Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Economic and Social Rights in Scandinavian Diplomacy at the United Nations, 1970-2000

Project description

Scandinavia’s good Samaritan diplomacy

Denmark, Norway and Sweden are world leaders in human rights. Consistently ranked as the best countries to live in, these three Scandinavian countries are icons of fair societies. Not surprisingly, their governments have claimed human rights as part of their public diplomacy strengths and strategies. The EU-funded ScanRights project will offer a new look at Scandinavian human rights diplomacy, which is currently absent in international scholarship. It will examine transnationally the economic and social rights policies of these three countries at the United Nations from 1970 to 2000. The project will answer the question: Why did these Scandinavian countries push for poverty reduction and economic social rights at a time when egalitarian politics were declining in influence.


This project, called ScanRights, provides the first examination of economic and social rights in the multilateral diplomacy of the three Scandinavian countries: Sweden, Norway, and Denmark at the United Nations from 1970 to 2000. Through a transnational approach to multi-national archival research, the project seeks to understand why the Scandinavian countries increased their support for poverty reduction and economic and social rights at a time when egalitarian politics were on the decline elsewhere in the West. It does so through two main research objectives: First, it examines Scandinavian contributions to the debate on The New International Economic Order from 1974 to 1982 (O1). Second, it examines Scandinavian diplomacy on the Right to Development in the 1980s and 1990s (O2). In doing so the project makes three important contributions to the existing scholarship. First, it addresses the neglect of economic and social rights in the history of Scandinavian human rights diplomacy. Second, it adopts a transnational multi-archival approach that goes beyond the national histories. Third, it provides an examination of Scandinavian human rights diplomacy absent in the international scholarship. The project is designed to improve the researcher’s career prospects by broadening his scientific profile, strengthening his teaching and supervision skills, and furthering his professional development through training in transferable skills. It adopts a targeted strategy to disseminate and communicate the research results to different audiences. The implementation is secured through a comprehensive work plan and the strong commitment of the supervisor and host institution, which provides the optimal intellectual infrastructure, specialized in interdisciplinary research on human rights.


Net EU contribution
€ 203 852,16
Paradisgatan 5c
22100 Lund

See on map

Södra Sverige Sydsverige Skåne län
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 203 852,16