chengdu in terms of Belt and Road Initiative. Why? Because all the goods that are exported to Europe or other BRI countries via Xinjiang will go through Wuhan.

The promotion event was held by Hubei province and organized by the Department of Commerce of Hubei Provincial government and supported by the Chinese Embassy. Han Xiaodong, Counselor of Commerce of Chinese Embassy attended the conference. Elisabeth Söderberg Secretary General of Sweden China Trade Council presided over the conference

Qin Jun, Director General of the Department of Commerce said that Hubei province held a China-Nordic Exhibition gallery in Shanghai Import Expo last November. They saw great interest from nordic countries and this event is also a follow up for last Novermber’s Shanghai’s CIIE expo, but also a preparation for this coming november’s event. So they have prepared for the signing of 16 projects between Chinese and Swedish and Norwegian counterparts.

Further more, Vice governor Zhao Haishan and Qinjun and other members from Bank of China in Huibei province even visited Gavleborg and met governor Per Bill.

After their remarks to express further willingness and intention for further cooperation, they also witnessed the signing of a project in sugar reduction between Holee and THIS Less is More Community Nordic AB..

The vice governor of Hubei and his 16 member delegation also visited the Gavle Innovation Hub and observed how the hot chokolate without sugar were made. They also tasted many kinds of reduced sugar products.

Qin Jun said they are very serious about these agreements and will have further follow-up about them.

Hubei province has already cooperation with Norway in Salmon equipment production and now they like to cooperate with Sweden too. The delegations also went to Iceland, Finland, Denmark and Norway.

Photo by Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Acupuncture Science Association Sweden(ASAS) doctors participated in the International TCM Minimally Invasive Pain Summit Forum

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Oct. 18(Greenpost)– Three  representatives of Acupuncture Science Association Sweden  participated in the International TCM Minimally Invasive Pain Summit Forum October 13-14, 2018, co-sponsored by China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine International TCM Minimally Invasive Community, the Chinese Medicine Research Promotion Association Chinese Medicine Minimally Invasive Professional Committee, the Henan Provincial Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine Pain Society, and the Henan Soft Tissue Disease Research Association.

The International Forum on Minimally Invasive Pain Development of Traditional Chinese Medicine was held in Zhengzhou City. President of ASAS, Yang Chungui, Vice President Zhang Dongqing, and  Dr. Li Jian attended the forum. On the eve of the formal convening of the forum, Chinese  Academician Shi Xuemin and Master Tang Zuxuan arrived successively too. Both experts are honorary presidents of ASAS. Under the leadership of Master Wu Hanqing (Master Wu is also the honorary president of the ASAS), Doctor Yang, Zhang and Li got the chance to meet the academicians.

The latter three reported to  Academicians Shi, Tang and Master Wu about the development of ASAS, and witnessed the process of Master Tang receiving students.

On October 13, when the forum officially opened, President Yang, as the vice chairman of the International Chinese Medicine Minimally Invasive Community of the Chinese Medicine Association, sat in the first row of the rostrum.

Vice President Zhang and Li Jian sat in the first row of VIP seats.

Vice President Zhang and Li Lizhi were also employed as executive directors of the International Chinese Medicine Mini-invasion Community of the Chinese Medicine Association.

Experts such as Academician Shi Xuemin, Master Tang Zuxuan and Master Wu Hanqing gave wonderful lectures at the forum. The theme of this forum is acupuncture treatment for pain. Acupuncture in Sweden’s legislation needs to elaborate the mechanism of acupuncture treatment of pain, Yang, Zhang and Li listened carefully to the lectures of the experts, and were deeply inspired to deepen the understanding of acupuncture treatment of pain and to strengthen the confidence of acupuncture in Swedish legislation. Afterwards, President Yang, Vice President Zhang and Li Jian also participated in the “Three-dimensional Anatomical Class of Water Needle Knife”. Through field anatomy, they intuitively and deeply understood the water needle knife such as the “three-way positioning of the fourteen meridian muscle fascia zone”. The advanced technology and safety points of acupuncture operation will lay the foundation for a new acupuncture technical lecture on acupuncture safety technology lectures and acupuncture and needle technology to solve the problem of myofascial problems. President Yang, Vice President Zhang and Director Li obtained the certificates of study after completing the anatomy class.

Under the recommendation of Prof. Wu Hanqing, Chairman of the International Society of Traditional Chinese Medicine Mini-invasive Community of the Chinese Society of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Honorary President of ASAS, accompanied by Dean Zhou Youlong, School of International Education, Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  President Yang, Vice President Zhang and Doctor Li Jian visited the Henan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

With that, three representatives of ASAS concluded their academic exchange during the International TCM Minimally Invasive Pain Summit Forum.

Edited by Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Commemorating 9.11, condemning terrorist attack against Afghan journalists

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM(Greenpost)– Today marks the 17th anniversary of terrorist attacks on the twin towers in the United States on Sept. 11, 2018.

Even though the United States had been acting as the world police, it didn’t justify the terrorist attacks against civilians in the twin towers.

Terrorism is the enemy of mankind who love peace and development.

Unfortunately today the terrorist action still exist.

At least 16 people have been killed recently  in two explosions in Kabul including two of TOLOnews’ journalists.

Samim Faramarz, journalist, and Ramiz Ahmadi, cameraman, lost their lives in an explosion in Kabul city on Wednesday night while covering an earlier bombing.

The first explosion happened at around 6pm Kabul time, targeting a wrestling gym in Qala-e-Nazer area in Kabul’s PD6.

The first explosion was a suicide bombing while the second explosion was a car bombing that according to officials left at least 16 people dead and 65 others wounded.

Farmarz had been reporting live from the scene of the first explosion on TOLOnews 6pm bulletin – just minutes before the explosion happened.

Faramarz started working at TOLOnews three years ago. Despite his activities in culture, he continued with making dozens of reports on corruption, security situation, political issues, electoral issues, suicide attacks in Kabul and other parts of the country, and documentaries.

He was 28 and was an exceptional person among his colleagues with a smiling face and a kind heart. The last post on his Facebook is about his work as a reporter.

Ramiz Ahmadi, like Faramarz, was leading in his profession as a cameraman at TOLOnews. He pictured many reports from war-hit areas in the country.

He worked for TOLOnews for four years and besides that he was a law student at a private university in Kabul.

Ahmadi was 23 years old and was always trying to support his family besides continuing his education.

His last post of Facebook was from one of his provincial trips for covering a story.

This comes after TOLOnews lost another employee in an explosion in Kabul this year in April.

On January 2016, a suicide bombing took the lives of seven TOLOnews staff members. This is the second black Wednesday for Afghanistan’s media family.

PROFOCA and Green Post strongly condemned this terrorist action against innocent journalists and civilians.

Said Najib Asil is Executive Producer from Tolonews in Afghanistan.  He said he lost two wonderful colleagues and best journalists in his organization.

In an interview with Greenpost in Xinjiang Uygor Autonomous Region, Asil said Afghanistan is suffering from the dispute between many other countries. Afghan issue is really not just a domestic issue.

He said Belt and Road Initiative is a great initiative, but China must solve the security issue along the border with Afghanistan because there is terrorist threat there.

He said the issue can only be solved through negotiations among Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, China, and other relevant partners.

Over the years, Afghanistan has suffered from Russian occupation, Taliban cruel rule and US involvement.  All these factors caused Afghanistan to be a country that almost every family has lost one or two of their relatives.

This was also the root cause why Afghan young people wanted to go abroad because they were fed up with the conflict and violence.  And they like to go to European countries such as Sweden.

In Sweden, to receive the orphan children was not just today’s issue. Six or seven years ago, I heard from Save the Children that there were Afghan children coming to Sweden without any document.  They think from children’s point of view, Sweden should receive them.

Thus a total of about two or three thousand Afghan children were received in Sweden.

As time goes by, these people of course now are more than teenagers.

History should not be forgotten, but terrorist action should be condemned and uprooted. How to do that?  Najib  Asil said Afghanistan should prioritise education so that the young people can quickly improve their education level and serve the country’s long term peace and development.

Terrorists were often the people who had low education and were brain washed easily.

It is hoped that world leaders especially the Asian leaders can take the opportunities offered by the Belt and Road Initiative put up forward by Chinese President Xi Jinping and be united in solving the peace and development issue in order to have a common bright future in Asia, as well as in the world.

It is believed that the Belt and Road Initiative is purely by the countries, for the countries and without any coercion or other intentions, it is purely for the common good, while of course good for both China and the world because China likes to see a peaceful and prosperous world.

Sweden to allocate a further 80 million kronor to contribute to improving the global marine environment

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

STOCKHOLM, Aug. 10(Greenpost) — In connection with the one-year anniversary of the UN Ocean Conference in New York co-chaired by Sweden and Fiji, the Government has decided to finance a number of new international ocean projects. To continue demonstrating leadership, the Government is allocating a further SEK 80 million to contribute to improving the global marine environment.

“Action for clean and healthy oceans is a government priority. The Ocean Conference was a breakthrough for global ocean action and now it’s a matter of implementing the impressive to-do list drawn up by governments, business and other stakeholders. These initiatives will contribute to this action,” says Isabella Lövin, Minister for International Development Cooperation and Climate.

The Government’s global ocean action focuses on four areas: reducing the impact of climate change on the oceans, reducing marine litter, reducing destructive and illegal fishing and strengthening the protection of marine areas.

The SEK 80 million will go to a total of 15 different international projects, related in various ways to the four priorities. Continued efforts to reduce marine litter is a particular focus area the Government is working actively in, both nationally and internationally.

“Plastics in the oceans is a huge problem. But since the Ocean Conference, things have begun to happen. More and more countries are addressing the unsustainable use of single-use plastic, the use of intentionally added microplastics in a range of products, and the need to rid beaches and coastal areas of plastic waste. A great deal remains to be done, but there is hope,” says Minister for the Environment Karolina Skog.

Sweden takes its seat on the UN Security Council

Stockholm, Jan. 5(Greenpost)–Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström will visit New York during Jan. 8-11 to meet the new General Secretary and lead a ministerial debate.

Photo: Kristian Pohl / Government Offices of Sweden

The following is her opinion article:

Sweden’s non-permanent membership of the UN Security Council has begun. In January, Sweden will also hold the Security Council presidency.

This comes at a time marked by many complex conflicts. Syria continues to be a nightmare. Tensions in our neighbourhood have increased. The EU and the UN, established in the post-war period to maintain peace, are being questioned. Increasingly, voices are being raised for isolationism and nationalism.

This is why we have no time to lose if we want to make a difference and have a positive influence on developments in the world. In 1954, Dag Hammarskjöld, the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, said: “The UN was not created to take humanity to heaven, but to save it from hell.” His words feel more relevant today than for a long time.

While problems do exist in the Security Council, we have recently seen evidence that progress is possible. On 23 December, the Security Council adopted the first resolution on the peace process in the Middle East in eight years. The resolution represents an important clarification, based on international law, of the international community’s views on the settlements.

On 1 January, as Sweden assumed its place on the Security Council, António Guterres became the new Secretary-General of the United Nations. We are encouraged by his vision statement, with its focus on strengthening the UN’s ability to prevent armed conflicts. We intend to build on this during Sweden’s presidency in January. We want to:

  1. Give António Guterres a good start. We intend to contribute to laying the foundations for an active and constructive relationship between the Security Council and the new Secretary-General. This is essential to enable the UN to take on the many peace and security challenges.
  2. Highlight the UN’s conflict prevention efforts and the link between women, peace and security. The UN must be much more effective at preventing the lapse and relapse into armed conflict, including women in peace processes and seeing the nexus between peace, security and development. We need early warnings of risks and impending crises. These must then be followed by early action, be it mediation or more forceful measures. Women’s active participation in peace processes is a strategic issue for international peace and security. And it is both right and smart: studies show that peace agreements last longer when women are at the negotiating table. The voices of Syrian women, Somali women and other women must be heard in the Security Council.
  3. Improve the Security Council’s working methods. We want to contribute to a Security Council that is more effective, transparent and legitimate. Our working methods will be characterised by transparency and dialogue in a way that will help build both support and confidence. A range of peace actors, including civil society, should be involved.

Next week, on 10 January, Sweden will host a ministerial-level open debate on conflict prevention. We cannot ignore the warning signs, and then the next minute add another armed conflict – and more human suffering – to the Security Council agenda.

The debate will be the Secretary-General’s first formal meeting with the Security Council. The aim is to give him and the Member States a basis for strengthening the UN’s efforts to prevent the lapse and relapse into conflict.

We are well prepared. Sweden has been an observer in the Council and held consultations with all its members. At home, we have engaged in dialogues with the Riksdag and civil society, and we have established an expert reference council.

As a member of the Security Council, Sweden will be responsible, professional, credible, dialogue-oriented and open. Sweden’s foreign policy is firmly rooted in international law, human rights, gender equality and a humanitarian perspective. Sweden will continue to combat violations of the prohibition of the use of force enshrined in the UN Charter, of human rights and of international humanitarian law. The use of the veto must be limited – especially in cases of mass atrocities such as in Syria.

As a Council member, most of our time will be dedicated to managing the situations, crises and operations that dominate the Council’s work and agenda. And as the Council’s agenda is driven by events – a conflict can flare up anytime – we must be prepared for the unexpected.

The international community is increasingly confronted with new challenges, such as pandemics, natural disasters, climate change and cyber threats. The entire UN system needs to manage these new types of threats to international peace and security in the 21st century.

UN peace operations must be more effective. At the same time, the Security Council, which formulates mandates for operations, must consider the capacity available to carry out the task. The sexual violence perpetrated by international troops against civilians in areas including the Central African Republic is completely unacceptable. Sweden will vigorously pursue demands for an effective zero tolerance policy.

Sweden will safeguard UN cooperation with regional organisations, not least peace and security cooperation with the EU and the African Union. As an active member of both the UN and the EU, Sweden naturally intends to contribute to strengthening cooperation between them.

There are no simple solutions to the world’s many conflicts or to the tensions in the Security Council. Patient and long-term efforts are what is required. Standing up for principles and dialogue or continuing to promote gender mainstreaming can be thankless and at times difficult. Yet to build the common security and sustainable peace we believe in, it must be done.

And we will do so from our perspective as an open country that is dependent on the rest of the world in this age of globalisation. It is essential for us that the countries of the world solve problems together, and that bloodshed on the battlefield is replaced with patience at the negotiating table. Sweden will contribute to upholding the international order, at the heart of which lie the United Nations and the Security Council. Over the next two years we will do this as a member of the Security Council.

Sweden was convincingly elected to the United Nations Security Council – with 134 votes. The countries of the world have spoken. Now it’s up to us to shoulder the responsibility that awaits.

Margot Wallström
Minister for Foreign Affairs

Sweden becomes a member of the UN Security Council

STOCKHOLM, June 29(Greenpost)–Sweden has been elected to the United Nations Security Council 2017-2018, announced Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström on Tuesday.


“Six months ago we were considered to be out of the running. Today we have a seat on the Security Council. This is a great victory for Swedish foreign policy and Swedish diplomacy,” said Wallström in a statement.

“For a government that stands for solidarity and cooperation, a seat on the Security Council is an acknowledgement that a global policy for sustainable peace and development pays off. For the United Nations, this means that one of its largest donors is taking its engagement and ideas, along with its demands for reform and change, into the organisation’s innermost room,” said the statement.

“During our two-year term, we will take our share of responsibility for international peace and security that membership of the Security Council entails. On 1 January 2017, when we take our seat at the table that has become a symbol of world affairs, we will do so as President, at the same time as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations takes office,” said Wallström.

Sweden’s candidacy was based on issues and on a belief in dialogue and diplomacy as tools. Deeper contacts with many countries around the world have given us a better understanding of how today’s challenges are perceived and experienced, but also a basis for advancing Sweden’s vision of democracy and human rights, gender equality and development. This is also how Sweden will work as a member:” we will listen to those concerned, defend those who need to be defended and stand up for those we believe in”.

Security, development and gender equality are interlinked. Poor countries run a much greater risk of being affected by conflict. Sweden will work to make the Security Council better at acting before conflicts erupt.

“We will work to make the Security Council see the nexus between security, development, climate and gender equality. We will work to highlight the perspective of women in conflict situations. Half of the world’s population cannot be excluded if we want to achieve sustainable peace,” said Wallström in the statement.

Wallström said the UN must become more open – even more open. “We want to work for greater transparency and openness in the Security Council. We want to talk with countries, rather than about countries. We want to strengthen dialogue with civil society, women’s organisations and other peace actors. This is how to build a peaceful world.”

She said Sweden will deal with issues on the Security Council agenda on the basis of Swedish values. “The last time we had a seat on the Security Council, we were always the ones to emphasise international law and human rights. And that’s how it will be this time too.”

The situation in Sweden’s neighbourhood and the fact that our European security order is being challenged demonstrate the importance of respect for international rules and principles. “This perspective will be central during our two-year term on the Security Council,”.

Sweden will be a member of the UN security Council from January 1, 2017.

“We will be doing so at a time when, all around the world, uncertainty and insecurity are taking a toll on people’s lives, and the need to work together to build sustainable peace and resilient communities has never been clearer. We will do so because we are convinced that as a small and open country dependent on the rest of the world, it is in our interest to contribute to and defend the international order that has at its core the United Nations and the Security Council. And we will do so because we believe we can make a difference – through our policies, our values and our engagement,” the statement said.

Sweden to seek UN Security Membership

Av Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Stockholm, Oct. 24(Greenpost)–Saturday marks the United Nations Day. Sweden is seeking a membership in the United Nations according to a statement from the Swedish government.

“We are celebrating the UN Day because we are doing so in a world that is more uncertain than for many years and in which the United Nations is needed more than ever. Global crises and challenges require common solutions.” the statement said.

Minister for International Development Co-operation, Ms Isabella Lövin, Prime Minister Mr Stefan Löfven, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Margot Wallström
Minister for International Development Co-operation, Ms Isabella Lövin, Prime Minister Mr Stefan Löfven, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ms Margot WallströmFoto: Martina Huber/Regeringskansliet

The statement explained that Sweden is ready to assume its share of responsibility. This is why Sweden is strengthening its engagement in the UN and why we are seeking a seat on the Security Council for 2017–2018.

The reason Sweden seeks the membership is that Sweden’s UN policy contributes to peace, security, sustainable development and gender equality. It is part of a solidarity-based foreign policy and a means for responding to crises that affect us.

Sweden is one of the top contributors to the UN. “We contribute personnel to peace operations, aid, climate financing and humanitarian assistance. Our contributions also include engagement, resources and ideas.” said the statement.

“We also set clear requirements for a modern, effective, transparent and legitimate United Nations that is equipped to meet future challenges and take advantage of future opportunities.” according to the statement.

Sweden strives for gender equality in film industry

Stockholm, Aug. 22(Greenpost)– Sweden is striving for gender equality in film industry as voices are getting louder in the global film industry regarding gender inequality.

(Video:    http://mediaroom.sweden.se/)

A growing body of research and statistics points to what many have been arguing for decades: women are not represented equally behind or in front of the camera.

The Swedish film industry has certainly been no different. Back to 2012, with only 32 percent of Swedish state-funded features produced by women, and women directors and screenwriters underrepresented, Anna Serner, CEO of the Swedish Film Institute (SFI), decided that something needed to be done.

Serner explains, “When I started three and a half years ago, we had an assignment to aim for a 40/60 average of long feature films, in the key positions of director, screenwriter and producer. Of course this always means 40 percent women, but I would say that you should always aim for 50/50 over time”.

Serner has become a bit of a rock-star figure internationally in championing gender equality in the film industry. Her proactive, no-nonsense approach with its proven results has gained worldwide attention from the film industry and media alike.

“What I did was to be very clear in the goal and made an action plan for reaching the goal by the end of 2015. And it took us (only) two and a half years, to reach the goal”.

With four out of five Swedish feature film receiving funding from SFI, their “Towards Gender Equality in Film Production ” action plan naturally had a major effect on what films have been made. Being  expected with any shake-up to the existing system, arguments and criticism ensued from both the creative and the business sides of the industry. Even neighboring Scandinavian countries with a similar film funding system questioned the need for such an aggressive program.

Serner’s views have remained steady. “One very common argument is that you shouldn’t do this because it limits the creativity, the freedom of speech and the quality of the artistic level of films. I would say exactly the opposite, actually, that you need gender equality and you need to get the underrepresented voices… to get quality”.

Who gets to make films is one important aspect of equality in the film industry, how women are represented in front of the camera is another.

Sweden also attracted an unexpected amount of worldwide attention for an initiative by a small art house movie theatre in Stockholm.

Ellen Tejle, Director of Bio Rio, explains,

“Back in 2013, we read that only 30% of women in film had speaking roles, and it got us thinking, ‘We need to do something ourselves! But we don’t produce films, we are just showing them’”.

What the theatre did was to develop the world’s first film classification, “A-rate”, to show if a film passes The Bechdel Test. The Bechdel Test was inspired by American animator Alison Bechdel’s idea from 30 years ago, a basic measure to see if women are fairly represented in a film.

For a film to pass The Bechdel Test, the movie must • have at least two female characters • they must both have names • they must talk to each other about something other than a man. As simple as it was, the “A-rate” campaign sent a shock wave through the industry and media from over eighty countries picked up the story.

The Bechdel Test was used in a number of analyses that followed including the oft-quoted analysis in 2014 by New York based FiveThirtyEight, showing that, of Hollywood films produced since 1990, those which passed the Bechdel test actually had a better return on investment.

Tejle cautions, “We realize that the Bechdel Test is only one tool to evaluate film, and it is not a guarantee of quality or equality, but it gets people talking about women’s representation. I know that, since A-Rate, people have been changing their scripts and changing the casting, and that’s amazing!”.

If Serner has anything to say about it, Sweden will continue to push the gender quality question forward .

“Women tell stories with a new perspective, and that’s what feels new, original, and unique. “ She adds with a smile, “There are a lot of countries that talk about things, but we are the only country that actually does things! You can criticize and you can have opposition, but that is a way of making progress”.

Sweden’s view of the new climate agreement

Stockholm, Aug. 21(Greenpost)–From 30 November to 11 December, the world’s leaders will gather in Paris for the twenty-first session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The session is particularly important since the countries are to agree on a new global climate agreement that will apply from 2020.

The Government wants to see a global, fair and legally binding climate agreement that will help keep global warming as far below two degrees Celsius as possible. The agreement must allow countries to take ever more ambitious emission reduction measures over time.

Sweden wants to see legally binding emissions limitation commitments for all countries. All countries should contribute according to their responsibilities and respective capabilities. Sweden also wants the agreement to cover support to low-income countries’ implementation of measures for both emission reductions and adaptation. Support should cover financing, technology diffusion and capacity-building. In particular, support is needed to strengthen efforts in the poorest and most vulnerable countries.

Being able to measure, report and verify countries’ emissions is a prerequisite for stronger commitments over time. The agreement must therefore contain fundamental principles for a common regulatory framework for transparency and monitoring of countries’ commitments and implementation.

All countries should present their contributions to the new agreement in good time before the Paris session. The EU’s decision to reduce emissions by at least 40 per cent by 2030 is an important step, but a higher level of ambition is needed from both the EU and other parties that have submitted their bids.

The Government considers that a higher level of ambition prior to 2020 is important, both to close the gap between what countries are doing and necessary emission reductions, and to build confidence in the negotiations.

Much work remains before a new agreement can be put into place

Many difficult issues remain to be solved before and during the session in Paris, including what parts of the new agreement should be legally binding, how adaptation and emission reductions can be given equal political importance in the agreement, how climate financing can increase and which countries should contribute.

Reaching a global climate agreement in Paris is expected to be a major challenge, and even if an agreement is reached it will not provide a complete solution to the problem of climate change. The new agreement is needed to create a platform for more ambitious climate commitments and enhanced global action in the years ahead. However, a number of political and technical issues will remain after Paris, for example the detailed reporting regulations and market mechanisms under the new agreement.

Sweden’s strategy ahead of COP21

Stockholm, Aug.19(Greenpost)–Sweden has drawn up a strategy that is to guide Sweden’s work ahead of the climate change conference, COP21, in Paris later this year, according to a statement published in the government website.

The strategy identifies priorities and positions in the Government’s climate policy at national, EU and international level.

The objectives and parts of the strategy

The overarching objective of the strategy is for the UN climate change conference in Paris in 2015 to result in a global, fair and legally binding climate agreement that helps to keep global warming as far below two degrees as possible over time. The strategy rests on three pillars:

  • Sweden is to be a leading country and tighten its national climate policy. Sweden is also pushing for the EU to raise its ambitions in terms of emissions reductions.
  • The new climate agreement needs to be dynamic so that countries’ binding emissions targets can be subsequently raised.
  • A good agreement will only be achieved if willing countries cooperate. Sweden is to prioritise cooperation with the countries that are also pushing for an ambitious agreement and that are most vulnerable to      the effects of climate change.

Climate change hits the already vulnerable the hardest

The effects of climate change affect all countries, but poor and vulnerable countries that do not have the resources to adapt to the changes are particularly hard hit. All countries must make the transition to a sustainable society with low emissions and high resilience to the effects of climate change. If done properly, a transition of this kind also has positive effects on economic development and poverty reduction, energy security and improved health, as well as important environmental targets such as clean air.

It is also important to take account of the challenges that come with such a transition. Sweden is encouraging a broader discussion on how the global investment flows can be aligned so that they support socially, economically and environmentally sustainable development with a considerably smaller prevalence of fossil fuels. Important global components include putting a price on carbon dioxide and not subsidising fossil energy.

Raised climate ambitions needed

A new climate agreement under the UN is crucial for international climate efforts. The agreement should be guided by science and include emissions commitments that, over time, can limit global warming to a level as far below two degrees as possible. This will require a higher level of climate ambition as well as new, enhanced initiatives in every country of the world and among central actors, including Sweden and the EU.

COP 21 can provide the political momentum to push forward a higher level of ambition concerning emission reductions also in the EU. Progress is needed regarding both emissions reductions and climate adaptation. Climate financing is important to strengthen climate action. Other tools and instruments for implementation, such as technology development, technology diffusion and capacity development, are also key to achieving the higher climate ambitions. Climate financing will be a crucial issue for whether the world can agree on a new climate agreement in Paris.

Repo rate cut to −0.35 per cent and purchases of government bonds extended by SEK 45 billion

Repo rate cut to −0.35 per cent and purchases of government bonds extended by SEK 45 billion

By Xuefei Chen Axelsson

Stockholm, July 3 (Greenpost)– Swedish Riksbanken has decided to cut repo rate to minus 0.35 percent.

“Inflation is rising and economic activity in Sweden is continuing to strengthen. But uncertainty abroad has increased and it is difficult to assess the consequences of the situation in Greece. Since the repo-rate decision in April, the krona has also become stronger than the Riksbank had forecast and the development of the exchange rate remains a risk to the upturn in inflation. In this uncertain environment, monetary policy needs to be even more expansionary to ensure that inflation continues to rise towards the target of 2 per cent,” explained the central bank in a statement on July 2.

Gruppbild på Riksbankens direktionsmedlemmar 2015
Gruppbild på Riksbankens direktionsmedlemmar 2015

The Executive Board of the Riksbank has therefore decided to cut the repo rate by 0.10 percentage points to -0.35 percent and to extend the purchases of government bonds by a further SEK 45 billion with effect from September and until the end of the year.

It is expected that Swedish GDP growth rate will be 2.9 percent in 2015 and 3.6 percent in 2016.

The following is the Q&A with Governor Stefan Ingves:

Governor Stefan Ingves, what does the decision on a negative repo rate entail?

Governor Stefan Ingves. Photo: Karlberg Media ABGovernor Stefan Ingves explains here what the decision to cut the repo rate to -0.25 per cent means for households and banks in practice.

Why do we have a negative repo rate when things seem to be going fairly well for Sweden?

“GDP growth is fairly good and the labour market is strengthening gradually, but inflation is too low in relation to the Riksbank’s target for inflation. In recent months, inflation has begun to rise and the repo rate needs to be this low so we can be sure that inflation will continue to rise and attain the target. It is important that this happens as the inflation is the keystone for stable economic development in Sweden. The target functions as a benchmark for expectations in the economy and thereby lays the foundation for efficient price-setting and wage formation. Many people assume that inflation will be around 2 per cent. They should be able to rely on this being the case.”

What does a negative repo rate mean for a normal household

“The Riksbank’s repo rate is negative. But this does not necessarily mean that the lending rates charged to households and companies will be negative. These interest rates are usually higher than the repo rate. But one might expect that interest rates will be unusually low in the coming years.”

Does it mean that the banks will now expect their customers to pay to make bank deposits?
“Our repo rate has been cut to just below zero. Normally, this would lead to somewhat lower interest rates for households and companies, which would in turn increase consumption and investment. It is too early to say whether this will lead to the banks beginning to charge their customers when they deposit money and it is something the banks must decide for themselves.”

What is the message to all small-scale depositors who are worried that their money will be eaten up by interest payments?

“We are in an unusual situation. The economy is performing fairly well, but inflation is too low and the international situation is uncertain. A repo rate just below zero gives a further boost to household consumption and company investment. Together with the repo-rate cuts we have made earlier, this gives higher inflation in the long run and higher interest rates, which will also benefit all savers. It will take us back to a more normal situation in the Swedish economy and this will be good for us all.”

What does the negative interest rate entail for the banks?

“When the repo rate is negative, the banks have to pay when they need to deposit money with the Riksbank. The banks can either invest money for a whole week by buying Riksbank Certificates or overnight through so-called fine-tuning transactions. When they buy Riksbank Certificates, the banks have to pay the repo rate, that is, -0.25 per cent. For overnight deposits, the banks pay a fine-tuning interest rate that is the repo rate minus 0.10 per cent, that is, -0.35 per cent.”

H & M Six-month report shows increases

H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB Six-month report

STOCKHOLM, June 25(Greenpost) Due to well-received collections for all brands in the H&M group, the H&M group’s sales excluding VAT increased by 23 percent to SEK 86,143 m (69,970) during the first six months of the financial year. In local currencies the increase was 12 percent.
Profit after financial items amounted to SEK 13,158 m (11,129), an increase of 18 percent. The group’s profit after tax increased to SEK 10,066 m (8,458), corresponding to SEK 6.08 (5.11) per share, an increase of 19 percent.

Sales in the period 1 June – 23 June 2015 increased by 14 percent in local currencies compared to the same period last year.

H&M’s first store in Macau was very well received on its opening in June.The H&M group plans a net addition of around 400 new stores for the financial year 2014/2015. In total, H&M will expand its retail stores into five new markets in 2015, Taiwan, Peru, Macau, South Africa and India.

Starting from July 2015, H&M Beauty will gradually be launched in 900 H&M stores in 40 markets as well as online.

“The strong sales development has continued for all our brands with a sales increase in SEK of 23 percent excluding VAT during the first half-year. Including VAT, this means that sales in the first half amounted to more than SEK 100 billion, ” said CEO Karl-Johan Persson.

Profits have also developed well in the first half-year, with an increase of 19 percent – this despite the fact that the increasingly strong US dollar has resulted in increased purchasing costs and that we have continued to increase our long-term investments compared to last year.

In March and April we also opened eight new H&M online markets – Poland, Portugal, Romania, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary and Belgium – which were all very well received. With the opening of H&M shop online in Switzerland in the autumn, H&M will have 22 online markets.

In parallel with our online expansion, we are continuing to open stores at a fast pace.

“We are aiming to open approximately 400 new stores net this year. We have had many successful openings so far this year. For example, the opening in Lima, Peru, is one of our strongest ever when it comes to sales. Other places where we have also had great store openings include New York’s Herald Square – we opened the group’s largest store in terms of floor space here in May – and Macau, where we opened in June. Later in the second half of the year we are looking forward to opening in two interesting and large markets – India and South Africa, where we will open in New Delhi and Cape Town.” he said.

H & M Hennes & Mauritz AB (publ) was founded in Sweden in 1947 and is quoted on Nasdaq Stockholm. H&M’s business idea is to offer fashion and quality at the best price in a sustainable way. In addition to H&M, the group includes the brands COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday, & Other Stories as well as H&M Home. The H&M group has more than 3,600 stores in 59 markets including franchise markets. In 2014, sales including VAT amounted to more than SEK 176.6 billion and the number of employees was more than 132,000. 


HeForShe campaign launched in Sweden

HeForShe launched in Sweden

 Stockholm, June 24 (Greenpost)–On 18 June, the United Nations global HeForShe campaign for gender equality was launched in Sweden, according to Swedish government website www.regeringen.se.
The objective is to show that gender equality is not a women’s issue, but an issue for women and men alike. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s message was that more men need to take a stand for gender equality and that he will personally take the lead and implement a broad agenda for greater gender equality in Sweden.
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
    Bild 1/2

    Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women

    Photo: Martina Huber/Government Offices

  • Prime Minister Stefan Löfven
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    Prime Minister Stefan Löfven

    Photo: Martina Huber/Government Offices

    The Government is now focusing on three measures in gender equality work: gender-equal working conditions, more women at the top in business and the public sector, and gender-equal health.

  • “Few areas in society have such great potential for development as gender equality. A vital part of Sweden’s success story, its growing economy and Swedes’ personal freedom has been that regardless of gender, people can increasingly work, get an education and make their voices heard. Now it is important for this success story to continue,” says Mr Löfven.

Leading representatives of the UN, the business sector, trade unions, civil society and responsible ministers discussed the topic ‘What responsibility do men have in promoting greater equality between women and men?’.

Those participating in the launch included Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality Åsa Regnér and Dr Denis Mukwege.

“We have ensured that the Government Offices is gender-equal in terms of the politically appointed positions and we are now moving forward to build the world’s first gender-equal government administration,” says Mr Löfven.

The Prime Minister emphasised that gender equality is first and foremost a matter of the equal worth and rights of all people. But it is also a means of increasing growth, productivity and employment.

“Increased gender equality is a tool in the Government’s employment agenda to achieve the lowest unemployment rate in the EU. Gender equality is as ethically right as it is economically smart. For this reason it is the way forward for Sweden,” says Mr Löfven