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ONU – Evento a Margine su “The Sahel Alliance”

Discorso pronunciato dal Min. Plen. Luigi De Chiara, Capo Unità per la strategia, i processi globali e le organizzazioni internazionali – Ministero degli Affari Esteri e della Cooperazione Internazionale, all’Evento a margine su “The Sahel Alliance: Working hand in hand with the United Nations to invest for the future of Sahel” —

Italy is particularly glad to cosponsor today this very important event.

The concerns just expressed by the Deputy Secretary General and by others before me are concerns that Italy shares in turn as a member of the European Union and as a Mediterranean-bound Country where the trans-regional dimension of the Sahelian instability reveals its dramatic magnitude and pushes us to strengthen every day the relationship with the Countries of the region.

The Sahel is an area of strategic interest for our foreign and cooperation policy, as reaffirmed by Prime Minister Gentiloni during the High Level Conference on the Sahel held in Brussels last February and this is why at the beginning of the present year we joined the Sahel Alliance.

In my intervention I will touch upon three concepts that seems to me essential to answer the main topic of today’s discussion:
– The key factor that should inspire our strategy for the region
– The approach to the multidimensional challenges of the Region
– The need for coordination

On the first point, let me recall two main principles which inspire the Sahel Alliance and which are deep-rooted in our national approach to the region: the first is “national ownership” and the second one is “accountability”. These two principles must be a compass for all the actions and methodologies we elaborate on the Sahel.
In this vein we fully share the operative approach of the Alliance based:
– on the coordination between its projects and those that the G5 countries consider a priority,
– on the identification of critical points that are likely to hamper or slow down the implementation of programs,
– and on the concentration of interventions in the most vulnerable regions.

My second point is the nexus between development and security that must be addressed fostering an effective holistic approach to promote long-term-sustainable development of local populations as a means to promote security and stability in the region, and effectively counter violent extremism. Let me say also that Italy fully supports the new approach of the Secretary General on Sustaining Peace.

Italy has adopted an holistic approach based :
– on the emergency response to several humanitarian crises caused by extreme poverty, climate shocks and terrorist attacks ,
– on development programs focused on food security and rural development,
– on increased access to basic health services,
– on the sustainable exploitation of natural resources.

We also support the creation of jobs and entrepreneurial capacities – with specific emphasis on the role of youth and women, and on the active involvement of relevant diasporas in Italy.

These initiatives also aim at providing actual opportunities for economic and social progress that may offer local communities a credible alternative to migration.

Also on this point let me mention, among others:
our emergency plan in the Lake Chad region to respond to Boko Haram threat,
the projects on food security and job creation in Burkina Faso,
the support to an incubator and accelerator of rural “start-up” companies in Mali,
our contribution to humanitarian activities helping refugees in Mauritania.

In addition, Italy supports with a contribution of 50 million Euros from our “Africa Fund” the project “Support to Justice, Security and to the Border Management in Niger”, financed through the EU Valletta Trust Fund to combat the root causes of irregular migration, which is one of the twelve “flagship projects” highlighting the Alliance commitment to the Sahel region.
In this respect, the Italian Cooperation has been implementing more than 40 projects in G5 Countries, for a total value of 120 million Euros.

Mr. Chair, my final point is about coordination.

Italy has repeatedly commended the commitment of the SG to revitalizing the United Nations’ Strategy for the Sahel and we also pay tribute to you, Madame Deputy Secretary General Amina Mohammed, for the strong leadership that you have shown on this issue.
I would also like to recall that in the UNISS framework our Ministry of Environment has recently concluded a partnership with UNPD for a new season of projects in the Sahel region in the environmental sector.
We are looking forward to the finalization of the Support Plan to assist the Secretariat in putting into practice the Strategy.

Together with assuring coherence inside the UN, UNISS must be in a constant dialogue with the other international and regional platforms on the Sahel, as the Sahel Alliance itself.

Considering the magnitude of the challenges the Sahel is facing, only a combined effort of all stakeholders in the region, based also on the different added value each of them can give to the Sahel, will guarantee a coherent and integrated response to the problems we are facing today.

I thank you