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Security Council – Wrap-up Session

Statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, at the Security Council Wrap-up Session —

Mr. President,

At the outset allow me to commend you on your initiative to make the formal wrap-up sessions more interactive by inviting the membership to ask the Presidency questions that Council members may attempt to answer during the meeting. This is a positive step toward updating and improving our working methods.

Before addressing some of these questions, allow me to focus on one issue that has emerged as a common theme in many of our meetings this month and in January: illicit trafficking, including in narcotics, cultural property, arms, and human beings.

In the first two months of our term, my Delegation has consistently raised this issue and proposed language on it, as appropriate, in consultations and when negotiating products. We have brought it up, for example, in our debates on the following questions: Western Africa and Central Asia; the Terms of Reference for the upcoming mission to the Lake Chad Basin; the renewal of UNIOGBIS; counterterrorism efforts; and OSCE priorities.

We must be well aware of the challenges that illicit trafficking poses to the international community and of its dual nature as the potential cause and consequence of conflicts. We are concerned by the growing links between transnational organized crime and terrorist organizations.

Illicit trafficking has become a growing source of revenue for terrorism. It exacerbates conflicts. It fuels insecurity and instability. As organized crime evolves, its sources of funding are becoming more sophisticated and diversified.

Trafficking in human beings offends our collective engagement and may amount to a war crime, when committed in conflict situations, or a crime against humanity. This is why my delegation welcomes the Council’s deep involvement with this issue, particularly in areas affected by conflict, as underlined most recently in Presidential Statement 25 of 2015 and Resolution 2331 of December 2016.

My Delegation has consistently raised this multi-faceted challenge when discussing a specific country or region, so as to underline the complexity of the security scenario and the critical importance of consolidating our joint efforts to prevent and tackle all forms of illicit trafficking and it impacts on international peace and security.

Allow me to recall in particular, the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, and Security Council Resolutions 2195 (2014) and 2231 (2016), which stress the direct linkages between trafficking and large movement of persons and aim to prevent the financing of terrorism through all forms of illicit trafficking. Looking ahead to the visit of the Security Council to the Lake Chad Basin, we are eager to hear assessments on the effectiveness of measures to prevent trafficking in weapons to armed groups, and any other form of trafficking.

International cooperation is crucial, since it is simply beyond the capacity of any single state to take comprehensive action to address a problem that typically involves different countries of origin, transit and destination. In this respect, Italy is promoting the organization of a High-level Debate on the “Palermo Convention” and its implementation, which will be held in June at the UN.

Mr. President,

Turning briefly to some of the questions raised by the membership, in particular on working methods and the perceptions of incoming member, I must say that I have found the Council to be more effective and more united than I had been told it would be.
Of course, political differences do remain, of course, and Japan by the way is working hard, with the assistance of all the delegations, to improve and update our working methods.

With regard to consultations, I have found Council members to be quite constructive. They are aware of the need to manage time efficiently and interested in having an interactive discussion, going beyond talking points, and thus enabling a better understanding of where delegations stand on the issue being debated. Preparing briefers in advance for a focused discussion and summing up the meeting with press elements are good examples of how we are trying to improve our working methods which is a crucial element of our working and both the Swedish and your Presidency did so.

A game changer and in closing, in my view, is the Secretary-General’s direct involvement in Council proceedings and the Secretariat’s more proactive role in providing policy options to Council members. The meetings with the Secretary-General on the 3rd and 24th of February regarding his recent trips to Africa and the Middle East stand out, in my view, as a best practice the Council should pursue as often as possible to make its proceedings more goal-oriented and policy-driven.

Thank you, Mr. President, and congratulations on your stewardship of this still unfinished and very busy month. At the same time, all the best to the incoming UK Presidency.