Statement by the Permanent Representative of Estonia to the United Nations, H.E. Margus Kolga, at the the UN Democracy Caucus ministerial meeting
Mr. President, Mr Minister, Honorable guests
It is my pleasure to welcome Mongolia’s presidency of the Community of Democracies. We also welcome Mongolia’s fast development and notice the government’s thrive for improving the country’s economy and the well being of its people. We are all partners here in this community and sharing best practices has become the keyword. In August 1991 the three Baltic nations found out firsthand that peaceful and democratic change is possible and now we are in the position to pass along our transition experience. I would like to emphasize Estonia’s support for all the countries striving to carry out democratic reforms and make change a reality.
Over the years Estonia has pledged its strong support to gender equality, the empowerment of women and freedom of expression and assembly. The events of the last year have reaffirmed the importance of all these elements as cornerstones of a democratic society. New technologies are an integral and enabling part of the democratic process that we have seen in global arena. I therefore strongly believe that free access to the Internet must continuously be supported. And there should be no doubt that women can play a decisive leadership role in political and economic development – in all regions of the world.
Last year we witnessed a significant step forward in the UN’s ability to support these developments and step up its own action through the establishment of the new, UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). Estonia, as a member of UN Women Executive Board, will continue to provide its strong support to achieving the goal of gender equality, including through support to the activities of UN Women.
We welcome Mongolia’s decision to mark education for democracy as the main priority of its presidency together with UNDP. Over last years Estonia has shared its open governance experiences with many countries, which examples I would like to share with you. Already next week we open an IT conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance organized by an NGO of Estonia, E-Governance Academy, where more than 60 countries will participate. We have hosted also several groups of Mongolian civil servants in studying our reform experience in last years. We have positive experiences from our cooperation with Moldova, where we are engaged in implementing an e-government system in order to make public administration more effective and transparent. Presently we are working on completing an action plan for creating an information exchange system that would encompass all public institutions, thus supporting the swift implementation of e-services in Moldova. Estonian experts have also introduced our experiences of building up an e-government as well as the possibilities to use mobile-ID and ID cards to cast one’s vote in parliamentary elections.
We firmly believe that with comprehensive utilization of ITC solutions, it is possible to make our societies more transparent and citizen-oriented. Digital solutions can definitely be regarded as a catalyst for democratic reforms!
We wish Mongolia success and good cooperation during the presidency of the Community of Democracies.