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Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Sebastiano Cardi, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, alla prima riunione del gruppo “Friends of Migration”

Deputy Secretary General, Your Excellency Jan Eliasson, Ms. Karen Abuzayd, Special Adviser of the Secretary General, Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Director of UN Women and Chair of the Global Migration Group, I would like to thank the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Benin, Mexico and Sweden, for having invited Italy to take part to the inaugural meeting of the Group of Friends of Migration, which creation, allow me to say, was a long time due.

Italy has always been at the forefront of the migration crisis, a global and long term phenomenon caused by poverty, instability, climate change or simply demography. As you know, for many years we have been urging actions and a comprehensive approach, both at the global and regional levels, for ensuring safe, regular, orderly and responsible migration.

This is why we much appreciated the Secretary General’s Report on the “High Level Plenary Meeting to Address Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants”, on September 19, which, among other things, also recognizes the principle of burden-sharing, a principle that should inform this Group. At regional level, Italy, during its EU Presidency, launched a regional dialogue with the Countries of the Horn of Africa (Khartoum Process), and more recently proposed a “Migration Compact” to the European Union. It is a comprehensive strategy on migrations which looks at their long term causes, and aims to promote a true partnership with Countries of origin, based on solid pillars: economic development, social and environmental sustainability, migration, and cooperation in maintaining peace and stability.

We appreciate that even if looking at the long term, the Group of Friends of Migration do not forget the urgency of saving peoples’ lives. Italy is at the forefront of the emergency and since the beginning of 2016, Italian vessels have saved more than 25 thousand people at sea in search and rescue missions. 65% of all rescue operations in the Mediterranean in 2016 have been conducted by vessels flying the Italian flag.

There is no quick fix to the migration phenomenon but we have to gain momentum when , after so much time, the international community is finally paying close attention to the issue of large movements of people across borders. The many initiatives launched to deal with these movements at the global and regional levels is a very encouraging sign and with a shared commitment some solutions will be found. And this is why Italy endorses with enthusiasm the establishment of the Group of Friends of Migration and fully supports its aim to generate recommendations advice and advocacy to the relevant United nations-led processes, in particular in view of the Agenda 2030and of the September 19th high level meeting.

Thank you for convening this meeting. Italy looks forward to collaborating closely with this Group and to support its initiatives.