In May, Estonia holds the presidency of the UN Security Council. Our presidency takes place during a crisis. COVID-19 affects global peace and the security situation. The Secretary-General of the UN has called for a global ceasefire. The pandemic has put people in crisis areas in a particularly vulnerable position. Already fragile societies, peacekeeping missions and humanitarian workers are under increased pressure. The UN Security Council, which handles these issues, is working remotely and for the first time in history, meetings are held by video.
Estonia’s plans to highlight several issues through various thematic sessions in line with Estonia’s priorities as an elected member: the connections between the pandemic and the security situation, European security, cybersecurity, the protection of the civilian population and the working methods of the Security Council [during the crisis].
Friday 8 May
The high-level discussion remembered the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War on European soil. The event included talks on the lessons of post-war world order as well as future challenges. Discussions also covered the current security situation and conflicts in Europe. The meeting was moderated by Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu. Briefers: High Representative of the European Union Josep Borrell Fontelles, Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo, and Professor of Yale University Timothy Snyder. You can rewatch the meeting from the Foreign Ministry’s Youtube and Facebook channels.
Friday 15 May
This year, the annual discussion on working methods is held at a historical time with temporary rules of procedure. Estonia is the Vice-Chair of the working group on the UN’s working methods. The discussion focuses on ensuring that the work of the Council is as similar to physical meetings as possible, as well as on ensuring a greater efficiency and transparency of the Security Council outside the crisis. The event will be livestreamed on UN WebTV.
Friday 22 May
The meeting focuses on conflict prevention, and ensuring a stable and peaceful cyberspace. The focus of the meeting is on raising the awareness of members of the UN Security Council about cyber threats against international peace and security, and the mechanisms supporting and regulating responsible state behaviour on the global, regional and national level. The meeting will allow states to share their experiences on the application of international law and cyber norms in cyberspace, on which regional cooperation formats have been successful in ensuring cyber stability, and on identifying shortcomings in dealing with cyber threats.
Prime Minister Jüri Ratas will make an opening statement. Briefers: Izumi Nakamitsu, High Representative for Disarmament; David Koh, Chief Executive of the Cyber Security Agency of Singapore; and James Lewis, the Director for Technology Policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The event can be watched on the Foreign Ministry’s YouTube and Facebook channels, as well as the websites of the Foreign Ministry and the Estonian Mission to the UN.
Wednesday 27 May
Member states will discuss the Secretary-General’s annual report on the protection of civilians in armed conflicts. In line with Estonia’s priorities, the discussions will focus on compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law and international human rights norms, as well as new threats, such as the impact of COVID-19. The Estonian national statement is made by Kersti Kaljulaid. Briefers include Secretary-General of the UN António Guterres and the President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer; we will also invite a representative of the civil society as a briefer.
Thursday 28 May
The meeting will cover the cooperation of the UN and the European Union, present the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union and look at current crises what both the EU as well as the UN are helping to resolve. In recent years, cooperation between the two organisations in peace missions and crisis management has become increasingly important. The European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell will brief the Security Council.