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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Pace e Sicurezza in Africa

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Inigo Lambertini, Vice Rappresentante Permanente e Charge’ d’Affaires a.i dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Meeting in Consiglio di Sicurezza su Pace e Sicurezza in Africa —

Mr. President,

At the outset, I would like to thank the Egyptian Presidency for convening this meeting. I would like also to thank the Deputy Secretary-General, Ms. Amina Mohammed, for her comprehensive briefing, as well as the Permanent Observer of the African Union for his contribution.

Italy commends the leadership of the Deputy Secretary-General in having organized this first-ever joint high-level mission with the African Union focused on women’s meaningful participation in peace, security and development. And we welcome it for three main reasons: first, because this mission has paved the way for a more sustained partnership with the African Union in this area, that we applaud and fully encourage. Second, because this initiative aims at tackling a problem for which the United Nations system has always been criticized, that is, its work in silos, which has prevented at times an efficient and coordinated response to crises. In keeping with UNSCR 2242 (2015), it is indeed vital that we ensure better mainstreaming the gender perspective in the development, prioritization, coordination, and implementation of policies and programs. Third, because it is important that the United Nations continue their advocacy and engagement in the field in order to support national authorities to put an end to all current violations and hold perpetrators accountable. In this regard, we do not consider a coincidence that the notorious rebel commander and warlord Ntabo Ntaberi Cheka, implicated in the brutal mass rape of at least 387 civilians in Walikale in 2010, decided to surrender to MONUSCO on July 26th, while the mission was in place.

As this visit has demonstrated, advancing gender equality and promoting women’s active involvement in peace processes are essential for achieving sustainable development as well as lasting peace and security. As exemplified by the many women the Deputy Secretary-General met during her mission, women are a driving force of development, even in the most challenging situations. In the DRC, for instance, displaced women, despite dramatic living conditions in refugee camps, have succeeded in organizing themselves with some form of access to microcredit, enabling them not only to survive but even to contribute to their communities.

In the meeting with Government officials, the Women, Peace and Security discourse, namely the revitalization of women’s participation and leadership in peace and security processes, has proven to be an entry point for enhanced dialogue with local authorities in both Nigeria and the DRC.

Mr. President,

Italy welcomes the choice made by the DSG to visit Nigeria and the DRC. In Nigeria, Boko Haram continues to be a major threat to peace and security, also because of the several cases of abductions targeting women – like the one of the Chibok girls – perpetrated by the terrorits group. During the mission of the Security Council in the Lake Chad basin in March to which I had the privilege to be part of, we observed the strong engagement of local Governments in the fight against Boko Haram and other terrorist groups and the attention devoted to promote the participation of civil society in the fight against radicalization. By many interlocutors, it was stressed the crucial role played in this regard in particular by women’s organizations. It is critical for us to keep supporting these efforts.

In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, we witness one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, with a total of 3.8 million IDPs. We think it is important to pay close attention at this situation. In this context, women and children are suffering most of the consequences, both in the Eastern Provinces and in the Grand Kasai region. In the Grand Kasai region, in particular, we hope that the Government of DRC will conduct a prompt, transparent and independent investigation to establish the facts and circumstances of the human rights violations and abuses perpetrated over the last months. In this regard, while recalling that the Congolese Authorities have the primary responsibility to protect the Congolese people, we hope that the UN Joint Human Rights Office in the DRC will continue to be provided with the necessary resources to assist the DRC Government in the promotion and protection of human rights.

Mr. President,

Allow me to reiterate our deep concerns for the current political situation in the DRC, which is one of the causes of the current wave of violence. A swift implementation of the 31 December 2016 agreement is urgent, together with the full implementation of the confidence building measures agreed in the same agreement. These are critical steps to take in order to organize elections as soon as possible with the full and equal participation of women.

To conclude, I would like to reassure once again the Deputy Secretary-General and this Council that we will continue to promote and support women’s participation and leadership in peace, security and development in Africa and help the continent achieve its Agenda 2063.

Thank you.