Statement by Italy, at the 3rd Committee Meeting on Advancement of Women —
At the outset, let me congratulate you for your election as Chair of the Third Committee of the General Assembly.
Italy aligns itself with the statement made by the representative of the European Union and wishes to add a few remarks in a national capacity.
The empowerment of women lies at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. The achievement of SDG5 is a condition for the success of the other SDGs, because by unleashing the potential of women and girls throughout the world, we will have a greater socio-economic impact. In this regard, we believe that real empowerment starts with the eradication of every form of violence against women, including traditional harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation and child early and forced marriages.
Italy’s action to this end is multifaceted.
First, this year, we have given UNFPA a contribution of 1.4mln euros to the core budget and 1.8 mln euros to its joint programme with UNICEF on the elimination of Female Genital Mutilation. Last January, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation hosted the “BanFGM” Conference on the Universal Ban on Female Genital Mutilation, organized by the Italian NGO, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ). The event is part of the BanFGM project, funded in 2014 by the Italian Development Cooperation to strengthen the political, institutional and legal framework for the eradication of female genital mutilation in Africa.
Second, under the current Italian Presidency of the G7, we placed Gender Equality at the core of the entire G7 Agenda, and at the Taormina Summit of last May, leaders adopted a Roadmap for a Gender-Responsive Economic Environment. We will continue to push this Agenda forward, including by hosting the first ever G7 Ministerial Meeting on Equal Opportunities next November in Taormina.
Third, we have put the prevention of sexual violence and the elimination of all forms of gender-based violence at the heart of our activities in situations of conflict and emergency, also financially supporting multilateral and bilateral programs aimed at protecting women’s rights to health, safety and dignity, especially in these circumstances. In particular, the protection of migrant and refugee women is of great relevance. Indeed, women constitute the majority of the approximately 66 million refugees, internally displaced persons and asylum seekers in the world. Women are more exposed to violence, human trafficking and slavery along the escape route from their country.
Fourth, in the framework of our term in the Security Council, the implementation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda will continue to be one of Italy’s top priorities. Last December, we approved the third iteration of the National Action Plan for the 2016–2019 period. For the first time, the Italian Parliament allocated 2 million euros in support of its implementation. The plan sets a number of objectives to increase women’s participation in the whole cycle of peace, from prevention to peacekeeping, from mediation to decision-making. In this framework, one of our flagship initiatives during our term on the Security Council is the establishment of a Mediterranean Women Mediators Network that will be launched in Rome on October 26. As we acknowledge the need to foster women’s participation in such a key region for global peace and stability, this initiative aims to increase the number of women involved in peacemaking efforts and facilitate the appointment of women mediators at the local and international levels.
Fifth, gender equality, the empowerment of women and the implementation of the SDG 5 continue to be a priority sector for the Italian development cooperation and transversal factors in all cooperation programs of Italy with partner countries.
These are just some examples of our efforts aimed at ensuring the healthy development and the full engagement of half of the world’s available talent pool. We are by now used to hearing that if a Country receives a AAA rating, its economy is considered very strong. Countries themselves endeavor to reach or keep this standard. Perhaps it is time for all governments to make additional concrete efforts to reach an AAA rating on gender equality.