We must bring what is happening in Belarus to the world’s attention and hear from those on the ground. Briefers on #BYHumanRights: UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, Anaïs Marin; Belarusian opposition presidential candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya; Vice-Chairman of the Viasna Human Rights Center, Valiantsin Stefanovic; Legal Expert for the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Volha Siakhovich. The meeting is chaired by Urmas Reinsalu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia. The meeting was initiated by Estonia and co-sponsored by UN Security Council members the United States and United Kingdom, as well as Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Ukraine.

Statement by H.E. Mr. Paul Teesalu, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia, at the Security Council Open Debate on Working Methods of the Security Council, 6 June 2019

Mr. President,

We very much welcome today’s discussion and thank Kuwait for organizing the open debate. Estonia, as a member of the Accountability, Coherence and Transparency Group, fully endorses the statement (to be) delivered by Switzerland. Additionally, I would like to make a few further remarks in my national capacity.

Estonia cannot yet speak from the first-hand experience about the everyday work of the Security Council since we have never served as one of its members, but we truly believe in the positive impact of open and inclusive processes. With this in mind, Estonia put up its candidacy already in 2005 for the elected seat in the Security Council for the period of 2020-21. The elections for that period are taking place tomorrow and we truly hope that the UN member states deem us worthy of the position.

Mr. President,

As member of the ACT group Estonia advocates for greater accountability, coherence, and transparency of the Council’s activities through increased inclusiveness and targeted action. We believe that a more open and inclusive process will have positive impact on the decision making of the Council. If we work better, we will achieve better results in maintaining and sustaining peace. Note 507 is a valuable document that gathers many of the Council’s current working methods and helps us continue the discussions on how to enhance further the decision making process of the Council. However, if we are to make a real difference in bringing more efficiency to the Council’s work, we need to concentrate on the implementation of the Note 507 as well as other presidential notes.

The effectiveness of the Council’s decisions is maximised if all members, including the elected ones are fully involved from the beginning in a coordinated and inclusive manner. We are fully aware that there are discussions and situations, which need to be dealt with behind closed doors, but whenever possible we encourage Council members to hold open meetings and to seek interaction with wider membership and other organs as well as civil society.

The Security Council’s working methods should support and strengthen its capacity to prevent conflict. That includes strengthening the Council’s situational awareness and here the Secretariat can play an important role in providing the information and highlighting the developments, which could lead to instability. Therefore, it is necessary to continue discussing the issues with countries as well as regional organisations as stated in Article 31 in the Charter.

As a member of the ACT group Estonia believes that the Council should try to take the decisions whenever possible in order to maintain the relevance of the Council. We therefore fully subscribe to the ACT Code of Conduct, which calls upon the permanent members of the Security Council voluntarily and collectively commit themselves to not using their right to veto to block Council action aimed at preventing or ending situations involving mass atrocity crimes.

To conclude, Estonia commends the work of Kuwait in chairing the Informal Working Group. It is in our interest that the working methods are reinforcing our efforts to fulfil the obligation of the Security Council to maintain international peace and security. Estonia will be supporting calls in the future for greater empathy, equality and efficiency of the working methods in the Council.

Thank you, Mr. President!