As we stated on the occasion of the World Humanitarian Summit one month ago, Italy is strongly committed to enhance the effectiveness of humanitarian aid in full agreement with the Chair’s Summary and the Agenda for Humanity proposed by the Secretary General. Our country is firmly engaged to carry out all initiatives and commitments (77) taken in Istanbul aimed at improving the response capacity as well as the prevention of the crises.
For the coming years our priority will be represented by the extension in the protection of people affected by crises throughout a much more integrated approach, involving governmental and non-governmental actors together with beneficiaries of the aid. The reform of the Italian Development Assistance – centered on the creation of the Italian Agency for Development Co-operation – goes exactly in this direction.
Under the auspices of UN, we are putting our best efforts to serve the needs of people in complex emergencies worldwide. Without hesitation, we will improve cooperation between development and humanitarian tools, mainly in West Africa and in countries affected by the Syrian crisis and by the Niño, enhancing our capacity to tackle root causes of crises and to link relief and rehabilitation to development.
From our side, I wish to assure that Italy stands ready to defend the “spirit of Solferino”, promoting the endorsement and promotion of international humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence by Governments, organizations and people of different religious and cultural background.
On the financial side, Italy committed in Istanbul a substantial increase (around + 30%) of the humanitarian budget in 2016 as well as the significant increase – in average by more than 120 % – of our un-earmarked contributions to the main Humanitarian Organizations. These figures reflect concretely the growing importance that we attach to humanitarian assistance.
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.
A humanitarian approach is also 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.
We are called 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.
At the same time we must act on the root causes of migration. The European Commission Communication on a “Partnership Framework” released on June 7th draws inspiration from the Italian initiative “Migration Compact”. It is time to constructively engage the countries of origin of migration in the management of this common challenge. In parallel, we intend to promote secure and legal access for those in need of international protection.
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. We praise therefore the decision of the UN Secretary General to put this issue at the center of the agenda today: this is also a milestone of Italy’s humanitarian action.