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General Assembly – Second Committee Meeting on “Sustainable Mountain Resolution”.

Statement delivered by Italy at the Second Committee Meeting on “Sustainable Mountain Resolution”. —

Distinguished Chair, Dear colleagues,

I am honored to introduce today resolution A/C.2/74/L.50 on “Sustainable Mountain Development”, speaking also on behalf of Kyrgyzstan, who presented and co-facilitated with Italy the afore-mentioned resolution.

I would first like to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation for the very constructive engagement of all the delegations during the informal consultations, which allowed us to obtain a well-balanced, focused and action-oriented outcome.

The final text of the resolution presented today for adoption substantively shows how the promotion of sustainable mountain development should be central to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

As many as 670 million people living in high mountain regions depend on them for food and water, energy, trade, transport, recreation and tourism, for health and wellbeing, culture and identity. As highlighted in the resolution, the sustainable development of mountain regions and the conservation of their cryosphere and biodiversity have a direct impact on lowland areas, even far from mountains, thus potentially affecting the well-being of billions of people.

The resolution also alerts us to the impact of climate change and environmental degradation on mountain regions, which are among the areas most vulnerable to hazards and natural disasters due to the rise in global temperature. Promoting resilience, protecting biodiversity and ecosystems and, at the same time, supporting gender equality, as women are often the primary managers of mountain regions’ natural resources, should be at the center of the international community’s action.

In a nutshell, the following holds true for mountains regions: stable, sustainable and durable economic and social development cannot be achieved without a scientifically based, action-oriented and concrete commitment to combatting environmental degradation and protecting biodiversity and natural resources.

As it clearly emerged during our discussions, the best – and possibly only – way to achieve these ambitious objectives is to adopt a multi-stakeholder, inclusive approach. Since its inception the resolution on “Sustainable Mountain Development”, adopted for the first time at the 58th session of the General Assembly in 2003, has put a specific focus on the positive engagement of all relevant actors in sustainable mountain development initiatives. These include central governments and local authorities, international organizations, academia and the scientific community, civil society, local communities and the private sector.

We remain strongly committed in the future activities aimed at the sustainable development of the mountain areas, carried out in the framework of the Mountain Partnership, and of all other relevant initiatives in this field. These will be strongly supported by the advocacy of the Groups of Friends for the promotion of sustainable mountain development here in New York, as it has been the case for the Mountain Focus Group, founded and co-Chaired by Italy and Switzerland, and will be for the recently constituted Group of Friends of Mountainous Countries, led by Kyrgyzstan.

Distinguished Chair,
Let me conclude by highlighting that the successful outcome of the negotiations on the resolution for “Sustainable Mountain Development” demonstrates that co-drafting resolutions by members of different constituencies is a best practice that could and should be replicated in the future. Its triannual adoption – decided during the 71st session – is indeed a concrete step toward the streamlining of the work of the Second Committee, in line with the principles that should be guiding the ongoing revitalization process.

On behalf of Italy and Kyrgyzstan, I wish to sincerely thank all of the co-sponsors of the resolution, whose support and active contribution during the negotiation process confirmed a true cross-regional engagement on sustainable mountain development.

I also invite all the Member States that have not yet co-sponsored the resolution to add their voice to the broad group of sponsors, if this is their intention, to confirm the relevance of mountain area development in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

I would like to express our gratitude to the Bureau and to the Secretariat for their support and, in particular, to Lucas Tavares and Francesca Zoppi from FAO and to Julie Powell from DESA, who actively and efficiently supported the two co-facilitators during the preparatory process and negotiations.

Italy would finally like to express its appreciation to Kyrgyzstan for its invaluable commitment and cooperation in co-drafting and co-facilitating this “Sustainable Mountain Development” resolution.

Thank you.