Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatrice Mariangela Zappia, Rappresentante Permanente dell’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, al Dibattito Aperto in Consiglio di Sicurezza su “United Nations peacekeeping operations: Women in peacekeeping” —
I wish to thank you personally and of course Germany for having dedicated this Open Debate to such an important topic, and I thank Secretary-General Guterres, not only for his opening remarks but also and above all for being such a formidable advocate and actor for gender parity in the UN. Also I thank the briefers Major General Kristin Lund and Ms. Merekaje Nanjia for their remarks.
Italy aligns itself with the statement to be delivered by the European Union.
Italy, the top Troop contributor in the Western Group and one of the most generous contributors to the peacekeeping budget, is deeply committed to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of UN Peacekeeping.
Experience has proved that women – be they peacekeepers, civilian staff, gender advisers or gender experts – play a fundamental role in enhancing mandate’s delivery and in improving the protection of civilians as well as the safety and security of peacekeepers and humanitarian actors.
Therefore, we should redouble our efforts to make UN Peacekeeping Missions fit for women and increase their presence.
Likewise, as Minister Von der Leyen mentioned in her remark, it is absolutely crucial to ensure that all efforts to strengthen the presence of women in armed forces and peacekeeping missions are given the maximum visibility. A strong public communication campaign of the contribution of women to peacekeeping has to be a fundamental element of our strategy.
Italy fully supports the A4P initiative and the incentives and measures planned under the Uniformed Gender Parity Strategy launched by the Secretariat. During its last tenure on the Security Council, Italy initiated resolution 2382, which reaffirms the indispensable role of women in Peacekeeping.
At the national level, in recent years, Italy has put in place a number of actions in order to integrate the gender perspective at all levels and in all branches of its military organization.
The Ministry of Defense has a Gender Advisor, a Joint Council on gender perspectives, and an Equal opportunities and gender perspective Unit. Training curricula for the Armed Forces, Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza include the gender perspective and its objectives.
As announced at the recent Ministerial Conference on Peacekeeping, Italy is offering to all interested TCCs and PCCs, for the current year, a new set of courses for gender advisors, Female Engagement team, and on gender perspective.
More can be done.
The launch of the Elsie Initiative and the establishment of the Elsie Fund to overcome barriers to increasing women’s meaningful participation in peace operations is an important step in the right direction. We praise Canada’s leadership in this regard.
The Security Council has a role to play by calling the Secretariat, Heads of Missions as well as TCCs to ensure that the gender perspective is always duly taken into account, addressing persistent barriers and challenges to the deployment of women.
As Major Lund have said this morning, SRSGs and Force Commanders should make every effort to promote the active and meaningful involvement of women in situation analysis, in planning as well as in activities on the field, particularly those aiming at building trust with the local population and strengthening partnerships with local female organizations.
Indeed, women deployment in UN missions should be first interlocutors of the local female population. Our experience on the ground, especially in Southern Lebanon and Afghanistan, show that whenever there is interaction between female soldiers and the local female population, such interaction is fruitful and successful. In a recent case, one of our most brilliant female UNIFIL soldiers, building on her experience as Chief of the West Sector Commander’s Close Protection Team, decided to go back to Lebanon after her term in UNIFIL, to train Lebanese female soldiers of the Presidential Guard, in the framework of our bilateral assistance to the country.
The creation of Uniformed Women’s Networks, to be implemented by June 2020, must also be seen as a mechanism by which to foster dialogue with female organizations present in the host Country. This would benefit the female component of peacekeeping operations, and at the same time empower the women of the host Country.
This comprehensive approach to women and peacekeeping must also serve to further advance the fight against the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse. Italy fully supports the UN zero tolerance policy on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse and during the Ministerial Conference on Peacekeeping, announced a new contribution of 160,000 euros to the Trust Fund in support of the victims of SEA.
And finally Mr. President, if the result of having this kind of debate can bring to the table, as I see, a majority of member of the council with women representatives, is already a very good result and I thank you for that too.