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Statement by Ms. Anneli Vares, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations at the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals

04.04.2014

Co-chairs, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Estonia would like to thank the co-chairs for the very comprehensive document. We also welcome that under focus area 19 the document addresses peaceful and non-violent societies, rule of law and capable institutions.

We believe that the issues of peaceful societies on one hand, human rights, good governance, effective institutions, democracy and  the rule of law on the other, should be considered as two distinct focus areas, closely interlinked.  Estonia supports the inclusion of both areas in the sustainable development framework. With regard to the 1st area, we strongly agree that creating peaceful, non-violent and inclusive societies, based on respect for all human rights, is a cornerstone for sustainable development. We support all the targets given in the co-chair’s paper, emphasizing at the same time the importance of the target to reduce violence, abuse, exploitation, especially against children and women.

However I would focus today on the 2nd area, as adhering to the rule of law and delivering justice builds public trust in national government institutions, that is essential for developing a safer non- violent and inclusive environment for all to live in. Moreover, supporting and developing the rule of law is about all sectors of national and international governance. To advance the efforts on the rule of law, governance and capable institutions,  better coordination at the international level is necessary.  Estonia therefore suggests that the  following priority areas for action would be included in the SDGs framework: effective, accountable and transparent institutions; provision of public services for all; improvement of transparency in public finances management; fighting corruption in all its forms; improved public access to publicly owned information; strengthening of civil society and assuring freedom of expression and association. Thereby we would also like to stress the importance of  freedom of media and freedom online. Estonia as a strong promoter of transparent and reliable e-governance, believes that these targets can be achieved via a coordinated effort from the government level. Through providing internet freedom and clear and transparent overview and access to public services, a society becomes much more stable and predictable, removing fear and allowing people with greater trust to invest in the future. Provision and access to public e-services increase transparency, the possibility to exercise fundamental rights and freedoms, cut down corruption and promote inclusive and responsible governance.

We strongly believe that good governance, democracy and the rule of law must be emphasized in the future sustainable development agenda and we recognize the interlinkages of focus area 19 to other areas such as poverty eradication, gender equality and women’s empowerment, economic growth, conservation and sustainable use of marine resources, oceans and seas, ecosystems and biodiversity.

 Thank you for your attention!

 

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