I would like to thank the German presidency for convening today’s open debate on a topic of such importance. Estonia aligns itself with the statement (to be) delivered by the European Union. Additionally, I would like to make the following few remarks.
Peacekeeping operations and uniformed personnel are the most visible representatives of the United Nations, directly working with communities each day. For this reason, it is imperative to increase the number of female peacekeepers and promote their full, effective and meaningful participation in the UN peace operations. Estonia, therefore, strongly supports the recently adopted Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy 2018-28 and related efforts of the Action for Peacekeeping Initiative.
Since the adoption of resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, and its follow-up resolutions, remarkable achievements have been made at the normative level. Women, Peace and Security issues are now interlinked with the UN peacekeeping agenda. However, challenges lie at the level of implementation and we must continue promoting the role of women in peace and security on national, regional as well as international levels. On the national level, Estonia has significantly increased its level of ambition regarding female conscripts in the military service, having tripled the number of women that can be called to serve. This is having a direct positive impact on Estonia’s ability as a troop contributing country to accelerate gender parity in UN peacekeeping troops by encouraging female military and police personnel to apply.
In addition to striving to increase the number of female peacekeepers, we consider it paramount to sensitize all peacekeepers on gender aspects in peace operations. Thorough pre-deployment training on human rights and gender related issues, including on the prevention of and response to conflict-related sexual violence and the eradication of sexual exploitation and abuse, is a must. Furthermore, Gender Advisers should be an integral part of all UN Missions and their activities further reinforced in settings where conflict related sexual violence is widespread.
Last but not least we would like to thank Canada for launching the Elsie Initiative in order to identify, address and remove the existing barriers to women’s meaningful participation in UN peace operations in different troop contributing countries‘ military and police organizations. This kind of practical evidence based approach could be the way to help us to achieve the ambitious objectives we have set on women’s participation and impact on the UN peacekeeping.
Thank you for including Women, Peace and Security as one of the main topics of your presidency. We all recognize the importance of involving women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace negotiations, peacebuilding and in post-conflict reconstruction and should act accordingly. For our part, Estonia would like to continue focusing on the issue of Women, Peace and Security as an elected member of the Security Council in 2020-2021.
I thank you, Madam President!