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Statement at the Security Council Open Debate on the Reform of UN Peacekeeping

Statement at the Security Council Open Debate on the Reform of UN Peacekeeping © Taavi Linnamäe

20.09.2017

Mr President,

Thank you for convening today's open debate. Estonia also aligns itself with the statement by the European Union.

We remain committed to Sec Gen Guterres's reform agenda. Reforms should take us to more effective UN, with clear emphasis on conflict prevention and mediation.

Our peacekeeping operations must have tangible targets and exit strategies. To be effective, the operations must have built-in flexibility, as the surrounding situation is inevitably volatile.

The best information about the changing needs come from our mission commanders and other field entities. Applying their suggestions guarantees automatic adaptation to the changes on the ground. In addition, listening to those on the field and taking into account what they have to say is good to the motivation of our people. We need those with courage to reach out to decision makers. These people are only with us if we respond in a receptive manner. Thus, we create a positive circuit of adaptation necessary to achieve our objectives.

To achieve sustainable peace, partnership with regional organizations, host governments and local communities is essential. It is best done by demonstrating day after day how important it is for us to protect civilians, assure the sustainability of the rule of law, respect of human rights and international law and involving the local actors in supporting these core values.

Peacekeeping operations need to be complemented with activities aimed at effectively improving the living conditions of the affected populations, including the quick implementation of effective and visible projects that create jobs and deliver basic social services in the post-conflict phase.

It is our utmost responsibility to implement all measures to protect children in Mission Areas. All mechanisms to support women's full participation in peace and security are vital and must be implemented.

We can achieve sustainable peace only if we have a thorough and broad understanding of the conflicts and their root causes. In this regard, it is unfortunate that the MINUSMA mission in Mali will be left without its intelligence unit ASIFU. The latter provided the decision makers on all levels with unique understanding of issues at hand.

UN peacekeeping operations have an essential role in securing peace and stability globally. Unfortunately, peacekeeping operations are sometimes seen as a waste of resources with a lack of positive outcomes. Truth is quite the opposite and we must find ways to make this common knowledge. Communication is an important guarantee of continued support of general public.

Wide attention via modern channels is difficult to achieve, but is rapidly becoming one of the most efficient tools of sharing our objectives, actions and achieved results. As research shows, peacekeeping reduces the number of civilians killed. Moreover, it is also cost-effective – UN peacekeeping budget is less than half of one percent of global military spending, and it is shared between all 193 UN member states.

This is the truth we have every right to be proud of while we aspire for constant improvement of our peacekeeping activities, as we should in this unpredictable world.