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Statement by H. E. Mr. Margus Kolga, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations at the UN Democracy Caucus Annual Informal Ministerial Meeting

25.09.2012

Excellences,

Distinguished representatives of governments and international organizations,

Partners from civil society and private sector,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank Mongolia for organizing the Caucus of Democracy meeting enforcing the linkage between the rule of law and democracy. Following the High Level Meeting on the Rule of Law yesterday, we now must build on the practical steps to implement the agreed Declaration and the pledges made by the States.

The world experiences a turbulent time of state transitions. Not always the goal of those processes - a more opened and democratic society - has been achieved. With this in mind, allow me to salute Mongolia for its initiative to launch a project on the most important aspects of democracy – the peoples rights, willingness and skills to implement their own basic right – or simlpy said – the democracy education.

Democracy education is a prerogative to be able to use the mechanisms and tools the democracy offers. But most importantly the democracy education should be put in practice. I am proud to say that Estonia has unique experience on building its democracy, rule of law, market economy and inclusive society for more than twenty years now after we re-gained our independence peacefully in 1991.

Today, the information revolution has assisted Estonia successfully and rapidly transform into a rule of law based democratic society. Estonia was the first country where people can cast their votes also online in parliamentary and municipal elections. Just a few months ago we conducted our census for the first time to a large extent online. This year over ninety percent of taxpayers in Estonia filed annual income tax returns via the Internet. The E-government, E-school, E-medical prescriptions and E-parking are examples of Estonian innovation in the field of citizen-friendly public services. They increase transparency and help prevent corruption. And they reduce costs. Therefore, Estonia wishes to share its E-governance skills and to continue to facilitate exchanges with partners worldwide. Allow me to name a couple of the projects from the Estonian portfolio which could serve as inspiration for the innovation: for example the Tech Camp, and the cooperation with Skype and Garage48, all aimed to incubate an innovative ideas into a functioning businesses.

A year ago Estonia signed up to the Open Government Partnership, along with 42 other countries. This multilateral initiative aims to take concrete steps to institute a new model of governance, to maximize the potential of new technologies and to tackle corruption while being an effective tool promoting e-democracy and creating accelerating modalities to enhance the rule of law, and throgh that also the democracy.

 As the co-chairman of the Leaders Engaged in New Democracies (LEND) initiative together with the USA, Estonia has distributed its knowledge and lessons learned to our partners in transition. A special emphasis has been put to the technological toolbox, to enhance the inclusiveness of the civic society. Also, as a practical step, Estonia supported the establishment of and contributed to the UN Democracy Fund and pledges to continue so in the future.

Finally, let me say that Estonia is willing to continue with all of that also as an active member in the UN Human Rights Council during  2013-2015.

 

Thank you.

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