Eesti sõnavõtt "Community of Democracies" kohtumisel demokraatia ja arengu teemal (inglise keeles)
Distinguished representatives of governments and international organizations,
Partners from civil society and private sector,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I thank El Salvador for organizing the Caucus of Democracy meeting to enforce the linkage between democracy and development. A year ago we addressed the relationship of democracy and the rule of law. This shift binds together the rule of law and development.
Sustainable development means pursuit of peace and stability, unconditional adherence to human rights, application of effective and transparent governance based on the rule of law and empowerment of all societal groups. These are both the outcomes and enablers of development. However, globally, there is a deficit of good and responsible governance. To address that, many multilateral initiatives, including the Open Government Partnership, Community of Democracies initiative Leaders Engaged in New Democracies (LEND) and the UN Democracy Fund, aim to take concrete steps to and to tackle corruption and maximize the potential of new technologies.
In this context I would like to draw your attention to the full potential of modern information and telecommunication technology, which has assisted Estonia in successfully and rapidly transforming itself into a democratic society based on rule of law. In Estonia, we like to think that we live in a Positively Transforming country. One of the key factors supporting our positive transitions over the last two decades has been the bold use of ICT. Using ICT to build innovative e-governance services helps to build more efficient and transparent public administration. It is a business catalyst and presents new possibilities for civil society participation. For example, Estonia was the first country where people could also cast their vote online in parliamentary and municipal elections. Last year, for the first time, we conducted our census online to a large extent. Over ninety percent of taxpayers in Estonia file annual income tax returns via the Internet. E-government, E-school, E-medical prescriptions, and electronic land-catastry are only some of the examples of Estonian innovation in the field of citizen-friendly public services. They increase transparency and help prevent corruption. And they reduce costs. Most importantly, they have increased the possibility to exercise fundamental rights and freedoms, cut down corruption and increased inclusive and responsible governance. Estonia is ready to share its E-governance skills and to continue to facilitate exchanges with partners worldwide.
I am confident that wider and more venturous usage of modern ICT solutions could be one of the key enablers when we speak about good governance, efficiency, access to services, job creation, transparency and accountability in the context of the new sustainable development framework. And these technologies support the most vulnerable groups within the society as well: women, children and people with disabilities. E-solutions are to build more coherent, inclusive and sustainable societies.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Allow me now to address another topical issue. With 15 months left until the year 2015, it is now time to honestly reflect on the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. In their universal acceptance the MDGs have managed to galvanize widespread international support across the entire spectrum of stakeholders. This is the greatest value of the MDGs, on which we can build the future sustainable development agenda.
We have learnt that the MDGs should have focused more on reaching the poorest and most excluded societal groups. Women and girls are often drivers of development in our societies. Not allowing them to fulfil their full potential is to disregard half of the potential of humanity. This applies not only when we talk about education, decent job opportunities and health services but also about gender equality and their position in society.
With an open mind and a wide approach, we shall carve out the new sustainable development agenda for the post-2015 era. Although we can build on the experiences from the MDGs, we have to keep in mind that the world has changed significantly over the last decades. The nature of poverty has changed. Violence in armed conflicts must not hinder the achievement of development goals. The inequalities within countries are rising. We have been hit by the economic crisis and the private investment in developing countries dwarfs the aid flows. There are megatrends like population dynamics, urbanisation, climate change and migration which paint the background for the discussions about the post-2015 development agenda. With respect to these circumstances, and as a good governance catalyst, I would like to see the e-solutions among the forthcoming SDG-s - applicable and achievable in every country in the world.
Thank you for your attention.