let me thank the Secretary-General, Special Envoy Djinnit, Commissioner Chergui, and Mr Pillai of the World Bank for their insightful remarks.
Italy aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union and wishes to add the following remarks in a national capacity.
Italy welcomes today’s debate and praises Angola for the initiative. As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said last month during the Great Lakes Private Investment Conference in Kinshasa, “We are in the heart of Africa: this region can be an engine for development and economic growth.” Africa today is a land of opportunities. We see the progresses that are made in West Africa, in the Horn of Africa, and elsewhere. The African continent needs economic cooperation and economic partnerships. It is true also for the Great Lakes Region, where we must support the countries of the area to build an environment conducive to better prosperity, based on rule of law and accountability, prevention and management of tensions, support for the plight of refugees and IDP’s, and economic empowerment at local level.
Today’s debate is rightly focused on conflict prevention and resolution; the link between peace, security and development; and the promotion of sustainable business models that will create jobs and opportunities.
Italy partnership with Africa is built on the same pillars: economic development; sustainability of migration; and cooperation in maintaining peace and security. This partnership will be further consolidated during the Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference in Rome in May.
Political stability is paramount if the Great Lakes Region is to achieve sustainable peace without relapsing into conflict. Although each situation is different, there are some common principles.
First and foremost national ownership: without it, no sustainable solution can be achieved or imposed from the outside.
Second, strengthening the role and the commitment of regional and sub-regional organizations to assist the national process and mediate among the parties. We thus welcome the appointment of the African Union Envoy to the DRC, Edem Kodjo. Together with the UN and other international partners, we stand ready to support his efforts to facilitate a political dialogue that will lead to inclusive and transparent elections within the framework of the constitution. With respect to the situation in Burundi, Italy supports all of the initiatives of the United Nations, the African Union, the East African Community and the ICGLR, all of which could help foster a political solution in the spirit of the Arusha Agreements and help the Country in its stabilization efforts.
Third, prevention. Revitalizing and implementing Chapter VI of the Charter is the key. The two visits of Security Council members to the region in the past 12 months are a positive step toward building a culture of prevention rather than reaction.
The Peace Building Commission has a positive role to play in promoting peace in the region and we commend the Chair of the Burundi Country Configuration for his recent mission. Amongst the preventive tools at the disposal of the Council, let me also mention the role played by the ad hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention in Africa chaired by Angola, which we support.
Political and regional stability will in turn allow to tap into the available resources – public and private, domestic and international – to achieve sustainable development in the region. The 2030 Agenda and the AU’s 2063 Agenda are the blueprint. The Great Lakes Region is an area of opportunities that must be seized. The emergency of refugees increasingly tackles key capabilities on interconnected areas for the regional stability: security, social resilience, border management, development. Italy will continue its commitment particularly regarding humanitarian assistance and strengthening basic social services.
With respect to economic development, it is essential that the management of natural resources be sustainable and benefit communities. Extractive industries, in particular, should be managed soundly. By doing so, we will also combat international criminal networks that are profiting from illegal trafficking. We know that this phenomenon fuels, in turn, other illegal activities, such as trade in small and light weapons, the abundance of which contributes to instability. We will thus be eliminating one of the causes of conflict while increasing the States’ revenues. For these reasons, Italy supports the initiative of the Angolan Mission in the General Assembly, in the framework of the Kimberley Process, and is pleased to co-sponsor such a significant GA resolution.
Italy welcomes the Great Lakes Regional Strategic Framework. We believe that implementation of this comprehensive document will pave the way to sustainable peace in the region. Together with the Peace, Security and Co-operation Framework for DRC and the Great Lakes Region, it is the best roadmap for common progress, with clear local ownership and a clear set of commitments and benchmarks at the international, regional and national levels. We commend the work of Special Envoy Djinnit and wish him great success – ultimately benefiting the region and its people.
Thank you, Mr. President.