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Eesti alalalise esindaja ÜRO juures, Margus Kolga sõnavõtt UNICEFi 2015.aasta esimesel istungil

03.02.2015

 

Mr. President, Mr. Executive Director, distinguished delegates,

 

Firstly I would like to congratulate you, Mr. President, for taking up this important and demanding post and also the newly elected bureau.

 

I would like to thank the Executive Director Tony Lake for his dedicated and forward looking leadership and for his comprehensive overview made at the beginning of the session.  

 

Please allow me, at the outset, express my sincere thanks to all the UNICEF field staff for their remarkable dedication and efforts, often working in extremely difficult and dangerous conditions. The recent years’ major surge in humanitarian crises around the world also represents a serious challenge to the operations of international agencies, limiting the mobility of aid workers and the progress of humanitarian relief operations. We must continue to demand protection for our staff enabling them to make progress on the field.

 

The burden of humanitarian crises in 2014 has been unprecedented. Estonia highly appreciates UNICEF´s valuable contribution to the collective humanitarian response. Let me in particular highlight UNICEF’s important role in the response to the crises of Ebola  that continues to claim lives and threaten development gains in West Africa. UNICEF has been on the frontlines in Ebola-affected countries from the outset, raising awareness and providing lifesaving supplies. The strong focus on strengthening communities in UNICEF’s Ebola response has proven to be successful and we encourage UNICEF to further strengthen and develop partnerships on the ground.  Estonia has to date contributed 370 000 EUR to fight against Ebola via multilateral agencies.

 

I would also like to commend UNICEF for the critical efforts made to alleviate the impact of the continuing Syrian crisis on children including in the life-saving areas of health, nutrition, immunization, water and sanitation, as well as in the future of children, through education and child protection. Estonia has during the last year provided humanitarian aid in the form of educational opportunities to refugees suffering from the Syrian crisis in Jordan and Lebanon.

 

Estonia also highly appreciate UNICEF´s emergency response in Ukraine where UNICEF with partners has been providing critical assistance to internally displaced children who are particularly vulnerable to the devastating effects of the ongoing violence. Estonia have supported the UNICEF programme which is providing basic hygiene supplies, educational kits, clean drinking water to families and is conducting training for 400 psychologists and social workers to provide psychosocial help. We welcome the active role by UNICEF to reach more children in emergencies, to achieve even more effective response to crises, invest more systematically in building resilience and forge stronger links between humanitarian and development programs.

 

Mr. President,

I would like to commend UNICEF for the progress made in 2014 in many areas related to child protection and the promotion of their rights. Just recently we reached an important milestone and celebrated the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. I can confirm that Estonia does its utmost to contribute to promoting children´s rights both domestically and internationally. The CRC has influenced and guided my country in drafting legislation and implementing policies that recognize children´s individual rights, put emphasis on children, their protection and well-being. In this regard I am glad to announce that at the end of last year the Parliament of Estonia accepted the new Child Protection Act which replaces the old one that dated back to 1992. I am glad to say that Estonia now is among the countries where child abuse in all its forms, including corporate punishment is banned and criminalized. The state is taking various concrete measures on protecting children against violence.

 

I also welcome Executive Director´s focus on information technology and innovation in his opening speech. Even though technology can bring challenges in the rapidly changing world, I believe that the advantages are greater. The openness to technology and innovation may become the key to the development. That is at least what our own experiences have shown. For example government´s policy 20 years ago to introduce computer and new technologies training in schools, starting already in primary schools, to better prepare nation for the new economy, has proved to be successful. Estonia is a strong supporter of innovation and efforts to find new and more cost-effective ways to deliver humanitarian and development assistance. UNICEF has become a global leader in innovation for international development by creating approaches that are transformative for the world´s most vulnerable children. As we heard at the joint session yesterday the UN system has to work together and learn from each other´s experiences, and also from the best practices of other international organisations. In this contexts I would like to mention that World Bank´s Report “Internet and Development” is being prepared under the joint leadership of the Estonian president and the Chief Economist of the World Bank Kaushik Basu. It will explore the internet’s impact on economic growth, on social and economic opportunity, and on the efficiency of public service delivery.  

 

 

Mr. President, this year will be critical for the UN development system. Estonia believes that children and their rights for opportunities to reach their full potential have to be at the heart of a post-2015 development agenda. UNICEF, along with other agencies, must ensure their organisations are ready to deliver the challenges the post 2015 development agenda will bring. We encourage UNICEF to keep strengthening its commitment to UN coherence and cost and value consciousness.

Estonia is committed to support UNICEF’s activities also in the future.

 

Thank you!

 

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