Watch again: United Nations' impact on the war in Ukraine conference

UN assembly hall.
UN assembly hall. Source: Estonian Foreign Policy Institute

On Friday, foreign and security policy experts, ministers and diplomats will discuss the United Nations' impact on the war in Ukraine, possible ways to support Ukraine in the UN, and the influence and opportunities of small countries in the UN Security Council, where Russia has veto power.

The conference "Small States in the UN Security Council: Work for Peace to Overcome the Scourge of War" will also summarise Estonia's elected membership in the UN Security Council in 2020–2021.

Speakers include President Alar Karis, leader of the democratic movement in Belarus Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, UN Director of the International Crisis Group think tank Richard Gowan, Executive Director of the Security Council Report think tank Karin Landgren and Former President of Estonia Kersti Kaljulaid.

Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute Kristi Raik said Russia's military aggression against Ukraine is also an attack on the UN and the world security order that its members have agreed on.

"The UN Security Council, which is the core of the organisation, is currently failing to fulfil its primary mission of working for peace. At the same time, the vast majority of the world's nations have condemned the Russian war and their pressure on the aggressor must continue."

The conference has been organized by the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute and the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The conference can be watched below.

Working language: English


Opening session

Welcome remarks by Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia
Video greeting by Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations


Session I: Small state influence in times of great-power rivalry

Great-power rivalry has intensified in recent years, which has hampered the work of the UN and its Security Council. However, small states continue to invest considerable resources to join the UNSC as elected members and make an active contribution to the Council's work. What can small states achieve as UNSC members? Does Russia's war against Ukraine paralyze the UNSC for months, even years ahead?

Panel discussion:

Eva-Maria Liimets, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Estonia
Simon Coveney, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ireland
Gabrielius Landsbergis, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania
Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Latvia

Moderator: Kristi Raik, Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the ICDS

10:45 Break


Session II: War in Ukraine

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a flagrant violation of the core principles of the UN Charter. As Richard Gowan writes in Foreign Affairs, the war is likely to accelerate the decline in the UN's role in maintaining international peace and security. Is it time, finally, for a radical reform of the Security Council? What can the UN system do to help Ukraine? How are the fates of Ukraine and Belarus interconnected?

Introductory speeches:

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France
Ihor Zhovkva, Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine

Panel discussion:

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Leader of the Belarusian Democratic Movement
Ferit Hoxha, Permanent Representative of Albania to the United Nations
Richard Gowan, UN Director of the International Crisis Group
Karin Landgren, Executive Director of Security Council Report

Moderator: Marko Mihkelson, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian Parliament 

13:00 Lunch


Discussion on women and girls in armed conflicts

Kersti Kaljulaid, former President of Estonia
Åsa Regnér, Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director

Moderator: Minna-Liina Lind, Ambassador at Large for Human Rights and Migration of Estonia


Session III: New security challenges: climate and cybersecurity

In addition to traditional security challenges, the UN and its Security Council need to be able to address new issue areas such as security implications of climate change and cybersecurity. Elected members have played an active role in introducing such new topics to the Security Council agenda – for example, Estonia succeeded in bringing cybersecurity on the Council's agenda for the first time ever. What are the prospects of further UNSC engagement on climate and cybersecurity?

Stanislav Raščan, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Slovenia
Martin Kimani, Permanent Representative of Kenya to the United Nations
Motohiro Tsuchiya, Professor at Keio University Graduate School of Media and Governance
Henrik Urdal, Director of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

Moderator: Marina Kaljurand, Member of the European Parliament


Concluding remarks

Estonia's membership in the UNSC 2020-21: Looking back and looking forward
Sven Jürgenson, Permanent Representative of Estonia to the United Nations


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Editor: Helen Wright

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