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Security Council – Open Debate on “The Role of Reconciliation in maintaining peace and security”

Statement delivered by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on “The Role of Reconciliation in maintaining peace and security”. —

Thank you very much, Mr. President,

and thank you to the United Kingdom for organizing this open debate. I wish also to thank the Secretary-General and our distinguished briefers.

Italy aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union.

Mr. President,

Experience has shown that recourse to the peaceful prevention and settlement of disputes is the best and most cost-effective solution to promote peace and security.
There is no single recipe for success. As every conflict and ensuing settlement is different, so the related reconciliation process may differ. Nevertheless, we need to take into due account few elements.

First, reconciliation is a long-term process that takes time and cannot be rushed.
It applies not just to victims and perpetrators but to everyone in the society. Thus, it must be nationally owned and not imposed. It must take place at all levels, from national to grassroots, and be inclusive. Local communities, faith leaders and civil society play an essential role. Their unique position enables them to engage and represent large segments of society.

Women’s participation, in particular, is crucial to guaranteeing such inclusivity. Today, however, too few women are involved in reconciliation and mediation efforts. To address these limitations, Italy launched the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network. We are proud of the results it has achieved so far: new members have joined; the first two local antennas – in Cyprus and Turkey – have been established; training, capacity building and networking opportunities have been provided; and fruitful synergies with the UN, the African Union, and other regional networks have developed. The latest achievement is the creation of the Global Alliance of regional networks of women mediators, successfully launched in New York last September.

Second, for peace to be lasting there must be a linkage between national and local reconciliation initiatives. Italy firmly believes in the essential contribution local authorities and communities can make to the reconciliation process. I am thinking right now, for instance, of Libya and Mali.

Religious leaders and civil society are proven to be key partners. One example is the support of the Comunità di Sant’Egidio for the Central African Republic peace process, aiming to carefully balance its work on the need to ensure accountability, without jeopardizing the final outcome of the reconciliation process. Another example was the key role of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the recent political crisis in DRC. As a national best practice, I would also like to recall the activity of the Italian NGO “Rondine Cittadella della Pace”, an organization committed to reducing global armed conflicts by educating young generations in conflict resolution, second-track diplomacy, and the promotion of peace and human rights.

Finally, to make reconciliation an effective tool, we must continue to look at this process in a systematic and comprehensive way, both as an Organization and as Member States.

In drafting the mandates of Peace Operations, for example, actionable and precise deliverables should be associated with reconciliation activities, in particular, linking national and local perspectives. The PBC could also serve as an important platform to monitor this process, and the review of the Peacebuilding architecture in 2020 might also serve as an opportunity to reinforce this role. As a Member State, our contribution is of the utmost importance. I am referring to our action as a Troop Contributing Country, a function in which our ability to dialogue and bring together opposing sides could make a tangible difference in reconciliation processes.

Let me conclude by recalling the fifth edition of the Mediterranean Dialogues, which we will be hosted in Rome on December 6 and 7, as an example of our tireless efforts to create opportunities and platforms for dialogue and reconciliation.

I thank you.