Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
Italy aligns itself with the statement delivered on Monday by the representative of the European Union and wishes to add the following remarks in its national capacity.
The Agenda 2030 is now rightly permeating every aspect of the UN agenda and of the international community’s efforts to bring about the shared objectives of peace, security, equality and prosperity for all. In this regard, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-2015 development agenda are even more relevant in the forum where we are speaking now, the Commission on Population and Development, whereas the issues of development are closely linked to the needs and dynamics of populations, or even better so to the ones of every single person seen as an individual, rather than as a numerical population target.
Italy commends the Commission for the choice of this year’s theme, i. e. the strengthening of the demographic evidence for the implementation of the 2030 development agenda, as the importance of data and demographic studies for implementing SDGs is undeniable: data and researches/surveys – if conducted with a strict method, as impartial as possible and disaggregated by some relevant criteria, at least sex and age – can guide our action, let us ameliorate our means and allow us to work out tailor-made solutions to fit each individual needs – in their own diversity but also considering their common grounds such as the universality of human rights.
I am referring to the increasing use of ICT in data collecting and analysis, to populations censuses and registers, to household surveys, as also highlighted by the Secretary-General in his report. Of course, data and numbers do not speak by themselves, they have to be interpreted and put into perspective for them to be meaningful: this is far from being an easy job, we ought to avoid even involuntary data’s manipulation and/or generalization, for example with reference to the so-called “big data” (the ones generated by satellites, social media, search engines), that often lack representativity and risk losing their heuristic utility.
So what do we want to achieve with CPD? We do want to act to safeguards rights at individuals’ levels but with a view to impacting on environmental sustainability and population dynamics at a higher scale: this is, in our view, the perfect combination of local and global, of the single and of the society, of – if you allow me – the single tree and of the whole forest. The United Nations – and us as diplomats who work in and with them – should indeed task themselves with the following goal, ideally embodied by the CPD due to its comprehensive and far-reaching history and background: taking care of the collective interests without losing sight of the person-centred approach, endeavoring to assess the needs of every single individual/category without, although, forsaking to take on the political responsibility to inspire and lead advancements of the international community in the human rights’, political, economic and environmental domains.
Since the 1994 Cairo International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) – and even more deeply after the adoption of Agenda 2030 last year –, Italy has been truly committed to advance issues and values which we hold should be at the centre of CPD: gender equality and fight against gender discrimination – therein included female genital mutilations and early, child and forced marriages, elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls – child and mothers’ health (I am thinking of HIV for instance), reproductive and sexual health and rights, family issues, youth, ageing and old people, migration, the last one in particular greatly affecting populations’ dynamics and to which Italy assigns top priority.
To conclude, I believe that what we most urgently need is an osmotic inter-linkage between data and policy-making, the ability to turn data collection and analysis into according policies, such that demographic evidence base can really contribute to the attainment of SGDs.
This is the outcome, Madame Chair, that I wish to the works of this year’s Commission.
Thank you very much.