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Peacebuilding Commission – Sessione Annuale su “Regional approaches to peacebuilding: The Sahel, Lake Chad Basin, and the Mano River Union”

Discorso pronunciato dall’Ambasciatore Stefano Stefanile, Vice Rappresentante Permanente d’Italia presso le Nazioni Unite, alla Sessione Annuale della Peacebuilding Commission su “Regional approaches to peacebuilding: The Sahel, Lake Chad Basin, and the Mano River Union” —

Thank you, Mr. Chair, for convening this meeting. I would also like to thank all the briefers for their interventions.

My first remark is that, from the interventions we listened to this morning, we got a confirmation of the magnitude and the multidimensional nature of the challenges in the Sahel and in the Lake Chad basin.

From this stands the need for us to tackle the situation in the region with an integrated and comprehensive approach. This is what Italy is trying to do in its contribution to the action of the EU, and in partnership with the United Nations: by increasing its investments in the region; by expanding its regional diplomatic presence; by investing over 200 million euros in bilateral assistance to West African countries over the last couple of years, completed by additional financing from our National Africa Fund; by supporting the G5 Sahel Joint Force both financially and through capacity building activities; by providing professional training to judges, diplomats, police and gendarmerie from the countries of the region

And all this confirms our strong commitment to the stabilization of the Sahel and of the Lake Chad Basin, which we do consider a priority of our action towards Africa.

Three points that in our opinion are particularly relevant for the future of the region: first of all, coordination and coherence; secondly, national and regional ownership; and third, financing.

On enhancing coordination, we agree with those who have already observed the PBC is the best place to facilitate the discussion on how to achieve these objectives. We welcome the focus on the implementation of the UN Integrated Strategy for the Sahel. We are pleased to notice that the UN Support Plan for the Sahel is now moving forward and we stand ready to continue this discussion to see how Member States can concretely contribute to the common objective of advancing UNISS and the Support Plan.

On ownership we believe that a stronger commitment by the countries of the region, particularly by the G5 Countries, is urgent. In that respect, we welcome the information shared with us today by the DPR of Burkina Faso on the strategy and concrete measures that the G5 Countries intend to put in place. In parallel, the International Community should scale up its support and help find predictable and sustainable financing mechanisms.

This leads me to my third and last point, that is financing. Without adequate resources, it is clear that it would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the countries of the region to overcome the serious challenges they are facing. There is a specific need to enhance financial resources dedicated to peacebuilding activities, in order to make them more predictable. And consistently, Italy has increased this year its contribution to the Peacebuilding Fund to 1 million Euros.

To complement public efforts, we look forward to a greater involvement of the private sector in order to find innovative ways to mobilize investments for West Africa.

I thank you, Mr. Chair.