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Statement by Mr Gert Auväärt, Chargés d'affaires, Deputy Permanent Representative of Estonia at the Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Mediation and the Peaceful Resolution of Conflicts”, 29 August 2018

29.08.2018

Mr President,

Allow me to begin by thanking the United Kingdom for convening this debate on mediation and the peaceful settlement of disputes. Estonia aligns itself with the statement delivered by the EU.

Today’s meeting is very timely. Not only do we witness an increase in conflicts, but a number of peace processes are experiencing setbacks, ceasefire agreements do not hold and unprecedented number of people are displaced from their homes. As we may start doubting in our capacity to settle conflicts in peaceful ways, we must remind ourselves that we cannot afford to do that. Peaceful resolution of conflicts is the very purpose of the United Nations. It is our collective responsibility under the Charter to do everything we can to avert the outbreak of crises by peaceful means.

Mr President,

I would like to focus on the following aspects of today’s topic: mediation capacity, inclusivity and political will and leadership.

Estonia supports the United Nation’s increasing focus on mediation as a crucial means of action in conflict resolution. We thank the Secretary-General for his report and welcome his initiatives to enhance the United Nations as well as national and local mediation capacities. Ability to anticipate and react timely to emerging and existing conflicts; skills of cooperation and partnership building; virtues of care and trust – enhancing these capacities is a necessary investment in effective conflict prevention. The establishment of the High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation is equally a step in the right direction. Additionally, Estonia values very highly the work the Department of Political Affairs is doing in the field of prevention and mediation and we are proud to be among the supporters of the DPA.

As many have already stressed today, we believe that inclusivity is one of the keys in successful conflict prevention. Perceptiveness to the grievances and perspectives of different communities and groups – including young and old, women, religious groups, minorities – are vital in understanding the challenges and achieving lasting and sustainable solutions.  We would like to emphasise that the inclusion of women, specifically, does not only serve equal participation in the negotiation but also contributes to bringing up women specific issues within conflicts. In this regard, it is important to ensure that women are included at decision-making levels and appointed as high-level mediators. 

Finally, let me emphasise the importance of the political will and engagement to successful mediation processes. We appeal to the Security Council to use the full potential of Chapter VI in a united manner and in the spirit of cooperation. To the same extent, it is for us as the international community to find ways to support and incentivise the political will necessary for conflict resolution of individual member states at all administrative levels. 

Mr President,

Estonia has contributed to peaceful settlement of disputes by taking part in several UN-led peacekeeping operations around the world, including the Missions in Lebanon and Mali, and in the UN Truce Supervision Organization. Peacekeeping, however, normally follows events that have already caused violence and suffering. In order to avoid keeping only reacting to conflicts, we need to step up and intensify our efforts to use all available means to prevent conflict.

In this regard, I would like to emphasize the role of the Peacebuilding Commission as a central actor in conflict prevention and peacebuilding in the UN system. Estonia had the privilege of being a member of the Peacebuilding Commission last year, and we very much support its broader focus. Additionally, Estonia has supported the Peacebuilding Fund since 2013, as we believe that the PBF is an effective peacebuilding instrument for providing catalytic, fast and flexible assistance. Estonia will continue to promote these ideas also throughout our first bid ever for the non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council for the period of 2020-2021.

Thank you!

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