Conflict Prevention

Estonia underscores that conflict prevention needs more attention and resources within the UN system, and will work towards increased Security Council efforts dedicated to this end.

The UN budget allocates close to 9 billion USD annually to conflict resolution, peacekeeping and crisis management. There is no line in the budget for conflict prevention. However, conflict prevention is much more cost-efficient than dealing with the consequences of a conflict.

The fact that there is no specific budget line does not mean that nothing is done or achieved in this area. Many UN initiatives support either directly or indirectly conflict prevention. A large part of UNDP`s work is dedicated to preventing conflict as well as that of many other UN entities. However, we would like to highlight that there could be an increased and more focused effort, reinforced by adequate finances.

Secretary General Guterres recently outlined his vision on conflict resolution and peace building at an open debate in the Security Council. Estonia fully supports the Secretary General`s effort to improve the United Nation`s capacity to take early action, which would prevent conflicts before the begin. Equally, we see a link between the reform of the UN`s Peace and Security Architecture with the reform of the UN Development System. The UN needs to fulfil its core functions more effectively and in a more coherent manner.

Three recent reviews of UN peace-related activities have concluded that there is an urgent need to put prevention at the core of UN`s work, in accordance with the UN Charter. There are tools in the Charter, but they are not fully utilized.

More than a year ago, Agenda 2030 was adopted, which is truly transformative with its interconnected goals and targets across the full spectrum of development, addressing also the root causes of conflict. The SDGs link all the pillars of the UN and their implementation serves as a powerful toolbox for conflict prevention and sustaining peace agenda. Both, Sustaining Peace and Agenda 2030 recognize that development, peace and security, and human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.

Estonia sees good governance and the rule of law as key elements in the prevention of conflicts. Political exclusion is among the most common causes that leads to violent conflict, and therefore transparent, inclusive and accountable institutions are crucial to achieving peace. Creating reliable institutions plays a central role in the transformation needed to enable countries prone to or emerging from conflict, to foster development, stability and peace.

Estonia also considers that by investing in gender equality and women`s empowerment, we invest in equal, equitable and progressive societies.

In 2016, in its capacity as the Vice-President of the ECOSOC, Estonia participated in discussions with the Peacebuilding Commission on finding ways how to strengthen cooperation between the two bodies. In 2017, Estonia became a member of the Peacebuilding Commission and we hope to make our contribution to ensure that Sustaining Peace agenda leads to tangible progress. We would like to work together with all like-minded nations on building political consensus in support of prevention and facilitation of peaceful solutions.