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The Chairman of the National Defence Committee Mati Raidma met with the Geneva Director of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Rashid Khalikov. During the meeting, he pointed out that people are increasingly asking politicians about the achievements made at civil and humanitarian missions, and about where the contributions of the tax payers are used. Estonia also has room for improvement in strengthening the role of the Riigikogu in humanitarian and civil missions.

“As with military missions, people also feel increasingly interested in knowing where, why and how much is contributed in the form of money as well as human resources. Today, the Riigikogu gives a mandate for Defence Forces missions; however, police and rescue, humanitarian mine clearance missions, and humanitarian aid usually remain outside the sphere of attention of the Riigikogu and the scope of parliamentary supervision,” Raidma said.

The participants of the meeting reflected on how donor countries and their populations in general are interested in better transparency, giving feedback and receiving reports. “This is a difficult task but we must take steps to improve the reporting of humanitarian aid organisations to donor countries, as well as the capability of the executive power to show the public what is done with the funds given for humanitarian aid. Awareness of the use of funds would certainly increase the wish to continue contributing,” Raidma added.

Raidma also said that the state cannot be too biased towards one party or another in an international crisis area, and that a balance must be struck between civil and military missions.

Raidma and Khalikov also talked about the situation in Afghanistan and the future of the country, UN activities in Asia and Africa, and the relations of UN and EU in the field of coordinating humanitarian aid.

Photos of the meeting can be viewed here.