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STATEMENT BY AMBASSADOR INIGO LAMBERTINI, DEPUTY PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ITALY TO THE UNITED NATIONS, AT THE ECLAC REGIONAL FORUM ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN. AN OVERVIEW OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (March 20, 2015)  

Allow me to start by saying that, as an Italian, I see in this room the image of an enlarged family. Nearly 50 millions of Latin American and Caribbean citizens have Italian origins. It may seem superfluous to recall what is already well known were it not for the formidable leeway that these strong ties give us to contribute together to a shared and universal sustainable development agenda to leave to the next generations.

Let me give you just a few concrete examples.

In June the Italian Government will host the seventh edition of traditional conference dedicated to “Italy and Latin America and the Caribbean”. As this year the Conference will be hosted by the city of Milan, Ministers from Latina America and the Caribbean will have the opportunity to visit the 2015 Universal Exhibition, the largest event ever dedicated to food security and nutrition. 145 countries, among which many from the American continent, will share the best of their technologies, experiences and traditions to respond to a vital universal need: being able to guarantee healthy, safe and sufficient food for everyone, while respecting the planet and its equilibrium.

The Latin American and Caribbean region has an extremely rich biodiversity that needs to be protected by promoting the sustainable use of natural resources also through effective and transparent partnership models. Triangular cooperation can be one of these models. The “Amazons without fires” programme Italy is implementing with Brazil, Bolivia and soon Ecuador is an internationally recognized best practice in this field.

To protect the environment we also need to enhance resilience to calamities and natural disasters. I can’t help but stress the incredible challenges being faced by the Small Island Developing States, as the recent tragic events in Vanuatu confirm. Italy, as a peninsula, has a long experience of facing challenges related to the protection of its own coasts and of the many vulnerable islands that belong to our territory. In the last decade we have further deepened our partnerhsip in particular with the SIDS. We have just concluded a joint programme with UNDP to reduce vulnerability in the Caribbean.

Effectively addressing climate change is key to this. While in other rooms of the Un headquarters we are celebrating today the “International Day of Forests” Italy has high expectations for the outcomes of the programme “Climate Change and Mountain Forests” in three pilot countries: Bolivia, Ecuador, Papua New Guinea.

Sustainable development also means creating job opportunities and increasing social inclusion through the balanced use of the natural heritage and environmental resources. It is fundamental to share with Latin American and Caribbean countries the know-how to support the sustainable and communitarian tourism sector (“eco-tourism”), as Italy is doing in many countries of the Region drawing from our own experience.

I would like to conclude by acknowledging the “best practices” many Latin American and Caribbean countries have provided to the whole international community through innovative initiatives that have promoted social inclusion. I take this as the real meaning of “universal agenda”, an agenda in which everyone can learn from others in the pursuit of shared objectives of well-being and sustainability.