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Your Excellency, Mr. High Representative,

Under-Secretary General Amos,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Italy wishes to thank the High Representative for convening this meeting and drawing our attention once more to the utmost importance of intercultural dialogue. We join others in thanking the Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Ms. Valerie Amos, for her valuable contribution to this discussion. We fully align with the statement delivered by the European Union and wish to add a few remarks in a national capacity.

The World Humanitarian Summit next year will be hosted in a highly symbolic city – Istanbul – which is a historical crossroads for religions, cultures, and ethnicities. The full understanding and respect of these interlinked factors is essential, as we know when the international community is called to deliver humanitarian aid in complicated crisis.

Italy believes that the cultural dimension is a fundament of humanitarian aid, as it characterizes the four pillars of action aimed to save human lives and safeguard the dignity of people: humanity, independence, impartiality, and neutrality. These universal values are recognized by the international community, permeate humanitarian law, and are an integral part of the United Nations humanitarian action.

The principle of humanity more specifically evokes the universal dimension of aid, that is, a humanitarian imperative that compels us to “alleviate human suffering where needed” in a spirit of trans-cultural and selfless solidarity originating from the acknowledgement of our common humanity.

The very origins of humanitarian aid tell us of its trans-ethnic, ethical dimension, and are deeply linked to the national history of Italy. In fact, we find it in the “Spirit of Solferino”, which led in the mid-1800s to the establishment of the International Red Cross.

Neutrality, independence and impartiality are the other key pillars of humanitarian aid. Thus, although humanitarian aid has well-defined cultural roots, it is also true that its purposes are trans-cultural, imposing that assistance be given to anyone who is suffering, regardless of their ethnicity, cultural, religious or national identity, in a spirit of unity among peoples and driven by human solidarity.

These are the principles that Italy defends – in any context – through constant advocacy so as to avoid to politicize humanitarian aid. Thus we welcome professionalism guiding humanitarian action and we ask for more involvement of religious leaders, youth communities, and all those non-state actors rooted in the affected societies and ready to defend the principle of humanity across the world.

I thank you, Mr. High Representative.