The Columbia Capstone teams have assisted Estonia for more than two years. In 2018, students formulated a series of recommendations for Estonia's campaign for a seat as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC). In 2019, the Capstone team elaborated on the elements for developing a platform, specifically the Small State Institute (SSI), which would support Estonia’s UNSC campaign platform to advance the common interests of small states. Since then, Estonia has been elected to the UNSC, and at the time of the present report, May 2020, Estonia is currently President of the UNSC. For this year's final report, the Capstone team has built on the foundation set by the previous reports to provide Estonia with practical recommendations on (1) the implementation of the SSI and (2) advancing its UNSC mandate.
First, the team focused on setting up the SSI by proposing a charter for the Institute, and also identified policy components to serve as a guide for best practices in climate change mitigation such as forest management, coastal adaptation, and digital pollution. The team also proposed a Sustainable Business Network to connect small state entrepreneurs and investors so as to make their enterprises thrive. These policy components were based on Estonia’s expertise and experience in digitalization and e-governance. Second, towards improving the working methods of the UNSC, the team suggested some initial steps, also applying digital technology, especially highlighting the need to protect civilians during the drafting of peacekeeping missions’ mandates.
Finally, after the Covid-19 outbreak, the Capstone team expanded its work and added suggestions on how to address the current pandemic's challenges using digitalization, including a virtual inauguration of the SSI and providing more transparency in the UNSC online meetings.