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Statement by Ms. Minna-Liina Lind, Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN at the Security Council Open Debate on the UN Peacekeeping Operations: Their potential contribution to the overarching goal of sustaining peace, 29 August 2017


Mr. President,

Thank you for convening today’s debate on an important topic that not only addresses the UN peacekeeping operations but also focusses on the broader shift of the UN as a whole towards the goal of preventing conflicts and sustaining peace. Estonia aligns itself with the statement (to be) delivered by the European Union.


First, let me start by saying that the UN peacekeeping operations play an essential and historical role in securing peace and stability globally and the “blue helmets” who have served and are currently serving across the world deserve our highest gratitude and appreciation. There is no doubt that the UN peacekeeping missions have made real difference on the ground. As research shows, compared to the pre-deployment period, peacekeeping reduces the number of civilians killed by more than 90 percent.


However, as we witness the crises growing more complex, volatile and longer lasting with each passing year, there is a real need to look at the ways of tackling the instabilities in the world both before they have turned into a full blown armed conflict and also after the weapons have been put down. In April 2016, the General Assembly and the Security Council adopted resolutions on the Review of the Peacebuilding Architecture. This was a landmark achievement as the concept of “sustaining peace” was introduced, recognizing the comprehensive and integrated approach addressing peacebuilding, going beyond the post-conflict phase and including all stages of conflict.


Taking into account the comprehensive UN approach throughout the various stages of conflicts, prevention and a strive for political solutions is of key importance and we offer our full support to the Secretary General’s efforts in this regard. Equally important is the attention to the post conflict transition to reconstruction and development that would allow for a sustainable peace to be achieved. In this regard it is important to make sure that the mandates of the UN peacekeeping operations become more concrete and robust, especially in including tangible targets and exit strategy, while bearing in mind the need to protect civilians, assure the sustainability of the rule of law, respect of human rights and international law.


We also see the need for the mandates to reflect the UN that is quicker, more flexible and adaptive in addressing the dynamics of the crisis areas. It is essential that the mandates take into account the actual situation on the ground. Furthermore, to achieve sustainable peace, it is crucial that all different actors do work together to resolve the conflict. Sustainable peace can only be achieved if we have both a thorough and broad understanding of the conflicts and their root causes, the different actors and key players in it. That includes adding specialized units to the UN peacekeeping missions where it is deemed necessary. Sometimes a small specialized unit, such as intelligence gathering, can make a huge difference in terms of the UN mission’s size or duration on the ground.


Participating in the UN peacekeeping operations has always been important for Estonia. Estonia has in the past years significantly increased its involvement in the UN peacekeeping operations. We are currently contributing to three operations: the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission Mali (MINUSMA) and the UN Truce Supervision Organisation (UNTSO).


Furthermore, Estonia is currently a member of the Peacebuilding Commission and we fully support a broader focus of the Peacebuilding Commission, including regional approach and addressing cross cutting issues, strengthening the bridging role between the General Assembly, Security Council and ECOSOC, and improving PBC´s advisory role to these bodies. We are convinced that for effective peacebuilding and ensuring sustainable peace beyond the acute crises, the United Nations system needs to work in a more integrated, flexible and coordinated manner across all its pillars, both at country level and at headquarters.


In conclusion, Mr. President, we see more robust and adaptive mandates, firm and decisive actions, less duplication and fragmentation, more innovative solutions, and emphasis on the partnerships on regional and international level as the elements to success in achieving sustainable and lasting peace. Also, let me emphasize once more the importance of prevention when it comes to sustaining peace. Estonia is fully committed to that cause and sees that as one of the key issues in our strive towards becoming an elected member of this council in 2020-21.


Thank you.


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