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Mr. President,

Peace, human rights and development are inextricably connected. The United Nations Charter emphasizes that peaceful and friendly relations among nations depend on respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms as well as the promotion of “higher standards of living and of conditions of economic and social progress and development.” A holistic approach to peace, safeguarding human rights and fostering economic development is needed to realize the founders’ dream of a world without war.

Today’s debate takes place on the eve of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The Agenda clearly states that there can be no sustainable development without peace and no peace without sustainable development. In this light, we are pleased to see the some references to “peace” in the Outcome Document. For example, Goal 4 mentions the promotion of a culture of peace and non-violence, while Goal 16 relates to the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.

Mr. President,

Italy is actively engaged in promoting a Culture of Peace, based on mutual understanding among different cultures, religions and civilizations, and in pursuing implementation of the Declaration and Program of Action on a Culture of Peace. Let me give three examples of what we have been doing to assure long-term international stability.

First, intercultural dialogue is a priority of Italian foreign policy in the field of human rights. States have a role to play in creating favorable conditions to build bridges between different cultures and religions and thereby reinforce common values and harmony among nations. To this end, Italy fully supports the longstanding efforts of the Alliance of Civilizations to keep the United Nations system and the international community focused on the importance of intercultural dialogue, tolerance and respect among peoples. Italy will also host next week a seminar on early warning mechanism and the role of religious leaders in preventing atrocity crimes organized with the Office of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide.

Second, protecting minorities and promoting tolerance is an essential building block toward a more peaceful world. Minorities are among the most vulnerable people in many recent crises, which are often based on religious, ethnic and social factors. It is crucial to fully include minority groups in mediation and post-reconciliation processes to build strong and resilient societies and to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims of violence, with a view to healing the open wounds created by long-lasting conflicts. In this regard, Italy has promoted multiple initiatives in order to respond to current humanitarian crises, like for example in Syria and Iraq where my Country is providing health care and psychological support, rebuilding schools, supporting educational and social reintegration, and protecting the unique multicultural heritage in Iraq and the Region.

Third, any discussion of the Culture of Peace must include the promotion of women’s rights. A greater involvement of women is crucial to both the prevention and resolution of international conflicts. Italy has supported the adoption and implementation of UNSCR 1325 from the start, and is among the countries that adopted a National Action Plan to implement it. In light of the forthcoming Global Study on the Implementation of SCR 1325 and the High-Level Review by the Security Council in October, Italy, together with a cross-regional group of Countries, will host on September 30th, in the margins of the General Assembly, a Ministerial side event on “Women, Peace and Security in the Post-2015 Development Agenda” to bring the attention of the membership on the possible synergies between the two agendas. We believe in fact that without the meaningful participation of women and girls in development, sustainable peace cannot be achieved. We of course invite you all to attend.

Thank you.