Statement delivered by Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, Deputy Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on “Cooperation between the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security: Silencing the guns in Africa” —
Let me join previous speakers in commending Equatorial Guinea and you personally, Mr. Minister, on convening this Open Debate. I also wish to thank the three Briefers for their appreciated contributions.
Italy aligns itself with the statement to be made by the European Union.
A new wind of hope is blowing in Africa. After the historical rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the Continent is moving towards a new era of regional stabilization and integration, as shown also by the Revitalized Peace Agreement in South Sudan and the recent Bangui Peace Agreement for the Central African Republic. This should encourage us to step up our efforts in support of Africa and should help African States to reach the objective of “Silencing the guns in Africa by 2020”.
Notwithstanding these recent and inspiring developments, there are still major threats and challenges to peace and security in Africa: terrorism, trans-national organized crime, violence against women and children in armed conflicts, poverty, vulnerability to climate change, just to mention a few. Addressing these challenges requires that the United Nations and the African Union keep working together closely, involving regional and sub-regional organizations.
The AU-UN partnership has already proved to be of paramount importance. The successful conclusion of the peace talks between the Government of the Central African Republic and the armed groups that took place in Khartoum is just the most recent example of how successful and effective this relationship can be. We have consistently supported the new impetus given by the Secretary-General to the further strengthening of the cooperation between the UN and the AU and we call upon the two Organizations to continue in this direction. We also attach importance to advancing the trilateral cooperation between the UN, the AU and the EU.
Italy commends the progress already achieved in operationalizing the African Peace and Security Architecture and especially the Peace Fund of the African Union, which is set to finance also mediation and preventive diplomacy activities. Let me recall, in this regard, that we remain in favor of using UN-assessed contributions for African-led peace operations, provided that appropriate standards in terms of troop preparedness, training, equipment, financial transparency, human rights compliance, conduct and discipline are met.
At the sub-regional level, we deem it crucial to deepen the cooperation mechanisms between the United Nations and the relevant sub-regional organizations, on the basis of complementarity and subsidiarity.
I now wish to focus on two major areas that we consider essential to reach the objective of Silencing the guns in Africa by 2020: the fight against the proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons and the improvement of governance throughout the Continent.
On the first point, Italy is strongly committed to multilateral efforts in fighting the illicit trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons, which contributes to instability, violence and insecurity and undermines the action towards sustainable development. Italy attaches the utmost importance to the universalisation of the relevant multilateral instruments, such as the UN Programme of Action on Small Arms and Light Weapons, the Arms Trade Treaty and the UN Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, the so-called Palermo Protocol. Let me recall that Italy is currently financing the UNODC Global Firearms Programme with a view to assisting States in the Sahel region for the full implementation of the Palermo Protocol. Moreover, Italy supports any initiative taken and owned by the States of the region, like the Kinshasa and ECOWAS Conventions on Small Arms and Light Weapons control, and fully supports the efforts of the African Union to define a Continent-wide action plan to implement the ‘Silencing the guns’ roadmap.
On the second point, governance, we must aware that the weakness of State’s institutions and the lack of good governance, combined with socio-economic inequalities, are recurrently indicated as major factors in fueling the cycle of instability. Italy is actively engaged in capacity-building and training programs in many African countries, with the aim of promoting political and economic partnerships fostering peace and sustainable development.
In conclusion, Mr. President, let me reiterate Italy’s full engagement alongside Africa in reaching the objective of the AU’s flagship initiative of Silencing the Guns by 2020.
In this spirit, we welcome the unanimous adoption of this morning’s Resolution which we were pleased to co-sponsor.
I thank you.