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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Meeting sulla Protezione delle infrastrutture critiche contro attacchi terroristici

Discorso pronunciato dal Sottosegretario di Stato On. Vincenzo Amendola al dibattito aperto in Consiglio di Sicurezza sulla Protezione delle infrastrutture critiche contro attacchi terroristici —

Ambassador Ribeiro Viotti, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It is a pleasure to be here today and engage on the discussion on such a crucial topic.

Let me, first of all, thank Ukrainian Minister Klimkin for bringing this debate to the Security Council. The threat posed by terrorism and the need to protect critical infrastructures perfectly describe the complexity of today’s security challenges, which affect us all. The Security Council calls for comprehensive and preventive approach to address their potential impact on global security. Security involves the resilience of the States and the cohesion of the public opinion.

Indeed, the Resolution on the table would allow the International Community to fill a critical void. Italy therefore welcomes and supports this initiative.

Terrorists target critical infrastructures in many ways, and at times they succeed in disrupting our way of life. Last year, for example, terrorist attacks in the airports of Brussels and Istanbul have shown how ruthless and effective terrorist groups can be. The targeting and exploitation of facilities by Da’esh in Iraq is another clear – although qualitatively different – example of very damaging attacks on critical infrastructures. In Iraq, Italy remains committed to the protection of the Mosul Dam, which was also targeted by Da’esh threatening the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. These are just examples, but their impact shows how vital it is for the International Community to swiftly act upon this threat. It’s a transnational threat and needs a transnational answer.

Clearly, the UN has a preeminent role in recognizing the need for international cooperation and in coordinating – including through regional Organizations – a coherent response. As we acknowledge the deepening interdependence of pipelines, power grids, railways, banks, hospitals and many other infrastructures, including our governments as a whole, we must (1) identify which of those targets are effectively critical; (2) enhance cross border synergies to prevent and mitigate terrorist attacks; and (3) respond swiftly to threats.

Since every chain is as strong as its weakest links, international dialogue and partnership and capacity building, are key elements in the protection of critical infrastructures. At this stage of global affairs, the strong relevance of connections in most of the cases can affect societies with transborder effects.

We are therefore ready to support an enhanced role of the UN, as the Resolution suggests, in identifying and spreading best practices for identifying and protecting these infrastructures; assessing the needs of Member States; and acting through the specialized agencies to encourage cooperation and raise awareness on the importance of coordinated responses. A key element of partnership is information exchange: the membership should be made aware of the nature of threats to a single Country, when they affect our collective security. Especially when new technologies are key to attacking and protecting infrastructures, we must acknowledge the great premium of joining forces and sharing capacity. We encourage a role for the UN in this domain, while fully respecting national sovereignty and prerogatives.

Let me add something on the role and the relevance of cyberspace and, in general, of the ICT [Information and Communications Technology]. Today, ICT has a decisive relevance in all infrastructures and it is both a means and a target of terrorism. We believe that we must have a broad understanding on what constitutes an ICT attack. We are already under attack when we are unable to detect and stop the planning of attacks online, as well as the propaganda of terrorist groups on the Internet. If we recognize that an attack is taking place when a plane or a truck are hijacked, so we must acknowledge that a different, subtler kind of attack is taking place when the network spaces are hijacked by terrorist organizations. Being able to balance free access of all to the extraordinary resources of the Internet with the imperatives of our collective security, it is not easy, but bargaining our freedoms for our security only plays in the hand of terrorists.

This brings me to my final remark on the partnership between the public and the private sector. Italy thinks that the protection of critical infrastructures is one of the fields where we must highlight the converging interests of the Member States, the business world and our civil societies, and where common platforms of cooperation should be established.

This is why such a debate and such a Resolution are important because provide the indispensable international and legal framework for such a partnership to be enhanced and flourish in our free, open and creative societies.

Thank you!