Broad areas of the planet still live in conditions of grave deprivation. Even when extreme poverty reduction goals have been reached, there is still a persistent condition of fragility and precariousness. It is thus a priority to renew our efforts, with the active involvement of all the institutional stakeholders and civil society, to define, in the upcoming months, a new shared international framework to promote sustainable development, the universal protection of human rights, and international peace and security.
Economy is fragile everywhere. And the past few years have been difficult also for the Italian and European economy. The number of people at risk of poverty and social marginalization has increased in more than one-third of member countries. Prompt action is needed.
At the global level important progress has been made in the fight against extreme poverty, especially in emerging economies. Italy is one of the countries most committed in multilateral and bilateral fora to fostering shared solutions for the prosperity and development of individuals and communities. My country has drafted a monitoring index on the well-being of citizens (BES) complimentary to the GDP measurement. The BES provides a useful guideline for policymakers, the social parties, and the world of research in helping to identify priorities that should be addressed in the short and long term so as to guarantee equitable and sustainable well-being to present and future generations.
Our measurement of the success of economic and development policies must include their social impact. The Italian Government is engaged in a major reform process, starting with the regulations of the labor market. We intend to change the governance of the labor market in order to facilitate the pathway to employment and at the same time improve protection of the unemployed. The high rate of youthful unemployment is an unacceptable waste of resources and talent for the nation. Italy has therefore recently adopted innovative tools in the field of mentoring, training, support for self-employment, facilitating start-ups for young persons’ enterprises, tax benefits for companies that hire young people, and greater youthful mobility at the national, European, and international levels. A few days ago Italy activated a national plan for voluntary civil service that allows unemployed young people to receive a complete experience in serving the country abroad through participation in training and cooperation programs.
In this and other sectors Italy is willing to share experiences and best practices.
Labor policies alone are not enough. Italy has also made ongoing efforts to welcome peoples from geographic areas beset by conflicts or conditions of extreme poverty. This is a commitment that, beyond its humanitarian and moral aspect, aims also to foster the social and employment insertion of immigrant citizens seeking a life of dignity.
In general we need to assert a logic of “social investment” with reference to spending on welfare, which thus contributes to development and economic growth. A draft law of our Government, currently being discussed in Parliament, is designed to promote “social investment” through provisions of services and the realization of activities of general interest and social usefulness.
The building of social networks, which involve States, local government, and businesses, can, for example, represent a model for raising the social protection levels and fighting old and new forms of social exclusion.
We are convinced that the new post-2015 Development Agenda should aim to eradicate poverty in all its forms. Poverty is not a problem that pertains only to some countries. It involves all societies, even the most developed. The structural causes of poverty undermine the stability of all societies.
Italy is committed to contributing to the international community’s efforts in drafting the Post-2015 Development Agenda that, in the words of the Secretary-General, “wishes to place people and the planet at the center,” in such a way that economic dynamics are not independent of the care needed to assure social balance and environmental protection.
Our future Development Agenda must promote inclusive human development for dynamic, resilient civil societies and sustainable economies.
Thank you, Madam Chair.