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55th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD)

Statement delivered by Italy at the 55th Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD) on the Priority Theme: “Strategies for eradicating poverty to achieve sustainable development for all” —

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered by the delegation of Malta on behalf of the European Union and wishes to add the following remarks in its national capacity.
Foremost, I would like to congratulate Ambassador Philipp Charwath for his chairmanship of the Commission for Social Development and the whole of the new Bureau on its taking up of functions.

Mr. Chairman,

I am very pleased to take the floor on the 55th edition of the Commission for Social Development, which is one of the oldest functional Commissions of the ECOSOC and among the ones with the broadest competence and variety of themes, some of which have become even more relevant in recent times.

All what this Commission is about, at the end of the day, is promoting social development, in such a way that adequate protection be lent to all individuals, and specifically so some vulnerable categories and social groups, such as persons with disabilities, old people, youth and family, and that social cohesion is strengthened. This is the sense of concept of a “person-centred” approach and of inter-generational responsibility – on which Italy places a high premium – which is the only path that can guide us towards a development that proves inclusive and feasible in the long-term.
On the issue of disability, I wish to recall, Mr. President, that we have just relinquished our seat as Vice-Presidents of the Conference of the State Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). We continue to place the utmost importance on such themes, chiefly mental and intellectual disabilities, and the fighting against ‘social stigma’ that often affects people with disabilities.

Mr. Chairman,

Coming to this year’s priority theme, in particular the connection between eradication of poverty and attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), I wish to underline the intimate connection between the social and economic dimension of development, and that, in order to really attain the SGDs, we need to invest on social cohesion and human capital, starting from issues like education.

In this regard, in the framework of our Presidency of the G7, we have decided – jointly with our G7 partners – to devote to Education the “2017 Accountability Report of the G7”. This year Report will take stock of the G7’s commitment and initiatives on Education, and add new important tasks such as the need to take care of the educational needs of refugees in protracted crises and the necessity of better linking development and humanitarian interventions in order to avoid the loss of entire generations: this is a specific duty we have in such challenging times, whereas there are 65 millions of displaced people and we are witnessing a unprecedented humanitarian crisis with repercussions on the social, economic, political and security domains. Italy strongly agrees with what the UN Secretary General recently said on the occasion of the recent High-Level debate on Sustaining Peace: “education is a prerequisite for both peace and economic development. Good quality education systems can help transform societies, especially those affected by conflict. Equality, respect and tolerance learned in the classroom have an impact throughout society, while schools are powerful symbols of investment in people“.

Mr. Chairman,

It holds true indeed that eradicating poverty is the necessary prerequisite to building more cohesive, strong and sustainable societies. Let me recall what Italy has done in this regard in the last two years, both in domestic and international politics. On the former, the Italian Chamber of Deputies is currently examining a Law proposal intended to introduce a National Day for the Eradication of Poverty – in conjunction with the UN-sponsored International Day – to foster public awareness and reflections on the need to end poverty and destitution in all its forms.

With reference to the latter, Article 1 of the 2014 Development Cooperation Reform Law sets poverty eradication among the fundamental goals of Italian Development Cooperation, as reflected in the Triennial Policy Document 2015-2017 and in the upcoming triennial update, which will guide our Development Co-operation activities in the coming years.

In the framework of the 2030 Agenda, the Italian Development Cooperation is actively engaged in eradicating extreme poverty in Partner Countries. Italy aims to promote a sustainable and durable development, with a particular focus on youth and education, supporting national educational systems, capacity building and job creation, in order to guarantee better life conditions for local populations. I want to recall the Italian initiatives in Burkina Faso aimed at ensuring food security and at supporting micro and small enterprises as generators of income and economic development (with an overall grant of 6.5 million €).

Likewise, in Senegal, we focus on programmes on agriculture and job creation (through a soft loan of 13.000.000 Euros) aimed at triggering sustainable economic development and addressing the root causes of irregular migration and extreme poverty, through the strengthening of the local private sector and the involvement of the Senegalese Diaspora communities in Italy.

Mr. Chairman,

To conclude, as a Nobel Prize recipient once said, “poverty is not just lack of money; it is not having the capability to realize one’s full potential as human being”. There is nothing more proper and intimate to the UN that helping every each of us fulfil his/her own potential as human being. Hence let us all work together, with concrete solutions, in this direction.

Thank you.