Estonia has become a global thought leader by building the world’s most digitally advanced society, but still faces major challenges as a small state. There are over 100 states with the population of less than 10 million and yet, their voices are often overlooked on the international stage. That is why Estonia is committed to be the advocate of small states on the United Nations Security Council for the 2020-2021 term and beyond.
The Government of Estonia has asked the Columbia SIPA Capstone team to create a platform that brings together small states across the world to amplify their voices. The Capstone team has conducted field research in Estonia by interviewing leaders in the government including the President of Estonia, private sector, civil society, and academia. The team also interviewed the representatives of small states at the UN to collect their inputs.
The final report recommended the creation of FORTIS, which borrows from the Latin phrase parum fortis (“small but strong”), to advance the interests of small states by focusing on culture, digitalization, diplomacy, economy, and education. The recommendations aimed to provide the Government of Estonia with concrete action items and timeline for implementation. The report has concluded that small states could provide impactful leadership to the international community by overcoming their size barrier with innovation, efficiency, and multilateralism. Estonia has already set the example of how a small state can punch above its weight; it is now prepared to champion the success of other small states.