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Estlands anförande vid Millenniumtoppmötet










600 THIRD AVENUE 26TH FLOOR NEW YORK NY 10016 TEL 212 883 0640 FAX 212 883 0648


Ladies and Gentlemen,

Despite the fact that the United Nations has indeed achieved a lot over the past 55 years, the UN has not always lived up to the expectations the world had when it was first founded. This uneven record is also described in the Secretary General!!1s report. Please let me give an example of the difference between high expectations and reality. In 1972 freedom fighters in the then occupied Estonia wrote an appeal to the UN. They considered the UN to be an unquestioned moral authority. In the real world they ended up in the prison camps of the USSR without any notice from this high body. The USSR happened to be a Big Power. The UN of the New Millennium must make a difference.

To achieve this important goal, decision-making and financial procedures of the UN have to be adapted and the organisation must be streamlined. We do need a United Nations as an effective, accountable and representative organisation that represents us all, large and small countries, equally. But this has also another side: the member states themselves must be willing to pitch in. It is not enough to demand that the UN does something, we have to provide it with the necessary tools to do its work. That means that we must lead by example.

Let me focus on three points that we in Estonia consider as important:

1. Open government and open markets are a precondition for economic recovery and growth.

2. The IT sector is a vital conduit to successful development

3. No country can allow itself a discount from security.

First. The Secretary General!!1s report to us focused on the eradication of poverty and on making the world a more equal place. This is important. This can be done by alleviating debt and by providing more development assistance. I think both of these aspects are vital. However, what is crucial is that the member states of the United Nations commit themselves to good governance and open markets. Without a commitment to these two elements no amount of aid and no amount of debt relief will achieve this aim we all have to strive for.

I am convinced that small countries, such as Estonia, can provide an important example on how to manage economic restructuring. We have been able to show that opening up our markets to outside competition, cutting and indeed eliminating tariffs, privatising our economy and making the government accountable to the people bring tangible benefits. The UNDP has provided perhaps the best illustration of the efficiency of our approach. In two years Estonia has moved 30 places up in the Human Development Index and we belong today to the countries of a high human development.


The Secretary General in his report to this Summit highlighted the need to ensure that the benefits of the new technology, especially information technology, become available to all. The high-level panel on Information and Communication Technology called on all of the world!!1s population to have access to Internet by the end of 2004. This is an ambitious goal and certainly not an easy task, but it is doable.

Internet may not be a cure for all ills, indeed we have to be very careful not to overestimate the importance of Internet or to underestimate its shortcomings. However, a prerequisite for the spread of Internet and of the World Wide Web is total and unfettered access. Yet, the needs for action on ensuring this opportunity is less and less of global scale – they are also local ones, mostly it is within the hands of national governments. These, who embrace the openness are able to escalate also their citizens opportunities to the new qualitative horizons.

We have committed ourselves to promote information technology through a nation-wide program guaranteeing each and every schoolgirl and schoolboy with free access to the Internet. Today the Estonian government carries out its sessions via computer and Estonia has risen to be among the 20 most computerised nations in the world.

But this not enough. An equal distribution of money and information alone does not guarantee welfare. We have to secure an environment where it can be enjoyed. The next and decisive move for mankind is to invest into ecological technologies that allow us to live in partnership with nature.

We know how difficult it is to start such a program with limited resources. But we also know what benefits can be gained from it. That is why Estonia is committed to work together with the United Nations to assist other UN member states to create new opportunities for themselves and the world as a whole.


Just as we in Estonia have come to understand that we must transmit some of the know-how we have gained to other UN members, we have also reached the position that we cannot live on discounted security. That is why the Estonian government decided this year to give up the 80% discount that we have used so far and pay our contribution to peacekeeping in full. It is important that if we expect of the United Nations to perform ever more and more complicated tasks we must also be willing to foot the bill. Naturally Estonia!!1s contribution is not in itself much in dollar terms. However, if every member of the UN will pay the dues that it is assessed in full we will make a considerable step toward.

But paying our dues is not enough, of course. The peacekeeping system of the United Nations has to be made more effective and more adapted to the challenges of today as mentioned in the recent report on peacekeeping. As we have all seen the term !!1peacekeeping!!1 itself is no longer appropriate at a time when what is needed more than keeping the peace is establishing a peaceful environment. Whether this task is delegated to other organisations, such as NATO, or whether it is the United Nations itself carrying out these tasks, we have to be able to face the new challenges of this new millennium, also in the peacekeeping field. Estonia favours giving the United Nations a stronger mandate to establish and preserve the peace.

I hope we all will consider it our main duty to help the renewed UN to make a difference in the New Millennium.

Thank you.