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Statement by H.E. Mr. Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia at the Security Council Open Debate on Peace and Security in Africa: Strengthening Peacekeeping Operations in Africa, 20 November 2018

20.11.2018

Mr President, Distinguished Colleagues,

Estonia aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union.

At the outset, allow me to thank the Chinese presidency of the Security Council this month for convening today’s very timely open debate. Today, half of all UN peacekeeping missions are on the African continent, including the largest and the most complex ones. This makes improving the overall performance and safety of peacekeeping operations in Africa of paramount importance.  
 
Mr President,

The importance of Action for Peacekeeping, HIPPO and Cruz reports can not be overstated. Estonia fully supports striving towards more realistic, robust and tailored mandates for peacekeeping operations. In addition, it is important to enable closer coordination among UN mission commanders that would help set up achievable tasks for the successful fulfilment of mandates.

In order to build truly successful peacekeeping operations, we need better-prepared troops. Sufficient training that is suitable to the conditions on the ground, the right equipment and interoperability of forces is the responsibility of all of us. Fully trained forces with greater capabilities and fewer caveats are critical to ensure that our troops are prepared and able to carry out the tasks we ask of them.

Estonia commends the work of the Security Council in mainstreaming the gender aspects in the mandates of the UN peacekeeping missions. We also strive to ensure gender parity in our own peacekeeping troops. Greater inclusion of women peacekeepers is crucial to raising awareness and improving the implementation of gender aspects in peace operations. The importance of including the question of women and children to the context of peace and security cannot be over-emphasized. It goes without saying, the zero-tolerance policy on sexual exploitation and abuse must be fully implemented and all perpetrators must be held accountable.

Mr President,

In discussing Peace and Security in Africa, I want to underline the importance of addressing the root causes of conflict. African Union's Agenda 2063 highlights that forging synergies between governance and peace and security is crucial for addressing conflicts in a holistic manner. We very much welcome the African efforts on concrete structural conflict prevention initiatives, early warning, mediation, and preventive diplomacy, and encourage further efforts to this end. Furthermore, Estonia fully supports the Secretary General’s prevention agenda and all his efforts in this regard.

Mr President,

None of us will be able to solve the conflicts of this world alone. Forging synergies between partners, and taking the most of what the multilateral system has to offer, will bring us closer to lasting peace and economic well-being. For our part, Estonia will continue contributing to Africa’s peace and security. Our troops remain on the ground in Mali, as part of UN MINUSMA and the French-led operation Barkhane. We fully stand by the EU-UN strategic partnership on peace operations and crisis management, and strive for deeper trilateral cooperation between the UN, EU, and AU on peace operations, conflict prevention and crisis management.

In conclusion, Mr President, in order to strengthen peacekeeping operations – be they in Africa or elsewhere in the world – we need tailored country and region specific mandates and better prepared forces with greater capabilities and fewer caveats. We need to focus on prevention and address the root causes of conflict. We need to involve all stakeholders on the ground, starting from larger regional organizations and ending with the local communities in conflict areas. From our side, Estonia will continue to promote these ideas throughout our bid for the non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council for the period of 2020-2021.

Thank you!
 

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