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World Humanitarian Summit (Istanbul, Turchia, 23-24 maggio 2016)

Intervento pronunciato dal Sottosegretario di Stato degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale, On. Mario Giro, al World Humanitarian Summit ad Istanbul, Turchia —

Mr. Secretary-General (Mister-Madame Chair), Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am honored to address the first ever “World Humanitarian Summit” and I wish to praise the Secretary General’s decision to put the human being at the center of our reflection: this is also the milestone of Italy’s humanitarian action.

We see the WHS as a unique opportunity to advocate for the protection of the most vulnerable – especially women, children and people with disabilities – and to strengthen the commitment in favor of the principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence.

Today, gross violations of international humanitarian law are committed on an alarming scale. Italy is deeply engaged in the implementation of the principle of accountability for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law, putting an end to impunity for international crimes. Preventing the politicisation of humanitarian aid, defending what we call the “spirit of Solferino” is crucial.

We need to work restless in advocacy activities to stop the violation of human rights, to promote the respect of international humanitarian law and to ensure access to the people in need. Italy – together with its EU partners – will spare no efforts to strengthen the compliance with International Law.

At the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross and Red Cres¬cent States, a bold proposal was launched to initiate an inter-governmental process which provided the immediate establishment of a platform for regular and non-politicized dialogue and cooperation to enhance compliance with international humanitarian law. We regret that this proposal failed to receive support by all member States and we hope that the WHS will allow concrete progress to this effect.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Italy shares the Secretary General’s sense of urgency and his expectation that the Summit will be a turning point in the way we address the challenges facing humanity. We all know that humanitarian action cannot be a substitute for political solutions.

Courageous leadership, early response, investments in stability and broad participation by affected people and civil society play a key-role in order to prevent and resolve conflicts, that are the main root-causes of humanitarian crises.

In the meantime, we must all commit to make sure that we have enough resources to help the growing number of people affected by conflicts and disasters. Broadening the donor base should be therefore a priority, as well as identifying innovative sources of funding.

At the same time, we should commit to use more efficiently the resources available. Quality of our aid is also crucial. Aid effectiveness demands cost-effectiveness, transparency and mutual accountability on the use of funding, as well as ownership and collaboration with local authorities. It is fundamental to join forces to respond to crises, strengthening the collaboration among different donors as well as between humanitarian and development actors.

Italy stands ready to subscribe the “grand bargain” between donors and implementing Agencies proposed by the Secretary General. In 2016 we will increase by not less than 20% our humanitarian budget, while we will also significantly increase – in average by more than 120 % – our un-earmarked contributions to the main Humanitarian Organizations. We will focus on youth and education in emergency situations and protracted crises, putting learning at the heart of our humanitarian action and allocating growing resources in line with the Secretary General’s vibrant appeal to fill the gap between education needs and financial coverage.

Furthermore, we will double in 2016 our financial contribution to the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) of OCHA and we commit to increase the percentage of our ODA targeted at the most fragile and conflict-affected countries; we will also increase – following the Sendai Conference and the Climate Change negotiations at the COP – our financial allocations for the reduction of risks related to natural hazards.

In parallel, a new Law recently established the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, creating the conditions for a more flexible and coordinated management of the existing resources.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

we are confronted today with an alarming reality: 125 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. For Italy the refugee crisis is a daily, stark reminder of this tragedy. In this regard, I fully agree with the approach of this Summit: I quote: “forced displacement is neither a short term challenge nor primarily a humanitarian one: it is a persistent and complex political and development challenge”.

Nonetheless a humanitarian approach is required to face the urgency of saving lives in the Mediterranean. Italy, which has always been at the forefront of the crises, will keep its commitment to the Search And Rescue (SAR) operations through which hundreds of thousands of people were saved. We will not forget that our first duty is to protect people in need, to leave “no one behind”, thus protecting our founding values, including mercy to which the Extraordinary Jubilee of this year is dedicated.

At the same time, we are called here today to set up a long-term response to a long-term and global challenge. And I think a shift in the cultural approach to migration is required. We have to counter the narrative of fear that the migration crisis seems to have generated in European people. This is why I think investing in the integration of migrants is pivotal as it is the involvement of civil society, such as in the Humanitarian corridor project.

These are the two pledges we are doing here today: investing in the integration of the most vulnerable among migrants – unaccompanied children – and enhancing the involvement of civil society in resettlement schemes.

At the same time we must act on the root causes of migration. Within the EU we have proposed a “Migration compact”, calling for infrastructural projects in Africa as well as for socio-economic programs. The “Compact” aims at creating a conducive environment for an enhanced cooperation on migratory issues, balancing responsibility and solidarity through a real partnership with the countries of origin of migration.

Mister Secretary General (Mister-Madame Chair), Italy has come to this Summit with a wide set of measurable commitments aimed at creating an empowered and more efficient global humanitarian aid system: from the financial aspects, to the advocacy in favor of the most vulnerable categories, from the operational changes related to the reform of the Italian development assistance, to the focus on the integration of migrants.

These are our credentials, this is our concrete contribution to turn the UN Secretary General’s Agenda for Humanity into reality. We call all other stakeholders to do the same.

Thank you.