H.E. Ms. Kristiina Oiuland
Minister of Foreign Affairs
at the International Conference on Financing for Development
18th-22nd March 2002
Ladies and gentlemen,
Estonia assigns great importance to the ongoing development processes
dealing Nvith trade (in Doha), financing (here in MTY), and the environmental
aspects of global 1sation. I'm sure that you will all agree with me, if
I say, that this is an enormously complex system of interrelated activities.
But l hope, that if we make a serious effort, the Millennium Development
Goals, or MDGs, and even more, are achievable.
Estonia; along with some other countries (usually referred to as new,
donor countries or emerging donor countries). is in a very untraditional
position in the midst of these development processes. Namely we ourselves
have started providing assistance to other countries. According to World
Bank criteria, our economy has passed the transitional period, and we have
become a regular Western economy. But on the other hand, we are still involved
in several capital-intensive processes, which are being financed by other
But I believe, that this also puts us in a unique position to contribute
to the on-going development dialogue.
First, with your kind indulgence, I would like to address the developing
Some 10 years ago, Estonia was, in the opinion of many expert observers
and economists, a wildcat. Some even went so far as to say that we would
have been better off staying in the Soviet Union, since we couldn't possibly
be successful on our own. But we believed otherwise, and were able to prove
our convictions to the sceptics. Our key to success was the liberalisation
of trade, and radical democratisation. I am not claiming that if our model
was to be copied, step-by-step, by others, similar results would be achieved.
But rather, my message is, that different models and possibilities have
to be thoroughly examined and analysed, so that every nation can choose
their own unique path to follow. But to do that, the most important thing
is to know. where one wants to go! Only then, can specific and realistic
targets be set for 1 year, 5 year, 10 year, and even 50-year periods. I
can't stress enough the fact, that having a detailed plan is rather essential
for successfully executing a development program.
Despite all the external factors that may come into play, success lies
mainly in one's commitment to implement changes according to the pre-set
development plan. That commitment may also require the making of choices
and decisions that may, at the moment, not be popular with the populace.
These unpopular decisions and resulting measures would probably include
the elimination of all socalled "black market" trade, the enforcement of
all legislation regulating business and trade, and the fight against corruption.
These actions would definitely raise the ire of those that benefit from,
or are used to just even accepting the aforementioned illegal activities.
But as long as sound policies regarding governance, and an independent
legal system and the rule of law are not implemented, I believe that no
nation has a real chance of carrying out a rapid, or even stable, development
On the other had, with the successful implementation of these, and other,
essential reforms, an efficient administrative capacity is created, which
helps to ensure the effective use of aid rendered from abroad. In other
words, development recreates development recreates development, ad infinitum.
The saying "help comes to those who help themselves" is one essential key
to successful development.
I would, with your permission, also like to address the international
As I stated earlier, Estonia is in a rather awkward position between
the developing and developed worlds. But we are definitely progressing
towards the latter. An integral part of that progress is to take responsibility
for supporting others who are striving towards the same goal.
Estonia considers trade liberalisation to be a crucial precondition
for sustained global development, a matter which we also emphasised in
Doha. There is a direct link between trade liberalisation and economic
development. Estonia, with a volume of foreign trade nearly twice the nation's
GDP, is a prime example of that. I think, that after the initial shock
of trade liberalisation to producers, everybody will gain from a freer
world market. If developing countries can produce products cheaper, and
would be permitted to export them freely, all consumers would benefit.
I sincerely think that development should be a "positive sum game".
This means, that if, for us, the cost of providing assistance is smaller
than the benefits to the recipient countries, we should definitely provide
it. To enhance the commonweal of the whole world, we should all be ready
to give up a marginal percentage of our material wealth. This will not
affect our daily lives by lowering our everyday living standard, but can
make a radical difference to the developing world. Therefore, Estonia strongly
supports increasing official development assistance, or ODA, to the levels
needed to reach the MDGs.
The process of development, in the middle of which we now find ourselves,
is of the utmost importance for the achievement of the Millennium Development
Goals. This requires all of us to make various very tough decisions. Estonia
is willing to make the effort! And, I believe, that all of you, are as
Statements at the Conference