Today in Ulan Bator in Mongolia, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the launch of the Leaders Engaged in New Democracies (LEND) project that will provide advice to emerging democracies and their leaders.
In announcing the start of the new project, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that Estonia is very pleased to support the modernisation and democratisation of transitioning countries together with the United States and to share its own reform and e-state experiences. “LEND allows us to share the experiences of states that successfully went through the democratisation process with states that are currently going through the process,” said Paet. “LEND is a very timely and innovative initiative, a partnership between states and experts to support democracy. And democracy, as Abraham Lincoln said, is a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”
US Secretary of State Clinton expressed her satisfaction that the USA is announcing this new project to support and advise emerging democracies together with Estonia, which has itself carried out an extensive democratisation process and is now helping others.
“The LEND project is all the more important as more people around the world are prioritising the freedoms and rights that rightfully belong to them,” Paet emphasised. “The best way to govern a state is openly and in adherence to rule of law principles, and by increasing the peoples’ involvement in governance,” the Estonian foreign minister said. “The Arab Spring demonstrated the importance of this. We have also been witnesses to the major role information and communications technology played in all this,” he added.
Paet stated that Estonia adheres to the principles of open and transparent governance and people have easy access to high-quality services. “Various e-services have improved people’s quality of life and helped to create a stable and sustainable society,” Paet noted. “Through LEND we can share these experiences with new democracies – this is a resource for democratic reforms that will allow heads of state to make faster decisions based on trustworthy expertise,” he added.
The Estonian foreign minister stated that democratic countries are the most responsible and contribute the most to global security. “Estonia and the USA value democratic principles, rule of law, and respecting fundamental rights and freedoms,” Paet said. “It is essential that these values be respected all over the world. LEND is one measure to help achieve this, and through this co-operation Estonia, the USA, and other developed democracies can become acquainted with the experiences of emerging democracies and transitioning countries.”
The goal of LEND is to guarantee quality expert knowledge and advising for the leaders of emerging democracies by countries that have their own reform experience. The idea for the project came from the US Department of State, which proposed that Estonia could be the co-chairman of the project along with the USA.
In Ulan Bator Foreign Minister Paet will also meet with President of Mongolia Tsakhia Elbegdorji and Foreign Minister Gombojav Zandanshatar.
Additional information on LEND: