Estonia

Estonia adopted its most recent National Action Plan (NAP) in 2015 for the period 2015-2019. The NAP was developed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Defense and the Defense Forces, the Defense League, the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of the Interior, and the Police and Border Guard Board. The NAP identifies civil society inclusion in the development of the NAP, but does not specify which civil society organizations were involved. The NAP approaches the implementation of the Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) agenda both domestically and internationally, specifically through actions aimed at ensuring women’s human rights through the promotion of gender equality as well as prevention and elimination of gender-based violence. The NAP outlines three main objectives: improve the situation of women in conflict and post-conflict settings, with specific attention to education and increase in opportunities; raise awareness of the impact of conflicts on women as well as of women’s role in ensuring peace and security, particularly through increasing women’s participation in conflict resolution processes; and enhance cooperation and information exchange on WPS implementation at the national and international level. Each objective has corresponding actions and indicators, but the NAP does not have an allocated budget. 

Estonia’s second is preceded by one other NAP, adopted in 2010 and implemented for the period 2010-2014. The first NAP aimed to implement Resolution 1325 through the following overarching goals: political and diplomatic activities in international organizations; bilateral and multilateral development cooperation and humanitarian assistance; increasing the number of gender experts and trainings for institutions working on peace and security; and increasing the number of women in peacekeeping operations as well as in international positions related to peace and security. While the number of goals has decreased in the second NAP, the content remains consistently similar. Likewise, neither NAP has an allocated budget, while the second NAP indicates that “planned measures will be carried out within the existing budgetary means” (p. 13). 

Estonia reported on the implementation of its NAP, as well as WPS commitments, in its national reporting for Beijing+25 and in preparation for CSW64 (2020). Specifically, the country reported that: 

  • In the last five years, annual conferences, seminars and roundtables have been organized on the topic of Women, Peace and Security (WPS). The objectives of the events have been public awareness raising, sharing experiences with international partners and highlighting progress on WPS in the work of different stakeholders in Estonia. The events have gathered at least 150 participants annually, communication messages have reached thousands of readers and viewers. (pp. 44-45)
  • Estonia has helped to advance the WPS agenda internationally also by making annual voluntary un-earmarked financial contributions in support of the work of the UN Women and the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. (pp. 44-45)

Estonia gained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Estonia does not have a recent history of armed conflict, but has taken part in overseas military operations, including the Iraq War (2003-2011) and the War in Afghanistan (2001-2014). In 2004, Estonia enacted a Gender Equality Act, which prohibited gender-based discrimination in the public and private sector as well as promoting equal pay among genders. In 2016, Estonia elected its first woman president, Kersti Kaljulaid. In 2019, Estonia established a national human rights institution. In the current moment, Estonia has been experiencing ongoing tension with Russia as a result of the latter’s military activities, including placement of troops and ballistic missiles, in the Baltic Sea Region. 

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