Colleagues, ladies and gentlemen, good morning.
Let me first thank you warmly for your participation in this very important discussion for the advancement of the UN agenda on two crucial topics: Women, Peace and Security, and Mediation. I am grateful to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Namibia, Spain and the United Arab Emirates and to all colleagues here today for their cooperation and support. Special thanks go to UNWOMEN and to the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Ms. Cristina Gallach, for having accepted to moderate this section and to Dr. Thania Paffenholz and the panelists for helping stimulate a debate, which I am sure will be very fruitful for us all.
Since its adoption in 2000, Italy has supported the advancement and implementation of Security Council Resolution 1325 with conviction, both within the UN system and in other fora. Over the last 16 years, we have witnessed significant advances in women’s role and inclusion in peace processes. The Women, Peace and Security Agenda has been greatly enriched, including by highlighting the disproportionate impact of armed conflict on women and children, the great benefits of enhancing the involvement of civil society and the absolute necessity to tackle the scourge of sexual violence as a tactic of war.
In spite of such achievements, much has still to be done. We need to move from word to action: this is the spirit we are embracing as we approach our term on the Security Council. The promotion of women in peace and security must be achieved across the whole prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding agenda and across the whole UN.
As women’s active participation in peace processes is too often theoretical, we are called to take action within the Organization and within our national systems first. Nearly half of all peace agreements say nothing about women’s rights or needs, and there is still a majority of peace processes where women’s presence is still an afterthought. Peacekeeping missions are dominated by men, even though an increased women participation is fundamental for long-term stability and sustainable peace. Be it in conflict prevention, peace-making or peacebuilding activities, true gender equality and women’s empowerment are an imperative.
This is why we welcomed the Global Study of the Secretary-General on the implementation of Resolution 1325, and – a major accomplishment of the championship of our Spanish friends at the UNSC – the adoption of resolution 2242 last October, which promoted a shift in mindset towards the recognition of the role of women. For the first time, women are not only victims to be protected, but also active “agents of peace and development”.
The new Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security will be key to ensure greater integration of gender-related issues in its own work.
Italy looks forward to a holistic and integrated approach. In order to capitalize on what we have achieved so far, innovative synergies can be built between the Working Group, UNWOMEN, and the UN Dep. for Political Affairs to facilitate the inclusion of women and gender perspectives into peace, national dialogue and reconciliation processes.
Bodies and Organizations that shape our policies or decide on matters of war and peace must pursue the adherence to these principles. Our approach has always been consistent with this vision as shown by the efforts of the Italian development cooperation and civil society to address the root causes of gender discrimination.
Italy will continue to back programs and initiatives aimed at preventing gender-based violence and assisting victims, upholding their rights, and enabling women’s empowerment. We are honoured to acknowledge the progress made working with our partners in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, Somalia, Bosnia and Kosovo.
Our approach, focused on the people and on the respect of the local culture, has proved particularly effective in fragile states, where the effort of local institutions to advance women’s economic and political empowerment is a core pillar for conflict management, peace building and post-conflict State building.
Our commitment is substantial and long-term, as proven by PM Renzi’s decision to invest over 50 million euros in 2016-17 on the promotion of women’s rights and on women empowerment. At the Istanbul World Humanitarian Summit, we announced our contribution of 2 million euros to the Dep. of Political Affairs in the next 5 years, in line with our traditional support to the UN effort on preventive diplomacy and mediation, in particular in North Africa and the Middle East.
We have a longstanding engagement on Women, Peace and Security issues, that will inform also our action in the Security Council next year; in this vein, Italy confirms to substantially commit with a financial contribution to UNWOMEN’s new initiative on “Women, Peace and Security and Mediation” in 2017, with a view to foster meaningful inclusion of gender perspectives into peace, reconciliation and national dialogue processes in the most needing crisis areas.
We look forward to working with all States, members and non-members of the Security Council, the UN and regional organizations to turn our ambitious goals into reality.