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Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honor and a privilege for me to host this side event, together with my friend and colleague Ken Kanda, the Permanent Representative of Ghana to the United Nations, in the framework of the thematic debate taking place this week at the UN on “The Role of Partnerships and their Contribution to the post-2015 Development Agenda.” An honor and a privilege because we have with us not only the current President of the Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Martin Sajdik of Austria – who in conjunction with the President of the General Assembly has organized the thematic debate – but also two of his illustrious predecessors. I am referring to H.E. Ahmad Khamal, the former Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and President of the 51st ECOSOC. And of course to H.E. Francesco Paolo Fulci, President of the 55th ECOSOC, and the Permanent Representative of Italy during my own previous tenure at the United Nations in the 1990s.

My deepest gratitude to our keynote speaker, Mr. Georg Kell, the Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, whose remarks I know we are all eager to hear. Indeed, we all know how much importance the Global Compact traditionally attaches to partnerships as demonstrated also by the latest decision to convene a meeting of the UN Private Sector Forum on Climate in preparation for the Secretary General’s Climate Summit to be held on Septembre 23rd.

At a moment of major global challenges and limited resources, the theme of multi-stakeholder partnerships could not be more timely. Such partnerships are both a pragmatic and an inspired choice in engaging all the relevant parties – public, private, civil society, academia – in a common effort to eradicate poverty and assure sustainable development. Partnerships are high on the Secretary-General’s agenda for development, and are the central theme of both the upcoming Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa and the July Ministerial Meeting of LDCs in Cotonou.

Italy has a played a pioneering role in promoting partnerships. To give you just one example, we have been engaged since 2007 in a cooperation program with the Pacific Small Island Developing States, based on exchanging knowledge, sharing success, learning from failure, and establishing mechanisms of mutual accountability. As the program progressed, we were delighted to see other donors joining in this program, including Austria in 2008 and Luxembourg in 2013.

I would like to acknowledge the presence of Ms Sharon Brennen-Haylock and Mr. Paul Maseli, Directors, respectively, of the FAO and the UNIDO offices here in New York, and of Mr. Joe Colombano, one of the closest collaborators of ASG Amina Mohammed. They will shed light on the value of multi-stakeholders partnerships in the field of nutrition and industrial development with a special focus on the post-2015 development agenda. We strongly believe that a people-centered post-2015 development agenda would not be viable without a closer interaction between Governments, private companies, NGOs, and academia. On the topic of food security, allow me to reiterate my Country’s commitment to sustainable food production, fighting food losses, preventing land degradation, and promoting sustainable water management. The topic of the 2015 Universal Expo, to be inaugurated in Milan in May with the participation of the United Nations, is Feeding the Planet-Energy for All.

Today we have an opportunity to look beyond the high expectations of partnerships and focus on a concrete example that is producing positive results. The Ferrero Cocoa Community Commitment is a multi-stakeholder, community-building partnership in Ghana. It unites around a single project the Ghana Ministry of Employment and Labor Relations, the Ghana Education Service, the NGO Source Trust, and a private company, Ferrero S.p.A. The program seeks to improve the lives of Ghanian cocoa-farmers and their families and at the same time to enhance the educational resources available to their children.

Since we are fortunate in having with us representatives of all the relevant stakeholders – Ambassador Kanda and the Honorable Nii Armah Ashietey of Ghana, Ms. Tracey Duffey of Source Trust, and Ambassador Fulci of Ferrero S.p.A. – I will leave it to them to describe the program in more detail.

Ambassador Kanda, the floor is yours.