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STATEMENT BY ITALY AT SECURITY COUNCIL OPEN DEBATE MAINTENANCE OF INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY: STRENGTHENING THE ROLE OF THE AFRICAN STATE IN ADDRESSING GLOBAL SECURITY AND DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES

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Mr President,

Building upon the fruitful results of the open debate organized by Mozambique in March 2023 and other important meetings devoted to peace&development in the African continent, I thank once again Mozambique for convening us today to keep deepening our collective reflections on how to strengthen the role of our African partners in tackling global security and development challenges.

While fully aligning myself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union, I also thank the Secretary General and the briefers for their substantial insights and considerations.

Over the years this Council has identified the root causes of conflict that are prolonging violence in the African continent. It was therefore only natural for the Council to welcome the Silencing the Guns initiative, which focuses on the drivers of conflict in Africa and acknowledges the urgent need to address them. Such initiative remains extremely relevant, as it recognizes that there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development.

At the same time, Italy deems important to pursue a comprehensive approach that encompasses development cooperation, conflict prevention and peacebuilding. International support should not be limited to addressing ongoing emergencies, but should also tackle structural challenges and root causes of conflict, such as poverty, food insecurity, social exclusion, absence of rule of law and violent extremism.

On achieving peace through justice and strong institutions, it is paramount to promote participatory decision making, to increase transparency and accountability and restore trust in public institutions. As recently underlined by the Italian President Mattarella in the opening session of the annual SDG16 Conference organized by Italy with UN DESA and IDLO, accelerating the implementation of SDG 16 means also engaging civil society, women and the youth to promote a culture of peace.

The active participation of youth in decision-making processes “enhances the legitimacy of peace and security initiatives”. That is why the New Agenda for Peace calls for the Youth, Peace and Security agenda to be institutionalized and properly funded. In this framework, Italy commends the consistent and extensive efforts of the African Union and encourages the exchange of best practices among regions to better collaborate to boost youth and women’s participation in decision making processes.

Combating violent extremism, strengthening regional cooperation and institution building is key also to counter evolving terrorist threats that constitute a major obstacle to the building of a peaceful and prosperous Africa. Italy supports the civilian-focused counterterrorism efforts both bilaterally on the basis of an equal partnership with many African countries, and by contributing to the activities of the African regional offices of UNOCT.

Italy is fully aware of the significance of resolution 2719 and to this regard I thank Mozambique for the invitation to participate in the Ad Hoc Working Group on conflict prevention and resolution in Africa.

Italy strongly supported the adoption of the resolution, which is indeed a milestone for UN-AU cooperation in responding to the evolving nature of conflicts in Africa. The focus is now on the implementation phase. While some questions remain open on how to effectively implement the resolution, particularly on the joint AU-UN decision-making process and the 25% financing gap, we believe that solutions are within our reach.

Italy will continue to advocate for continued support to AU led Peace Support Operations in compliance with International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law, while also encouraging other Member States and regional organizations to contribute to peace operations in Africa authorized by the UN Security Council.

Italy has been a constant supporter of a more structured African participation in multilateral fora, and is proud to have strongly endorsed the permanent observer status of the African Union to the Peacebuilding Commission. With a view also to the Summit of the Future, we should not forget the importance of sustaining peace and building resilient societies and this is why we strongly support the SG’s call to develop national prevention strategies on a voluntary basis and with the UN support.

I thank you, Mr. President.