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Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Ambassador Inigo Lambertini, at the Security Council Open Debate on “United Nations – African Union and security cooperation: Chapter VIII application and the future of the African Peace and Security Architecture”

Mr. President,

I thank Egypt for organizing today’s debate. It is extremely timely and relevant. Italy aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union and wishes to add the following remarks in a national capacity.

Last week we hosted in Rome the first ever ministerial Conference between Italy and Africa. With 45 Ministers from African countries, the Conference aimed at renewing the natural partnership Italy has with Africa.

Being a natural bridge towards Africa, in Rome we proposed a “Sustainability Compact” between Italy and Africa, between Europe and Africa. Sustainability of peace and security, first and foremost, to avoid conflicts and relapse into conflicts and to achieve the goal of a “conflict-free Africa”. Secondly, socio-economic sustainability to seize the immense opportunities the Continent provides. Thirdly, sustainability in managing migration building upon the Migration Compact Italy has proposed to the European Union to promote a strategic approach. In doing so, Italy is moved by the idea that the solution to today’s challenges – terrorism, climate change, sustainable development, migration – can be found in Africa and with the contribution of our African partners. Italy is committed to finding common solutions because we share the same concerns and fate as our African partners.

Faced with such challenges, the United Nations should act as an enabler for peace and work towards a more effective multilateralism as the only viable solution to today’s borderless challenges. In this context, the role of the African Union and a strengthened cooperation with the UN under Chapter VIII of the Charter are pivotal, as advocated by the three review processes carried out last year in the field of peace and security. A common theme of the reviews is the need for the UN build stronger partnerships with regional and sub-regional actors.

Such a partnership is pivotal because it ensures a more solid platform for the implementation of the AU Peace and Security Architecture. First and foremost, it promotes greater ownership through the principle of subsidiarity, actively involving in finding solutions those organizations and countries which understand better the root causes of the problems. Secondly, it underscores the importance of conflict prevention, early warning and preventive diplomacy by promoting a paradigm shift from the current focus on conflict management towards a more holistic approach that gives primacy to political solutions. Thirdly, it underpins the concept of sustaining peace, encompassing all cycles of conflict, which is key to long-term, stable and durable peace in Africa, a Continent still hosting the vast majority of UN peacekeepers and at the center of the UN peacebuilding efforts. Moreover, it promotes a fine tuning between Agenda 2030 and the African Agenda 2063. Their implementation is essential to address the root causes of conflicts and to promote an holistic approach to peace and security.

The partnership between the UN and the AU needs of course to be effective and smooth addressing in a pragmatic and cooperative fashion matters of common interest. The Joint UN-AU Framework for an Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security can represent the blueprint for early and continuous engagement between the two Organizations before, during and after conflicts with a view to finding political solution to the crises. Among the ways to ensure an effective partnership, I wish to underscore the importance of securing predictable, sustainable and flexible resources for the operations; promoting better coordination and interaction between the UN and AU Envoys; involving more women and youth in conflict prevention and peacebuilding initiatives; cooperating in electoral assistance, in particular in this year when Africa will hold over 20 elections; addressing the root causes and socio-economic background of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa; focusing on capacity and institution building to sustain peace.

In terms of sustainable funding of AU operations, let me recall the findings of the Prodi Report of 2008, which proposed concrete recommendations to address this issue. In this respect, we welcome the recent appointment of the former President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, as AU High Representative to the Peace Fund. It is an important signal of the AU’s commitment to tackle financial challenges

Mr. President,
We believe in a stronger UN/AU relationship because Italy works with the AU and appreciates the value it can add. Our approach is based on finding political solutions by involving African partners rather than military interventions. Last week in Vienna we have sought to do so on Libya, by inviting also the African countries on the south border of that country.
Italy is committed to support the structures and initiatives of the African Union Commission, and in particular its Peace and Security Department (AU-PSD).

We will continue to do so within the partnerships established by the AU with the European Union and the United Nations, and by relying on bilateral instruments, such as the Italian-Africa Peace Facility, which has been operational since 2007 representing a clear example of sustainable and predictable funding. Through this Facility, Italy has supported the AU Mission in Somalia, the AU High Level Implementation Panel for the Sudan, the AU’s Panel of the Wise and the Tana High Level Forum on Security. We will contribute to the further operationalization of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) also through new joint initiatives, especially focused on the Horn of Africa, and reaffirm our willingness to continue cooperating on African crisis scenarios and to promote effective cooperation between the AU, African sub-regional Organizations and other international Partners.

If elected, this is the approach Italy will be bringing next year to the Security Council. I thank you.