Italy aligns itself with the statement made by the representative of the European Union and wishes to add a few remarks in a national capacity.
With the Sustainable Development Goals, Governments committed to a bold new sustainable development vision to transform our world by 2030. Today’s young people are the largest generation in history, and through this Agenda, they can shape history. In the words of Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, “Today’s youth is the SDG generation.” Young people are directly affected by the tragic contradictions that prevail today: between abject poverty and ostentatious wealth, gnawing hunger and shameful food waste, rich natural resources and polluting industries. But they can lead a global drive to break the patterns of the past and set the world on a course to a more sustainable future. Young people can deliver solutions on these issues, which lie at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
At the international level, attention is high on the protection of children: the new SDGs have adopted a holistic approach toward the promotion of the rights of the child and, this year, we celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict.
Nevertheless, we need to transform these commitments and mandates into concrete action.
Italy places the highest premium upon advancing children’s rights on the global scale, especially in the most disadvantaged places, both in legislative terms and in de facto reality. I would like to mention three areas where our action has been focused during this past year.
First, in January we ratified the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which entered into force for us last May, which allows our children to bring complaints about violations of their rights directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child if they have not found a solution at the national level. We believe this is a further step towards the protection of their rights.
Second, last August we adopted the fourth National Action Plan on the Rights and Development of the Child. The Plan of Action is a guiding instrument that reflects the commitment made by Italy to implement the content of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and which aims to: combat child and family poverty; offer social-educational services for early childhood and a quality school system; create strategies and interventions for social and school integration and support parenthood in general.
Last, but not less important, we have strengthened our efforts vis-à-vis the tragedy of children involved in the mass flows of migrants and refugees that are reaching Europe. This is indeed a very sensitive theme for Italy: we are particularly concerned about the increasing numbers of unaccompanied minors coming to our shores, from 5,000 in 2012 to 12,000 in 2015, to more than 21,000 unaccompanied minors in 2016. For this reason, we have put forward a Migration Compact, built on a strong, unwavering commitment to humanitarian principles – saving lives at sea (more than 144 thousand desperate women, children and men so far this year) – and with concrete, achievable goals to address the root causes of migration. We also promoted a resettlement program (the humanitarian corridor project) aimed at saving at least the most vulnerable among migrants (women and unaccompanied children).
Migrant and refugee children – like all children in a vulnerable situation – need to be treated as children first and foremost, and their protection and rights must be the primary focus. In this regard, we welcome the attention to “migrant children” given by the omnibus resolution “Rights of the Child” that the EU and GRULAC will present again this year.
We must protect all children, but most of all we must restore hope to those who have lost it, such as migrant women and children.
Gracias señora Presidenta.