Today 27 April, Foreign Minister Eva-Maria Liimets attended a high-level video meeting of the UN Security Council, which for the first time focused on the protection indispensable civilian objects in armed conflict. The meeting was chaired by the Foreign Minister of Vietnam Bui Thanh Son.
States must ensure the comprehensive protection of the population, including the availability of the food, water and medical supply needed for survival in difficult circumstances. Civilians are often the worst affected by conflict, including the most vulnerable groups, such as women, children and young people.
Citing examples, Liimets highlighted the 1.5 million internally displaced people in Ukraine and 1.7 million in the Tigray region in Ethiopia. In Afghanistan, almost half of the children under 5 suffer from malnutrition, driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing conflict. Assisting these people and helping them return home is often prevented by damage to essential buildings and lack of essential services, the minister added.
The foreign minister reaffirmed Estonia’s support for the UN Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire during the COVID pandemic aimed at ensuring unhindered humanitarian access in conflict regions.
On an international level, due attention also needs to be paid to new elements in armed conflict. “While new technologies can help us find ways to improve humanitarian assistance, we are also unfortunately seeing increased malicious cyber activities. It is crucial to build our cyber capacity to protect civilians and essential infrastructure, while keeping in mind that existing international law also applies in cyber space,” Foreign Minister Liimets said,” Foreign Minister Liimets said.
She added Estonia considered respecting international law, international humanitarian law and human rights of utmost importance, as it contributes to upholding global peace and security.
Speakers included Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs; Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and Kevin Rudd, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Peace Institute.
The foreign minister today also spoke at the high-level meeting Digital Cooperation and Connectivity, convened by Volkan Bozkır, the President of the United Nations General Assembly. Discussions focused on the need to close the digital gap, and links between digital technology and global sustainable development goals. In her statement, the minister called for using existing digital solutions and experience to avoid duplication and encourage recovery from the pandemic. For example, Estonia is working with partners to develop a digital governance reference architecture, with different open source digital governance building blocks that can be localised and are compatible.
The minister’s statement in full: https://vm.ee/en/news/statement-he-ms-eva-maria-liimets-security-council...
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Estonia