Kersti Kaljulaid (Estonia) on her new role as Global Advocate for Every Woman Every Child

United Nations published this video item, entitled “Kersti Kaljulaid (Estonia) on her new role as Global Advocate for Every Woman Every Child” – below is their description.

Press briefing by the President of Estonia Ms. Kersti Kaljulaid on her new role as Global Advocate for Every Woman Every Child.

As Global Advocate for Every Woman Every Child, Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid said she “will not stand in the centre of the square and start waving her own ideas” because she views UN agencies and civil society organizations as her “team,” adding that she is “their tool to achieve the objectives they have set themselves.”

Kaljulaid was appointed today (28 Jun) to her new role by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a period of two years. Speaking to reporters in New York, the Estonian President said, “The well being of women, children, and adolescents and their access to healthcare is, together with the fight against climate change, among two most crucial challenges the world and states are facing in the next decades. There is no doubt about this. We are mostly aware of the problems, aware of the root causes and solutions, but the progress we are making, well, we know it is too slow.”

Kaljulaid noted that some 14,000 children under five die daily, every 13 seconds a new born dies, and every hour 33 women die during child birth. She said, “A lot of the deaths which happen, they could be prevented by better access to healthcare, by education, by humanitarian help, and in developing the situation on human rights. We cannot simply observe where we are, we have to really be practical and act.”

The Global Advocate said the COVID-19 crisis worsened the situation, and as other crises the most vulnerable suffer the most. She stressed that the wider effects of the pandemic including overloading healthcare systems, educational gaps, disruptions to usual supply chains and more affected women and children the most. She noted that the 2030 Global Goals would be hard to achieve, but the world must nevertheless continue to strive to achieve them.

The Estonian President said she has been discussing the most critical challenges with the Secretary-General and different UN agencies and NGO. She said, during the next two years, she would emphasis three main topics, namely reducing maternal mortality, increasing nutritional security, and using all the tools available to achieve these goals, including enhancing innovation and the use of digital solutions.

Kaljulaid said she believes that part of the reason why Guterres chose her is because she is from Estonia, the only digitally transformed nation globally. She said, “We know the tools can serve the whole population, can be inclusive, and can be a great equalizer in this game in the world to help the weakest and to enable the weakest. The pandemic has highlighted the importance and possibilities of digitalization, but it has also amplified the digital gap in most countries and at different levels. In some regions, important services became inaccessible due to restrictions. In others, there was a lack of access to digital services event before the pandemic because of the lack of connectivity.”

Kaljulaid said as global advocate, she views the six agencies – World Health Organization, World Bank Group, UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women, UNAIDS – as her team, as she views different civil society organizations. She said she is ready to serve “all of them in their objectives to make the lives of women, children, and adolescents better.”

The Global advocate admitted that “most probably we cannot save the world in these two years,” but said, “I’m pretty sure that we can initiate a change. And I’m humble; even if a few lives are saved, much is achieved.”

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