Thank you for convening this important open debate, which provides us with an opportunity to reflect on the commitments we all made in undersigning the Charter of the United Nations. Italy aligns itself with the statement made by the European Union and wishes to add some remarks in its national capacity.
This debate could not have been more timely. 2015 marks not only the 70th anniversary of this Organization, but also the 60th anniversary of Italy’s membership in the United Nations. We are strongly committed to the Organization and to the maintenance of international peace and security, as set out in Article I of the Charter. And we express that commitment as the top contributor of troops to the UN among Western countries; the seventh contributor to the regular and peacekeeping budget of the Organization; and the proud host country of the UN Agencies in Italy, including the food and agricultural hub in Rome, the Brindisi logistics base, and the UN Staff College in Turin.
“Building Peace for a Better Tomorrow” is the motto that accompanies the logo of our Security Council bid. Peacekeeping, peace building, and creating conditions for a better life globally are the cornerstones of our UN action and will continue to guide our future commitment. Yet, as our daily tweets remind us all too often, our efforts are constantly challenged by old and new threats that demand from us a renewed and strengthened multilateral partnership.
While we may have different views on the nature of these threats and how best to address them, I am sure we can all agree that today’s threats to peace and security are complex and know no boundaries. From terrorism to climate change; from the need to protect public global goods to the eradication of poverty; from fighting Ebola to tackling major international crises, including in the Mediterranean – the Organization is called upon to act effectively and inclusively.
The growing complexity and costs of crisis management leads us to believe that greater efforts should be dedicated to conflict prevention and mediation. Preventive diplomacy and mediation should be seen not only as a moral imperative but also as a strategic investment to create more stable environments and better economic and social conditions. We need to shift from reaction to action, from fixing to preventing.
In this perspective, we should enhance the UN’s early warning mechanisms and increase our collective capacity to provide an effective and timely response to arising conflicts. Partnerships with regional organizations should be strengthened to improve our understanding of local realities. We support the work of the Department for Political Affairs especially in this area. We have also helped set up the Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes of the Office for Genocide Prevention, which we consider a priority.
Devoting more human and financial resources to conflict prevention and peace building through understanding and confidence building is a good investment.
Global conflict prevention also depends on respect for the rule of law and meaningful mechanisms of accountability for the most serious crimes under international law. The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court thus represents the cornerstone of what should become an integrated system of accountability that can assure the end of impunity for perpetrators of war crimes, and crimes against humanity and genocide. And it is the job of the Security Council, in this respect, to assure that there is follow up to the calls for accountability.
“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding”. These are the words of Albert Einstein. Understanding, listening, preventing, and mediating should be our tools of choice in pursuing the purposes of the Charter. The multiple sources of instability require multiple sources of action, using the necessary tools and stakeholders to address the threats we face.
Italy is ready to do its part. Back in 1992 then UN Secretary-General Boutros Ghali spoke of the Italian formula as an original mix of institutional and non-institutional approaches to brokering a peace agreement. He was referring to the experience in Mozambique and the peace agreement signed in Rome with the involvement of a prominent Italian NGO, the Community of Sant’Egidio.
Some twenty years later, the Italian formula is still relevant. In the Mediterranean, we are all aware of the importance of understanding, listening and mediating to prevent rather than react to crises in complex situations, and we apply this approach through multilateral channels. This Italian formula applies, first and foremost, to our peacekeeping missions where the use of the most recent technologies goes hand in hand with the close involvement of civil society.
In the same spirit, Italy promotes respect for human rights – a key priority of our foreign policy – with an inclusive and balanced approach, taking into account all of the different positions.
The maintenance of international peace and security requires a holistic approach that addresses the complexities of the international scenario. 2015 can be a year of action. The Review of Peace Operations, the Peacebuilding Architecture Review and the High Level Review of UNSCR 1325 will be key to that end. The international community is also formulating a new definition of sustainable development that integrates the economic, social and environmental dimensions. It is also tasked with mobilizing all available resources to finance the new agenda and with reaching a universal agreement on climate change.
These three important steps will define our collective action and our ability to tackle the root causes of instability, inequality and uncertainty. In this context, I would like to recall that in a little more than 2 months Expo Milano 2015 will officially open, focusing on food security and nutrition to promote sustainable ways to feed the planet.
A future free from poverty and based on human rights, rule of law, equality, and sustainability – on the “road to dignity,” called for by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon– must drive our collective engagement to address the root causes of problems and our commitment to shared responsibilities.
I conclude by reaffirming our strong commitment to our joint efforts against terrorism. Ten days ago Italy cosponsored SC resolution 2199 to combat the funding of terrorist groups. We affirm our contribution to this effort and our condemnation of all acts of terrorism.