Cooperation with Geneva based humanitarian organisations

Estonia and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

OCHA is among the top humanitarian partners for Estonia. Since 2014, Estonia is also a member of the OCHA Donor Support Group ODSG. ODGS is comprised of 29 biggest donors of OCHA, who all together provide 95% of its budget. Being a part of the ODSG shows Estonia’s support to OCHA and allows Estonia to play a role in ensuring the better functioning of humanitarian affairs coordination and making the organisation more effective.

Estonia and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)

UNHCR is one of Estonia’s main partners in humanitarian affairs, helping internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees worldwide.

Estonia has been supporting UNHCR’s activities from 2001. Since 2007, Estonia belongs to the UNHCR Executive Committee. In cooperation with UNHCR, Estonia remains committed to fulfilling the New York declaration.

UNHCR Donor Profile: Estonia

UNHCR Country Office – ESTONIA

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Estonia is a member of IOM since 2004 and cooperates closely with the organisation, including through IOM’s offices in Tallinn and Helsinki, and IOM’s headquarters in Geneva.

In May 2017, IOM’s Director-General William Lacy Swing visited Estonia and met with the Estonian Minister of the Interior and the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

There is also an IOM Office in Estonia.

Estonia and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

ICRC is Estonia’s main humanitarian partner outside the UN system. In 1998, Estonia made its vey first voluntary contribution to a humanitarian organisation, which went to ICRC. This can be considered the moment, when Estonia became a donor and started supporting the global humanitarian system.

Estonia is among the 30 biggest ICRC donors and cooperates very closely with ICRC. Estonia joined the state parties of the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols in 1993. Respect to the international humanitarian law (IHL) in all crises is crucial. Attacks on civilians, medical facilities and schools, humanitarian aid workers must not be tolerated and the hindering of delivery of humanitarian assistance in areas affected by armed conflicts is of significant concern.

International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Estonia cooperates with IFRC, in order to contribute to the response to natural disasters and to guarantee that humanitarian assistance gets to those in need through the National Societies, who are often the first actors to respond.

Estonia has supported IFRC’s activities for instance in Ecuador, Fiji and Haiti.

Estonian Red Cross

Good Humanitarian Donorship (GHD)

Estonia has joined the informal donor forum and network of the GHD initiative  and places much importance on the 24 Good Humanitarian Donorship Principles.

Estonia was in 2009/2010 together with Ireland the co-chair of the GHD initiative.

World Health Organization (WHO)

The WHO constitution, which serves as its founding document, was adopted at the International Health Conference, held in New York from the 19th of June to the 22nd of July, 1946. This document, signed by representatives from 61 countries, went into effect on the 7th of April, 1948, which is considered to be the founding date of WHO.

Today, WHO is one of the largest UN agencies with 194 member states. It deals with all matters related to health, and its stated Constitutional objective is “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health”. Health, however, is far more than just the absence of disease. According to WHO’s core principles, health “is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. Owing to this broad approach, WHO embarks upon a wide range of activities to promote and protect the health of all peoples.

The WHO’s work spans from strengthening health systems and preventing and controlling epidemics to promoting Universal Health Coverage, addressing the Social Determinants of Health as well as to fighting climate change. For a list of WHO’s key functions, see Article 2 of its Constitution. The basis for WHO activities in 2019-2023 is the 13th general programme of work.

The headquarters of WHO is in Geneva. Additionally, WHO has six regional offices as well as a large number of country offices, including the one in Tallinn. Estonia joined WHO in 1993 and is a member of the European region. The European Regional Office is located in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Estonia is an active member of WHO and was a member of the Executive Board from 2009-2012, represented by Dr Maris Jesse. In 2015, Estonia represented the European Region in WHO’s governance reform working group. From 2015-2016 Estonia was the European regional coordinator in Geneva, represented by Taavo Lumiste. To find out more about Estonia’s work in WHO, read the article on health diplomacy in the magazine Diplomaatia (article in Estonian).

WHO country Office in Estonia

Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)

UNAIDS is the primary global actor dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Its role is to lead, strengthen and support a broad based response to the epidemic in order to end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. UNAIDS is comprised of the UNAIDS secretariat and its partners, including a number of UN organizations.

On matters related to health, the Mission’s key partners are the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs, the Estonian National Institute for Health Development and the Estonian Agency of Medicines. We are also stepping up our cooperation with academic institutions, as well as with partners from various economic, developmental and social fields.