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General Assembly – First Committee

Statement by the Permanent Representative of Italy to the Conference on Disarmament, Ambassador Vinicio Mati, at the General Debate of the First Committee First Committee of the 72nd UN General Assembly – Thematic Discussion on Conventional Weapons —

Mr. Chair,

Italy aligns itself with the statement of the distinguished representative of the European Union. I would like to add some remarks in my national capacity.

Mr. Chair,

Italy strongly supports all international instruments restricting or prohibiting the use of weapons contrary to International Humanitarian Law.

The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and its Protocols are crucial in this regard and their universalization and full implementation remain fundamental goals. We regret that, due to financial issues, no CCW formal meeting could be held in 2017 until now, but look forward to substantive exchanges during the upcoming Convention meetings, particularly on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems and IEDS.

Mr. Chair,

Italy is extremely concerned by the indiscriminate humanitarian and socio-economic impacts of anti-personnel landmines and cluster munitions, especially on civilians. For this reason, universalization as well as continued and full implementation of the Ottawa and Oslo Conventions are among of our priorities.

I am proud to announce that on 3 October 2017, the Italian Parliament, building upon strong support from the Italian civil society, approved a new law prohibiting all Italian financial institutions from investing in and providing any form of support to Italian or foreign companies performing a range of activities including the production, use, sale, import, export, stockpiling, or transport of antipersonnel mines as well as cluster munitions and explosive submunitions.

At the national level, we also completed the destruction of stockpiles of antipersonnel mines in 2002 and of cluster munitions in 2015.

At the international level, we continue to allocate resources for the implementation of comprehensive mine action programmes relating to all explosive remnants of war and focusing on clearance, stockpile destruction, risk education, and victim assistance. Since 2001, we have devoted close to 50m EUR to Mine Action programmes to recipients including Afghanistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Gaza, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan. Besides providing financial assistance, we engage in capacity-building through training programmes and the sharing of technical demining know-how.

Our assistance programmes rely on partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including the UN, other international and regional organizations, civil society, and survivor representatives. In particular, we have established a long-term and fruitful cooperation with the ICRC and the United Nations Mine Action Service.

Italy attaches particular importance to assisting survivors and their families, as a fundamental component of humanitarian aid, and as a key element in long-term development strategies. Both nationally and in our capacity as Co-Coordinators on Victim Assistance in the framework of the Oslo Convention we promote the implementation of an integrated approach to this topic across all relevant instruments. In this framework, Italy is also financing initiatives aimed at promoting good practices for gender and diversity-sensitive victim assistance in the mine action and disability sectors.

In our capacity as Chair of the Mine Action Support Group, Italy has made great efforts to strengthen coordination among mine action donors and recipients and to facilitate the exchange of substantive information on relevant policies and programmes.

Mr. Chair,

Illicit, unregulated, or irresponsible transfers of conventional arms have pernicious humanitarian, social and economic effects. Italy is committed to the effective implementation of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms, the International Tracing Instrument, and the Palermo Protocol, which are fundamental to countering such negative impacts.

The ATT’s unique contribution towards a more transparent and responsible arms trade, and to countering illicit arms transfers, relies on universalization and effective implementation as two sides of the same coin. We continue to call on all States that have not ratified the Treaty to do so as early as possible. We are also ready to engage constructively in the intersessional work programme decided by the Third Conference of the States Parties.

We also look forward to the 2018 Review Conference of the PoA on small arms as a key opportunity to take stock of progress so far and to elaborate a roadmap for concrete work in the subsequent five-year cycle.

Mr. Chair,

Civil society plays a key role in all our common efforts in disarmament and arms control, and we reiterate our support for increased partnerships with civil society institutions at all levels.

We also remain committed to the full implementation of the Women, Peace and Security agenda, and to the realization of its transformative potential also in the field of disarmament.

Finally, let me express Italy’s satisfaction at the increasing recognition of the links between disarmament and development. There can be no development without security, and no security without development. For this reason we strongly support identifying ways in which our work on disarmament and arms control can contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Thank you, Mr Chair.