Statement delivered by Ambassador Mariangela Zappia, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, at the Security Council Open Debate on Strengthening peacekeeping operations in Africa —
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,
Let me first commend the Chinese Presidency of the Security Council for convening this meeting on such an important theme. I also wish to thank the Secretary-General and Commissioner Chergui for their briefings.
Italy aligns itself with the statement to be made by the European Union.
Africa is today an active global player also in the fields of peace and security and is enhancing its own instruments in order to respond effectively to threats and crises in the Continent, to prevent them from occurring, and to achieve the objective of silencing the guns by 2020.
We commend the strengthening of the African Peace and Security Architecture and the African Standby Force, and the efforts made in developing frameworks for international humanitarian law and human rights, and conduct and discipline compliance for AU Peace Support Operations (PSOs). We believe these frameworks are an essential component of the African Peace and Security Architecture.
We welcome also the progress made in the operationalization of the Peace Fund of the African Union, which reached this year the highest level of contributions since its establishment. We appreciate that the Fund is set to finance also mediation and preventive diplomacy activities. Prevention is still the best option at our disposal, and avoids the human suffering and destruction produced by conflicts.
Beside the remarkable progress of the past few years, more remains to be done. In this regard, partnerships are essential since no one – not even the UN – can do everything on its own. Moreover, the involvement of regional and subregional organizations and the implementation of Chapter 8 of the Charter are crucial to address properly regional crises and find sustainable solutions.
With the declaration of shared commitments on UN peacekeeping operations last September, we committed once again to enhance collaboration and planning between the UN and relevant international, regional and sub-regional organizations and arrangements, including the African Union (AU) and the European Union . We also committed to support the AU to strengthen and implement its policies, procedures and capacities.
The United Nations and the African Union have a long and successful history of cooperation on the ground. We commend the progress made in improving this partnership and encourage the further strengthening of the UN-AU working relationship which will ensure effective and cost-efficient peace operations.
The European Union plays an important role in complementing the UN’s efforts and those of other regional organizations on the ground. The EU has several training and capacity-building missions in Africa and provides financial support to many African Peace Support Operations through its African Peace Facility, from AMISOM in Somalia to the G5-Sahel Joint Force, where a unique trilateral cooperation among EU, UN and the G5 Sahel was put in place.
Italy is ready to contribute to strengthening African capacities in the area of peacekeeping. Thanks to our Carabinieri and to our Defense Forces, from Somalia to the Sahel, Italy is sparing no efforts to build capacity across the board, from border security to election security, from justice and correction practices to the fight against organized crime and trafficking. In 2018 we committed additional resources to specific training and capacity-building programs.
On October 25th we organized in Rome the second Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference, which focused – among other things – on issues related to peace and security in Africa.
Through our Centre of Excellence for Stability Police Units (CoESPU) in Vicenza, we provide high-quality training and specialized courses for peacekeepers on rule of law, protection of civilians, sexual and gender based violence in conflicts and the broader Women Peace and Security Agenda.
It is recognized that the AU-led peace operations have comparative advantages in terms of flexibility, rapid deployment in challenging environments and capacity to perform robust mandates. Their main challenge is still the lack of sustainable and predictable funding. The Secretary-General’s report on the subject envisaged different mechanisms to finance and support AU peace operations authorized by the Security Council. These options should be fully considered and implemented.
The example of the G5-Sahel Joint Force is useful to analyze the impact the lack of funding could have. As the Secretary-General stated in his last report on the G5-Sahel Force, the existing support model to the Joint Force is not sufficient and a more comprehensive and extensive UN support package is needed. Only this would allow the countries of the region to fully realize the ambitious objectives they set for themselves with this innovative and most welcome initiative.
Italy remains in favorof using UN-assessed contributions for African-led peace operations, provided that appropriate standards in terms of troop quality, training, equipment, financial transparency, human rights compliance, conduct and discipline are met.
In order to achieve these goals, the Security Council has to show readiness in embracing the innovative spirit that the terms of the relationship with Africa require today. Ultimately, what is at stake is the idea itself of constructive multilateralism that we should uphold and advance by showing the necessary political leadership.
Thank you very much.