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UNSC Open Debate: Technology and peacekeeping Statement by the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Estonia, H.E. Ms. Eva-Maria Liimets

18. August 2021 - 18:50

Thank you, Mr. President.

At the outset, allow me to thank India for convening this high-level open debate, and leading the negotiations on the corresponding Presidential Statement. I would also like to congratulate India on the successful adoption of the resolution about protecting peacekeepers. In addition, I thank the Secretary-General for his insightful intervention.

As was already highlighted, the integration of relevant existing and new technologies into peacekeeping missions can enhance mandate implementation, including the protection of civilians. It can also strengthen the safety and security of peacekeepers, which is urgently needed given the high number of peacekeeping fatalities. In short, peacekeeping missions simply cannot afford to lag behind in the use of modern technologies.  Estonia believes that special focus should be given to gender-responsive technologies that are driven by the practical needs of end users. The use of environmentally responsible solutions, including renewable energy, in United Nations peacekeeping operations is equally important. 

There are practical steps that need to be taken in order to support the better use of innovations in ongoing peacekeeping missions. In this regard, I would like to highlight three observations.

First, it is crucial that we become better at tapping into our collective knowledge regarding new technologies and best practices. On this note, I would like to commend the Secretary-General for his ongoing initiatives, including the UNITE Aware platform, that seek to connect the technological and innovative capacities of Member States with the specific needs of peacekeeping missions. Estonia encourages further cooperation in this area.

Second, all knowledge about new technologies and best practices is of little use, unless these are actually integrated into peacekeeping missions. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure that the necessary political, legal, and financial frameworks are in place, which would allow for innovations to be swiftly adopted. Estonia also welcomes the development of the Strategy for the Digital Transformation of UN Peacekeeping. We look forward to its release and subsequent implementation.

Third, we must also become better at carrying out regular reviews to ensure that the technologies used in peacekeeping missions are indeed the best ones out there. Peacekeeping missions take place in a constantly changing environment. Technology is evolving quickly. Therefore, peacekeeping missions need to develop continuously in order to keep up with these changes.

Mr. President,
Peacekeeping has often been referred to as the flagship of the United Nations enterprise. The Security Council must spare no effort to drive innovation that enables this flagship to continue to evolve with the changing realities. It is crucial for the millions of people whom peacekeeping serves, and for the hundreds of thousands of people who serve in peacekeeping.

To conclude, I reiterate Estonia’s full support to the responsible use of technology that would enhance the ability of peacekeepers to do their noble job more effectively.  

Thank you.

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