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DISCORSO PRONUNCIATO DALL’ITALIA AL  DIBATTITO DI ALTO LIVELLO SU  “MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION FOR A TRANSFORMATIVE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA” – Panel su “The role of parliaments, cities and local authorities in the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda”  (10 febbraio 2015)

Mr. Chair, we thank the President of the General Assembly for having included such an inspiring panel in the program of this Highl-level thematic debate and we align ourselves with the statement delivered yesterday on behalf of the European Union and its Members States also with respect to today’s topic.

Mr. Chair, Italy has always attached a great deal of importance to the pivotal role that Parliaments, Cities, and Local Authorities play in advancing development. Their active involvement in both the policy making process and the implementation of development issues is crucial as they are the institutions closest to citizens. On the one hand, Parliaments are the expression of society, reflect the voice (sentiments) of the electorate through legislation, and hold executives accountable to their commitments. On the other hand, Cities and Local Authorities are the public entities on the “first line”, those who can best understand and respond to the development needs of their territories. The engagement of these institutions is absolutely essential to the success of the new development agenda.

Italy has been at the forefront of the promotion of a strong role of Parliaments, Cities and Local Authorities to foster sustainable development. I wish to briefly recall three different experiences that may be worth sharing today.

Stemming from a long term partnership in support of local development Italy has gladly accepted UNDP’s invitation to co-sponsor, together with Ghana and Ecuador, the dialogue on “Localizing the Post-2015 Development Agenda” This complex but rewarding exercise clearly highlighted the need for strong local ownership and effective collaboration between different levels of government and local stakeholders to reduce poverty and inequalities and ensure an integrated territorial approach to social, economic and environmental challenges. The final document – approved at the concluding session last October in Turin – called for the localization of the agenda in the intergovernmental negotiations, multi-level, multi-stakeholder approaches, and acknowledgement of the role of decentralized development cooperation. Furthermore it stressed the need to set up sustainable financing mechanisms, and design capacity-building programs to support the localization of the Agenda.

A second example of Italy’s commitment to this theme is the design of the Universal Exhibition “Expo Milan 2015”. “Expo 2015” is offering a platform for all stakeholders – cities and local authorities included – to actively discuss the many challenges and solutions in the field of sustainable agriculture, food security and nutrition. We do so in the belief that sharing experiences, good practices and knowledge is the best way to achieve universal and sustainable development.

One of the ultimate goals of Expo is to collect inputs from the various stakeholders in the discussions to finalize a policy document – the “Charter of Milan” – which will provide a “universal guide” for addressing in a bottom-up and inclusive fashion the main challenges of assuring sustainable agriculture and food security and nutrition.

The third experience goes back to the past and is evidence of Italy’s longstanding commitment to strengthening representative institutions so that they could play a leading and informed role in shaping the national development agenda through law-making and in providing a sound framework for accountability. Since 2006, Italy has strongly supported IPU and DESA’s partnership directed at modernizing legislatures through new technologies. This partnership, joined by many parliaments around the world – regardless of their development levels – led to stronger legislatures able to use additional channels of communication to engage citizens in the national policy-making process and capable of providing real time access to legal information. Through peers to peers exchanges in global settings, it helped consolidate the notion of how essential are openness, transparency, accessibility and accountability for representative institutions.

These are but three of the many experiences that Italy has matured in its long commitment to a more active involvement of the parliamentary, local and regional levels in development.

Italy promotes a further strengthened involvement of these institutions -Parliaments, Cities and Local authorities – in the design and in the implementation of the new sustainable development agenda.

Thank you Mr. Chair.