On Samoa, at the UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), the Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretary for Economic and Development Affairs Väino Reinart and the President and Foreign Minister of Kiribati Anote Tong signed a communiqué on September 4, establishing Estonia’s diplomatic relations with the Republic of Kiribati.
According to Reinart, Estonia is trying to find suitable opportunities to support small island developing states. “Estonia has great experience in implementing e-governance which we can pass on through bilateral or multilateral cooperation as solutions in the fields of e-education, e-voting, e-medicine, as well as via various other e-governance related solutions,” he said.
The President of Kiribati expressed his pleasure that Estonia and other EU countries are good partners in international negotiations on global warming. The President also recalled an Estonian doctor who worked on Kiribati some time ago, and was hopeful that in the future, Estonia will have the opportunity to help contribute to the development of Kiribati.
In addition to Kiribati, bilateral meetings were held with other countries in Oceania.
Undersecretary Reinart acted as vice-president at the conference and also gave a speech at the plenary session. In his speech, he said that in today's increasingly globalized world where countries are interdependent, we must pay attention to what is happening in remote regions. “Transnational solidarity, information exchange and cooperation are important,” Reinart said. “Since the biggest challenge for SIDS countries are posed by climate change impacts, it is important that an ambitious international rules-based contract, which is legally binding for all parties be achieved in time for the climate change conference in Paris next year," he added.
Reinart also highlighted that as a marine nation, Estonia understands the SIDS-countries’ problems concerning the protection of the seas and oceans and sustainable development of the so-called blue economy. Reinart also mentioned the creation of Internet connections and IT solutions in his speech, which help small countries save already limited resources, make the business environment more attractive and way of life more efficient.
The Conference on Small Island Developing Countries was held for the third time. The main theme of the conference was the sustainable development of small island developing states through cooperative and lasting partnerships. Discussions included how and what kind of partnerships SIDS-countries need in order to ensure economic growth, social development and at the same time to protect the environment and improve nations’ resilience capability. The conference was also attended by NGOs and the private sector. Estonia contributed 20 000 euros to the conference organisation trust fund.