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Statement by H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the UN at the Security Council Open Debate on Peace and Security in Africa: Enhancing African Capacities, 19 July 2017

19.07.2017

Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues,

Estonia aligns itself with the statement (to be) made by the European Union.

First, we would like to thank the Presidency for convening today’s open debate. We welcome the African Union’s efforts to respond effectively to conflicts and crises in Africa. A lot has been achieved, but a lot remains also to be done and the international community’s role and support in this regard is vital.

We welcome the signing of the AU-UN Framework on Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security in April 2017. We also commend the AU Assembly decision from January 2015 to fund 25 percent of AU peace support operations, and the subsequent AU Assembly decision to operationalise the AU Peace Fund. Furthermore, the AU Master Roadmap of Practical Steps to Silence the Guns in Africa by 2020 is a welcomed step forward. It is now crucial to implement all these important decisions.

In order to silence the guns in Africa, it is imperative to address the root causes of conflict. AU's Agenda 2063 identifies democratic deficit and weak governance as the root causes of conflict and impediments to sustainable development in Africa. Forging synergies between the governance and peace and security is crucial for addressing conflicts in a holistic manner. We welcome the African efforts on concrete structural conflict prevention initiatives, early warning, mediation, and preventive diplomacy, and encourage further efforts to this end.

We believe that one of the most important guarantees for the world’s sustainable development and the expansion of the influence of democracy and rule of law is mainstreaming gender equality to all areas of life. Women can play a key role in conflict prevention and resolution, peace negotiations and peace building as well in post-conflict reconstruction.

Furthermore, 2017 is the African Year of Youth, and 2018–27 was just declared the African decade for training and youth employment. Africa is the youngest continent on Earth and creating enabling conditions, jobs, education, and the rule of law for young people at home will play a crucial role in silencing the guns in Africa.  

Estonia stands ready to work with all partners to enhance capacities and work on solutions, including the digital ones for conflict prevention and good governance. That is also something we prioritize in our strive to become a non-permanent member of the Security Council in 2020-2021.

Mr President,

As we celebrated the International Nelson Mandela Day yesterday, let me finish my intervention with a quote from him: “It is easy to break down and destroy. The heroes are those who make peace and build.”. And that is something that we as the international community should always keep in mind.  

Thank you.

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