Statement by Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Andres Rundu at the UN Security Council VTC Open Debate on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace

Thank you, Mr. President,

Thank you for organising today’s open debate, which we highly value. Estonia has been continuously advocating for, and contributing towards prevention, post-conflict recovery and sustaining peace initiatives. Conflict prevention, in particular, is at the core of Estonia’s Security Council membership as well as part of our wider approach in the United Nations.

Estonia has been contributing to peacebuilding among other things through the UN Peacebuilding Fund since 2013 and the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs since 2017. We acknowledge the crucial role of the Peacebuilding Fund and the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs in conflict prevention, monitoring and assessment of political developments around the world.

At the same time with the international community’s efforts, I would like to stress the importance of local ownership. For peacebuilding and sustaining peace activities to last, we need political will and support from countries’ governments and their local communities. Peacebuilding processes need to be inclusive, taking into account the views of the local peacebuilders, especially women and youth that are often the ones most affected by the conflict.

Another key factor for success is the coordination on the ground. We have to continue working to improve coordination at country level between the, at times, large number of actors – from humanitarian and development cooperation, and peace and security actors. A holistic approach will help societies become more robust and effectively address the root causes of conflict. When the underlying and often long-standing grievances are being actively addressed and human rights respected, the communities become resilient, transitional justice is served and peace can be sustainable.

Mr. President,

Development and peace are intertwined. On the one hand, an active armed conflict leaves very limited resources for development initiatives that could bring the country out of the conflict. On the other hand, countries with very little means for security may be more at risk of violent conflict. In that regard, the scale of climate related security risks are underestimated. It is important to emphasize that climate change intensifies important drivers of conflict and fragility, and challenges the stability of states and societies.

Estonia was a developing country right after we regained our independence. We recognized early on that investing into technology and the digital sphere could help us get back on our feet. Such an approach has helped us create a society with more transparency, trust and efficiency.

This year, COVID19 has stolen all headlines, wreaked havoc among us, left many of us worried for their health and livelihoods and the wellbeing of their loved ones. As our President, H.E. Ms Kersti Kaljulaid said during a Security Council open debate on COVID19 in September – “technological development is the area, which helps us to maintain the coherence of our world and to continue to cooperate with each other.” It is the best time for those countries who wish to make a jump into the new era. There are endless possibilities with digital solutions, but most importantly, we can achieve the SDG-s and bring more prosperity to every single country. However, without political will, it is difficult and nothing changes overnight. We have been working for what we have for almost 30 years and it still is an ongoing project.

Developing digital societies and e-governance is only one possible path of pushing for development gains in a country. The Estonian experience has shown that it does not only work, but works very well. From our side, we have been and will remain open for cooperation in digital transformation initiatives, sharing our experience and best practices with those who are eager to take the next step.

I thank you