Estonia is a member of UNCTAD since 1991. Estonia participates in the work of UNCTAD actively, as we regard the trade and development and related topics, as well as the integration of developing countries into the world trade a very important catalysts to achieve the global development and prosperity for all.
Since its membership, Estonia has taken several key roles in UNCTAD. The Permanent Representative, H.E. Mr. Jüri Seilenthal worked actively as the President of the Trade and Development Board in 2012-2013. In 2015, Estonia stood up as the Group D regional coordinator during the preparatory process of UNCTAD XIV Conference, acted as one of four main group negotiators to reach the Nairobi Maafikiano outcome, and fills this position since then. Also, Estonia has filled the position of the Vice President of UNCTAD Trade and Development Board during the period of 2015-2019 (Mr. Taavo Lumiste, Permanent Mission of Estonia in Geneva). For several years, Estonia was a member of UNCTAD Working Party and Advisory Board.
The priority topics for Estonia are the empowerment of women and youth, promoting entrepreneurship and creating job opportunities for them. Promoting e-commerce and digital economy is another line of Estonian priority issues in the world of trade and economic development. Estonia actively shares its strong and broad experience in promoting e-governance tools for the developing countries. The Estonian e-Residency team is founding member of UNCTAD-i e-Trade for All initsiative at the UNCTAD XIV Conference in Nairobi, in 2016. Estonia is also a donor country for this initiative. At the UNCTAD XIV Conference, the member states created an Independent Government Experts Group for E-commerce and Digital Trade – Estonia was a Vice Chair of the first meeting of this initiative in 2017. The experts from the Estonian Centre of Registers and Information Systems advise UNCTAD and its developing members to create a template e-governance platform to support their work and efforts in economic development and trade facilitation. Successful projects are ongoing with El Salvador, Iraq, Lesotho, if just to mention a few ones.
Beyond this, Estonia is of course an active participant in supporting the European Union action in development issues. The European Union and it member states are amongst the major financing contributors to UNCTAD.