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Security Council – Open Debate on Peace and Security in Africa

Statement delivered by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, at the Security Council Open Debate on “Peace and security in Africa: Enhancing African capacities in the areas of peace and security”—


Mr. President,

Let me first commend you for convening this meeting on such an important theme in an appropriate timing and format. As your concept note indicates, there is a continuity of discussions and relevant documents on this issue and focus should now be placed on implementation. I also wish to thank the Secretary-General and Commissioner Chergui for their briefings.

Today’s topic is strategic to the stabilization of the African continent and beyond. As a Mediterranean country with a historical relationship with Africa, we are particularly interested and aware of the need to enhance African capacities in the areas of peace and security.

The AU-UN Framework Agreement signed last April 19, the Secretary-General’s report on the mechanisms to finance the AU Peace Operations, and the report of the Chairperson of the AU Commission on the same subject marked the outset of the strategic partnership between the two Organizations.

The AU has taken on important responsibilities in recent years and shown the willingness to take on more. We support African ambitions in the development of the African Peace and Security Architecture, the Africa Peace Fund, and the African Standby Force and its Rapid Deployment Capability.

AU peace operations often have comparative advantages. In this respect, Italy supports the mechanism set out in the Secretary-General’s report for a joint planning and mandating of AU peace operations. The mechanism provides for African ownership while preserving the prerogatives of the Security Council.

The AU-UN cooperation has been extensively tested in AMISOM in Somalia and in UNAMID in Darfur. I also wish to recall the potential of the Integrated Strategy for the Sahel, whose revitalization we deem essential for the entire region, and the creation of the G5 Sahel Force to fight terrorism, that can effectively cooperate with MINUSMA and the EU missions deployed in the region. We underscore yet again the importance of this innovative operation and of the need for this Council to ensure it all the necessary support in our joint endeavor against violent extremism in the Region.

I also underscore, in this regard, that the recently established unified command of the EU missions in Somalia, Central African Republic and Mali reinforces its strategic role as coordinated partner to the UN, AU, and the African Forces. In this regard we align ourselves to the upcoming EU statement.

Mr. President,

An enhanced strategic cooperation with the AU is the leading way to smart and cost-effective peace operations. We welcome the commitment taken by the AU Summit in Kigali in July 2016 to contribute 25% of the AU peace operations by 2020 and encourage the African partners, under the leadership of Dr. Kaberuka, to finalize its operative arrangements.

This commitment will significantly increase the contribution of African countries to peace operations.

The different options to provide financial support envisaged in the report of the Secretary-General can be chosen on a case by case basis. Already in 2008, the report prepared by the panel of experts chaired by former Prime Minister Romano Prodi called for predictable and sustainable financial support to United Nations-approved African Union peacekeeping missions. We are therefore in favor of exploring the use of assessed contributions, provided, of course, that the appropriate set of requirements in terms of troop quality, training, equipment and high accountability standards are met.

Financing predictability is an essential, yet not the exclusive way to strengthen African capabilities. Equipment, technological innovation and, first and foremost, training and institution-building are crucial to enhance the effectiveness of African efforts to prevent and manage conflict and to build peace. Italy stands ready to strengthen its engagement in capacity-building in favor of police and military units in AU missions; a successful example is given by CoESPU Center in Vicenza and to contribute to devising new training schemes tailored to African needs.

Mr. President,

The inter-connected nature of the current threats to stability and peace is evident in Africa more than in other areas of the world. Terrorist organizations, transnational organized crime, human trafficking, climate change, food insecurity all combine in most part of the crisis we are witnessing in the continent.

Given the horizontal and evolving nature of these threats, it is clear that the United Nations cannot and should not tackle them on its own. A renewed and enhanced partnership with regional and sub-regional organizations, based on Chapter VIII of the Charter and on the implementation of the principle of subsidiarity, is therefore essential.

In the longer term, tackling the root causes of African instability is the only sustainable solution. Italy spares no efforts bilaterally, within the EU, and in the UN, including the Security Council, to help Africa embark on a path of sustainable economic growth and NGOs like it is the case for Central African Republic.

We continue to work bilaterally with the AU, African sub-regional organizations, and African countries on the structural conflict prevention factors, such as, among others, prevention and countering of violent extremism, anti-terrorism and judicial cooperation, human rights, Rule of Law and institution-building, youth and gender-based empowerment, and capacity-building of police and border patrols.

Mr. President,

In order to achieve these goals, though, the Security Council has to show readiness in embracing the innovative spirit that the terms of the relationship with Africa require today. Ultimately, what is at stake is the idea itself of constructive multilateralism that we, as a Council, should uphold and advance by showing the necessary political leadership.

I thank you, Mr. President.