Mr. President, members of the Security Council, dear colleagues,
Thanks to the initiative of New Zealand, I am pleased to have the opportunity to intervene today on a crucial topic. I wish to thank Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for his briefing, as well as the Prime Ministers of Samoa and Jamaica and the Minister of Finance of Seychelles for their contribution to this important debate.
The challenges affecting Small Island Developing States deserve the attention of the Security Council. Italy, as a peninsula surrounded by the sea, is deeply convinced that these challenges are both specific and global, with wide-ranging consequences that can affect our common security.
Helping to improve the food security, sea defenses, renewable energy system, natural risk management and economic competitiveness of Small Island Developing States, is also an opportunity to build a comprehensive and sustainable development model that will also benefit other countries.
Climate change is a key element of the equation. On a national basis, Italy has gathered wide expertise in learning to face natural disasters, floods, soil erosion and rising sea levels. For example, the rising level of the Adriatic sea poses a risk to the world heritage city of Venice. To address this challenge, a highly sophisticated system, called MOSES, has been developed to protect the city from tides that are up to three meters higher.
Similar challenges are faced by many other countries, so the international community must stand together in providing needed answers and support. As a follow-up to the 2014 Samoa Conference, I have the pleasure to confirm that Italy will host a stocktaking event at the ministerial level, which will take place in Milan on 14-15 October 2015, in connection with EXPO 2015.
We look forward to welcoming you to this event, which will allow us to assess the progress made by SIDS and donors, monitor the commitments undertaken in Samoa, and connect them to the global debate on food security and nutrition promoted by Italy through EXPO, which is dedicated to the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.”
Italy, as a founding member and permanent supporter of the Global Island Partnership (GLISPA), will also host, in October 2015, the GLISPA annual Steering Committee in Turin.
Another crucial element of the equation is energy. Renewable energies are one of the main focuses of cooperation with Pacific SIDS, through the regional environmental partnership that, since 2007, we have been supporting financially together with Austria, Luxembourg and Spain. Recently the scope of this partnership has been expanded to include climate change adaptation. Another program supported by Italy and implemented through the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, seeks to carry out targeted renewable energy project in response to the problem of energy dependency.
More recently we have been developing a cooperation program to help meet the specific challenges and need of our Caribbean partners. In early July we hosted in Italy a specialized training course on illegal financial flows for experts and officers from CARICOM Countries. Since the Samoa Pathway recognizes sustainable tourism as an important driver of sustainable economic growth, Italy is financing a World Bank pilot project to strengthen agro-tourism clusters and foster growth prospects in the area.
Finally, I have the pleasure to announce that Italy is launching a new regional cooperation program in the Caribbean, in the field of disaster risk management and rural development. The project will assist local institutions in dealing with disaster risk management and better responding to the evolving needs of farming communities.
Since it is my privilege to address the Security Council, I wish to conclude by underlining the importance of assuring that the voice of the Small Island Developing States reaches the Council. Italy attaches great importance to the reform of the United Nations Security Council. We share the objective of assuring better representation to certain categories of States, cutting across traditional UN regional groups. One such category is the “Small States,” including the Small Island Developing States (SIDS), whose specific needs and aspirations should be addressed.
Thank you, Mr. President.