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The President of the Republic opened a scientific conference ''Sustainable Estonia''

The President of the Republic today opened a scientific conference ''Sustainable Estonia'' in Tallinn University. The conference is organised by the President of the Republic's Academic Council and Tallinn University, and is aimed at raising the society's awareness about the issues related to sustainable development and the activities of the President of the Republic’s Academic Council in that field.

Kalev Katus, Ene-Margit Tiit, Ain-Elmar Kaasik, Jüri Sepp, Alar Karis, Jaan-Mati Punning, Jaak Aaviksoo, Richard Villems, Raivo Palmaru, Kalle Merusk, and Eduard Raska made presentations at the conference.

Opening the conference, President Rüütel said that although excellent development plans have been worked out in Estonia in several spheres of life, their impact on actual processes has been inadequate or even non-existing. ''The reason for it could be the lack of willingness of too often changing government or its incapability to realise good ideas, but also the lack of clearly defined political responsibility. Different government agencies perceive the matter differently and do not see the whole picture; therefore we need an integrated approach that would link all different agencies together. Alas, we can say that also the most integrated development plan that we have had so far - ''Sustainable Estonia 21''- has been virtually put on the shelf. This is regrettable, when considering modern development trends and prevalent understandings,'' the Head of Estonian State said.

President Rüütel also offered suggestions that would ensure Estonia's sustainability. ''In Estonia we have introduced childbirth allowances and parental benefits, but it is not right to nurture only the birth-rate. In order to quarantine equal development opportunity for every child born, we also need a national support system in the form of a guarantee fund. With the help of such fund, the state would take the responsibility to finance childcare, general and hobby education, school meals and boarding schools. Through such effective support to Estonian families the state would give them sustained confidence about giving birth and bringing up children,'' the President of the Republic underlined.

In the words of President Rüütel, the task of the state is to create conditions for self-fulfilment and development for its citizens, and to guarantee their security through providing continued accessibility of readiness services. ''Among other things, the latter means that the state has to be capable to respond to all security risks in time. Although, a corresponding system of measures has been created in Estonia, the emergency situations we have had so far have indicated the existence of serious problems in real activities. Therefore I agree with the opinion that was recently expressed by the Academic Council that we need, as soon as possible, a national programme for strengthening internal security,'' the Head of Estonian State said.

The President of the Republic reiterated also some of his earlier suggestions - ensuring that young families can have land to build their home, as there is a sufficient land resource, but also the necessity for a special national sustainability programme, a part of which would cover more efficient labour market policy and enhancement of innovation.

Within the framework of the conference, there was also a presentation of ''Estonia on the path of sustainable development'' - a collection of articles issued by the Academic Council's Commission on Rural Life and Balanced Development, which had been compiled by Jaan-Mati Punning and Heino Luik and published by Estonian Encyclopaedia Publishers Ltd.

By its subject matter the conference was a continuation to the scientific conference ''Estonia's Survival'' that was held in 1993 in the National Library.

The abstracts of the presentations are available at:

The full text of the speech delivered by President Rüütel is available at:

Public Relations Department of the Office of the President
Kadriorg, May 25, 2006

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