Statement by the Deputy Permanent Representative and Charge’ d’Affaires a.i. of Italy to the United Nations, Ambassador Stefano Stefanile, at the Security Council meeting in Arria formula on “The Impact of Emerging Technologies on International Peace and Security” —
we welcome today’s debate as we believe that technological development and scientific progress are indeed critical for the well-being of humanity and to promote peace and sustainable development.
We need to fully seize the opportunities of digital technology while preventing its malicious use and countering its possible adverse implications. In doing this, it is important that the United Nations adopt an integrated approach encompassing the three pillars of peace and security, human rights and sustainable development. Therefore, we support the initiative of the Secretary General to establish the figure of the UN Tech Envoy, as the focal point and coordination hub for the activities carried out by the actors of the UN System in this field.
Emerging technologies can be key in advancing the efficiency of peacekeeping operations and counterterrorism, whose primary goal is saving lives.
Providing our peacekeepers with advanced equipment, including technologic tools and related training, can enhance their safety and ensure that their operations are more effective, also in terms of protecting local civilian populations.
As a significant Troop Contributing Country and a member of the relevant Group of Friends recently established in New York, we attach particular importance to the safety and efficiency of the UN peacekeeping Missions. In line with the Action for Peacekeeping Initiative, we provide our contribution in bringing greater innovation and new technologies into UN missions, by regularly pledging valuable units and assets to the “UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System”. We are also proud to host the UN Global Service Center in Brindisi, a cutting-edge structure which ensures a fundamental support to UN operations in the field of logistics, technologies and telecommunications.
While we fully recognize the opportunities offered by emerging technologies, we deem it important to advance, at the same time, the global debate on responsible civilian and military use of new technologies. Where necessary, new international principles for the responsible use of these technologies should be considered.
The global debate and the collective regulatory actions should focus on some areas where the impact of new technologies is particularly relevant:
1) first, the prevention of an arms race in outer space;
2) second, the area of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems;
3) third, the sector of biotechnologies.
As for the cyber domain, Italy welcomes the final report of the OEWG adopted by the GA. A universal cyber security framework can only be grounded in existing international law, including the Charter of the United Nations in its entirety, as well as in Human Rights law and the International Humanitarian Law. To this end, together with 51 other Countries, Italy has promoted the establishment of a permanent Programme of Action (PoA) to Advance Responsible State Behaviour in Cyberspace.
Italy also supports the call for enhancing coherence in capacity building efforts in the use of ICTs to close the digital divide.
New technologies can also be crucial to effectively address the terrorist threat, by countering terrorist propaganda and capabilities. Italy is proud to be a member of the Christchurch Call to Action and supports international cooperation to respond in unison to terrorist content online. Another example of the positive potential of technologies in this field is the collection and use of Advance Passenger Information and Passenger Name Records for passengers. Such systems to detect high-risk travelers require advanced computer systems and technical capacity and we need to do more to ensure that all States have the necessary capacity and technology. At the same time, we must remember our responsibility to protect human rights, fundamental freedoms, and privacy. Only by doing so can we ensure that these new tools are used exclusively to enhance peace and security.
I thank you.