Please accept my warm greetings to you and to the people of China. I warmly welcome Your Excellency Mr Bozkir here. I would like to thank the Chinese Presidency for organising this important meeting today.
Estonia has always been a firm supporter of a rules-based international order build on the understanding of respect for and promotion of international law, including human rights law and international humanitarian law, democracy, rule of law and fight against impunity. The COVID-19 pandemic has only highlighted why we need this method of diplomacy.
Both the United Nations and the Security Council lie at the heart of the multilateral system.
Mr President – we have achieved a lot over the past 75 years but we cannot stop here. We must remain committed to our core values and principles that were agreed upon in the UN Charter.
The promotion and protection of human rights is one of the most efficient means of conflict prevention and clearly linked to the maintenance of peace and security. In this context, we render our full support to the Secretary-General’s Call to Action for Human Rights.
The United Nations with its well-established structure of human rights treaties and their monitoring mechanisms has a central role in the protection and promotion of universal human rights.
We support improved information exchange between the Security Council and the Human Rights Council, Special Procedures and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is crucial that the Security Council takes into account and considers the valuable work of the High Commissioner and the Human Rights Council in its deliberations.
Estonia maintains its strong commitment to the implementation of its human rights obligations and we consider the Universal Periodic Review process a useful element of this work. On Tuesday this week, Estonia participated in our third Universal Periodic Review.
Estonia also continues to focus on the most vulnerable, including women and children affected by conflicts. That is why today Estonia, with our partners, is organising an informal Security Council meeting on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on grave violations against children affected by armed conflict. This meeting will launch the study prepared by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict on this topic.
Mr President – we must remain committed to the rules-based international order where international law, including in cyber space, is followed. Respect for territorial integrity and the prohibition of the use of force are fundamental principles of international law that stand at the core of the UN and our values. Therefore, we are observing with concern the ongoing violations of international law, including the UN Charter, in Europe – in Ukraine and Georgia.
Estonia strongly believes that multilateral diplomacy cannot hold without cooperating with wide range of actors. For example, strengthening civil society engagement at the UN, including at the Security Council, is vital for ensuring effective policy-making. I see with regret how many civil society activists are being harassed and suffer from reprisals by rogue regimes.
The declaration that was adopted to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations reaffirmed that multilateralism is not an option but a necessity. However, in order to address new and emerging challenges, we need new practices and agreements to enrich multilateral cooperation.
Digital technologies are higher on our agendas than ever before. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has also amplified challenges around digitalisation, including the digital divide that still exists worldwide. To close this gap, we need global partnerships and collaboration. Estonia is actively contributing to the Secretary-General’s Digital Cooperation process. We are also happy to collaborate with the GovStack initiative to develop a digital governance reference architecture together with Germany, the International Telecommunication Union, and the Digital Impact Alliance. It will accelerate national digital transformation and the digitalisation of government services and thereby contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate change poses a real threat, and therefore needs a global answer. To make COP26 a real success, we must all set ambitious targets and take actions today. Estonia has set the target of reaching climate neutrality by 2050 and established a clear timeline for phasing out fossil fuel based energy production by 2040. We cannot be successful in this field without the availability of data and effective data management. Estonia has launched the Data for the Environment Alliance (DEAL), which will support the United Nations Environment Programme in developing a global environmental data strategy by 2025. We invite all countries to join this alliance. Due to clear links between climate and security, the Security Council should also show leadership in this field.
In conclusion, multilateralism is an inevitable choice in order to meet global challenges. I can promise you that Estonia shall continue to stand for multilateral cooperation and international law. We remain a responsible and active partner to all other UN members during this crisis and beyond.