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Statement by H.E. Mr Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN, at UN Security Council high level open debate on, 10 January 2017

10.01.2017

Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues,

Estonia aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union.

Let me start by thanking Sweden for convening this important and timely debate and the new Secretary-General António Guterres for outlining his vision for a renewed focus on conflict prevention. Allow me also to congratulate Mr. Guterres on his appointment as the ninth Secretary-General of the United Nations.

We cannot agree more with the Secretary-General that it is time to “put peace first”. The ongoing deep conflicts, displacement and massive movement of refugees and migrants around the world is a clear sign that the Security Council and broader international community have been inefficient in giving priority to prevention. The recent three reviews of U.N. peace-related activities have concluded with the same message — there is an urgent need to put prevention at the core of UN´s work.

Mr. President,

There is a strong convergence on the need for a collective recommitment to prevention. Our normative developments need to lead to a real shift how the UN addresses peace and security challenges. I would like to point out some areas of importance for ensuring more effective prevention:

Firstly, we must develop a political culture of acting sooner in response to the risk of violent conflict and investing in prevention rather than keep spending on the conflicts. In this context, we call upon the members of the UN Security Council not to vote against draft resolutions on timely and decisive action to prevent or end mass atrocities.

Secondly, to ensure more effective prevention, it is essential to integrate peace and security, human rights and development approaches. None of the United Nations three mandates can be achieved without the other. Promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels is essential for achieving sustainable peace and stability. Here I would like to accentuate SDGs. To achieve them in conflict-affected countries we need more attention and resources that help target the drivers of conflict. The comprehensive approach of addressing the interdependence between peace, security and development should clearly take into account the protection of human rights with particular attention to women’s rights, including through their participation in peace processes. We must listen to the first warning signs of conflicts to come and human rights violations are such warnings. Therefore, we urge all fellow UN members present here today to be active in supporting and strengthening the human rights initiatives, in particular, with a view to ensuring UN-wide efforts to prevent grave human rights violations and, thus, future conflicts.

Thirdly, while the primary responsibility for conflict prevention falls on Member States, the international institutions have to do their part. The UN system needs to work in a more integrated fashion and develop synergies between the Security Council, the Secretariat and other UN entities – both at headquarters and country level –to implement the “sustaining peace” agenda. We welcome UN´s increasing cooperation with regional organizations to help them solve regional problems and to include in solutions States concerned. At the same time, regional organizations should continue contributing to United Nations peace and security efforts.

Lastly, Security Council has increased its focus on peacebuilding to reduce the risk of relapsing violence. The Council should continue to address peacebuilding through horizon scanning briefings, ensuring that longer-term peacebuilding is considered in mission mandates and strengthening the advisory role of the Peacebuilding Commission. We encourage the Security Council to address peacebuilding as early as possible.

Mr President,

Let me also highlight that Estonia has supported the Peacebuilding Fund since 2013, as we believe that the PBF is an effective peacebuilding instrument for providing catalytic, fast and flexible assistance. In 2017 Estonia is a member of the Peacebuilding Commission. As a member of the European Union Estonia fully supports the EU´s new Global Strategy that emphasizes the importance of acting promptly on prevention and the commitment of the EU to work through the multilateral system, with the United Nations at its core.

Thank you!

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