Statement by H. E. Mr. Urmas Paet, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Estonia at the Fifty-Second Session of the Commission for Social Development
Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen
At this Fifty-Second Session of the Commission
for Social Development I would like to welcome you all to this discussion on promoting the empowerment of people in
achieving poverty eradication, social integration, full employment and decent
work for all.
Aligning ourselves fully with the statement made on
behalf of the European Union, we would like to highlight some specific issues
to which Estonia attaches particular importance.
At the outset, let me
stress the importance of the report of the Secretary-General as a timely and forward-looking
policy document, which sets the pace for result-oriented action through clear
policy recommendations. As we approach the 2005 World Summit’s Millennium
Development Goals’ target year of 2015 we should acknowledge all that has been
achieved. At the same time we must admit that there is much more to be done
during the upcoming years within the post-2015 agenda.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
society cannot be sustained unless environmental, economic and social
developments are addressed in combined way and with great concern. We are here today
to contribute to this discussion. In nutshell the question is about the people,
about their empowerment, so that they could live the life as equal members of
society, realize their rights and fully use their potential. No one should be
left behind. In particular, we should look out for those in need and in danger.
We should respect human rights and to notice the injustice. First and foremost,
we should act responsibly.
view, the most necessary preconditions for the empowerment of people are the
following. First - education.
future depends on an education for all. Indeed, the second Millenium
Development Goal directly addresses universal primary education. Actually, education
is critical for attaining all 8 MDGs. However,
for sustainable and prosperous future we must build on efforts completed so far,
but also continue with education for all on higher levels of education. Education
can help end forced child marriages and the development of professional skills
is the way out from cheap child labour. Education is crucial to end poverty and
to contribute to social integration and full employment. Only an all-level
approach to education can help bring children out from the reach of war lords
and help stop them being used as soldiers.
We must all
contribute to implementing an all-inclusive and people-centred approach where
everybody has the right and possibility to realize their dreams, aspirations
and capabilities. No Lost Generation initiative that addresses the dramatic
situation in Syria is an exemplary step forward by the international community,
UNHCR, Save the Children, World Vision and other key partners to galvanize
global support for the children of Syria. The
sustainable development goals that address these concerns should be taken up with
the same forward-looking courage.
rightly pointed out in the Secretary General’s report, empowerment requires
responsive decision makers and leaders that citizens can hold to account. In
close linkage with education, we also need to work towards our target of
building more inclusive societies based on the rule of law and responsibility,
accountability and transparency as inevitable norms of governance. There is no excuse
for discrimination on any cause. Special attention should be paid to human
rights, particularly to the rights of children and women and other vulnerable
or marginalized groups. At the same time, it is important to grasp the entire
picture – the optimal use of every state’s own resources, responsibility of
private sector, the opportunities presented by international financial
institutions and methods of combating climate change.
this in mind, we should take the full advantage of 21st century
technological developments that create enormous possibilities for empowering
people, enable people to participate in decision making processes and enhance
their living conditions. For instance, the more extensive use of technological
achievements is the way out from the fossil energy trap for the developing
countries. Broader use of information and communications technology and bridging
the digital divide are at the heart of a new and sustainable global society.
the case in different ways. Firstly, information technology is the engine of a new
economy; it generates entrepreneurship, hides within itself new jobs and serves
as a gateway to unlimited knowledge. Secondly, if we contribute to the spread
of information technology, we also increase the likelihood and extent of access
to education. A better education, in turn, leads to more entrepreneurship.
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 a 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. We also conducted
our census online to a large extent. E-government,
E-school, E-medical prescriptions, and an electronic land registry are only
some of the examples of Estonian innovation in the field of citizen-friendly
public services. They increase transparency. Most importantly, they have
increased the possibility to exercise fundamental rights and freedoms, cut down
corruption and improved inclusive and responsible governance. And they reduce
is ready to share its E-governance skills – with all its success stories and
misfortunes - and to continue to facilitate exchanges with partners worldwide. I
am confident that the wider and more venturous usage of modern ICT solutions
could be one of the key enablers when we speak about empowerment of people, good
governance, and 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 can help build
more coherent, inclusive and sustainable societies.
Let me conclude with the
words of Malala, who’s passionate message shall carry forward our task here: One child, one teacher, one pen and one book
can change the world. The same principles apply when we join in efforts to
promote the empowerment of people,
eradicate poverty, and enhance social integration, full employment and decent
work for all.
Thank you for your attention!