I wish to thank the Secretary-General for his remarks and the AU Representative for his briefing.
Italy fully aligns itself with the statement (to be) delivered by the European Union and would like to add a few remarks in a national capacity.
Italy strongly encourages cooperation between the United Nations and regional organizations, consistent with Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations.
Regional organizations can at times be better positioned to respond to certain problems, emergencies or crises. We must thus use this comparative advantage and support the regional organization that assumes the leadership as necessary and as jointly agreed so that we can assure coherence in the response of the international community and avoid duplications.
We thus welcome and support the efforts of the African Union to strengthen its capacities in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacekeeping and its active role in defining and implementing African solutions to African problems.
We encourage the strengthening of the AU-UN partnership, including through the joint planning of peacekeeping operations so as to favor a smooth transition to UN peace missions. To this end, we look forward to a harmonization of standards of Troop and Police-Contributing Countries.
Over the years Italy has strongly supported, politically and financially, the endeavors of the AU. We have done so both bilaterally and within the framework of the European Union, and in full respect for the principle of national and African ownership. Through the Italian African Peace Facility we have allocated about 30 million euros for a number of initiatives developed by the AU.
In the security sector, we have made financial contributions to AMISOM, to the development of the African Standby Forces, to bilateral initiatives defined jointly with the AU, and to support the Somali security forces and their capacities. Furthermore, since last February, Italy has held the command of and provided the main contingent to the EU Training Mission in Somalia for the Somali security forces, which are fighting alongside AMISOM and thus contributing to our shared goal of quelling terrorism in the Country and the region. Italy has also contributed 40 engineers to EU Operation in CAR, in support of MISCA and, subsequently, of MINUSCA.
Politically, Italy has always upheld the role of the AU and its structures. We contributed financially to the AU High-Level Implementation Panel and to the Panel of the Wise, and we are in the process of granting new contributions: respectively 500,000 USD and 250,000 USD.
We have also encouraged and favored cooperation between the AU and the African sub regional organizations. In the Horn of Africa, for instance, synergies between the action of the African Union and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, also strongly supported by Italy, are of utmost importance to further consolidate the stabilization processes in the region, such as in South Sudan and Somalia.
In the concept note prepared for today’s discussion, a series of specific questions were posed on how we can overcome the challenges that the AU-UN partnership still faces. We trust that the Peace Operations Review recently launched by the Secretary-General will offer an answer to these questions.
More generally, we hope that the Review provides some innovative and much needed food for thought. The reality on the ground has clearly shown the need for an update of the UN Peace and Security architecture: a holistic approach is necessary to take into account all of the different phases of conflict. The nature of the attacks against civilians and the Blue Helmets, in DRC, CAR, South Sudan, Darfur, and Mali is also advocating for more robust mandates, as well as modern equipment and appropriate training. In consideration of the value added of UAVs, we invite the Panel to further explore the use of modern technologies in peace operations, while keeping in mind all of the concerns that part of the membership has on this matter.
Italy is ready to engage further in initiatives like COESPU, the Center of Training for Security Police Units in Vicenza, led by our Carabinieri, which is providing effective training skills mostly to African police officers. We also want to tighten collaboration between the Italian Army’s higher learning institution and the UN Staff College in Turin.
During the Italian Presidency of the European Council, together with Germany and in close collaboration with DPKO, we hosted a series of seminars, here and in Europe, on EU/UN cooperation in crisis management. They were important occasions to discuss how we can strengthen cooperation, by talking about the lessons learned and the way forward. We hope that the results of this exercise can contribute to the work of the Panel.
I would like to conclude by reiterating Italy’s will to continue its efforts in strengthening the relationship between the UN, the AU and other regional organizations, and especially the EU.