Discorso pronunciato dall’Italia al Dibattito Aperto in VTC del Consiglio di Sicurezza su “Pandemics and Security”. —
Italy aligns itself with the statement submitted by the European Union, as well as with the statement of the Group of Friends of Solidarity for Global Health Security, and would like to add the following remarks in its national capacity.
The COVID-19 pandemic is, in the first place, a global health crisis, requiring a coordinated and multilateral response. From the very beginning, Italy has strongly supported such a collective approach, by actively advocating for an international alliance to advance the research on a vaccine and to guarantee its rapid development and equitable distribution. We were proud to be among the promoters – in partnership with the EU and other key Partner Countries – of the Coronavirus Global Response Pledging Conference on the 4th of May and of the following one on the 27th of June, which collected almost 16 billion euro for universal and fair access to vaccines, treatments and diagnostics to fight COVID-19. We were also among the pioneers of the COVID-19 ACT-Accelerator and the main contributors to the Covax Facility through the GAVI Advance Market Commitment, which will ensure access to the vaccine by the Developing Countries.
At the same time, global health is also a fundamental precondition for peace, stability and prosperity and interacts with the tripartite nexus peace-humanitarian-development.
Besides its tragic impact on public health and its profound repercussions on human rights and socio-economic conditions at the global level, the COVID-19 pandemic has heavily exacerbated the existing threats to the maintenance of international peace and security.
In countries ravaged by armed conflicts or affected by political instability, the effects of the pandemic have aggravated the situation, hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid and intensifying the suffering of local populations.
This is why, in all hotspots of the world, conflicting parties should adhere to the Appeal of Secretary General Guterres for a Global Ceasefire – which Italy fully supports – and join forces against the virus. In this vein, we welcome yesterday’s adoption of UNSC resolution 2532, demanding a general and immediate cessation of hostilities in all situations on its agenda and expressing support for the efforts undertaken by the Secretary General in this respect. A durable humanitarian pause is indeed crucial to enable the safe, unhindered and sustained delivery of humanitarian assistance, particularly to vulnerable groups, refugees and displaced persons.
In these difficult circumstances, the UN peacekeeping operations have a special role to play in supporting local communities in their handling of the pandemic. Italy much appreciates the work of the UN Secretariat in implementing measures and procedures to mitigate the COVID19 impact and to protect peacekeepers and local populations.
Now more than ever, we need to remain committed to peace operations. Leaving peacekeepers shorthanded and unable to fulfill their respective mandates now, would put local populations and mission members at risk. Italy, together with its EU partners, has fully confirmed its commitments as T/PCC. Moreover, the Italian contingent in UNIFIL has been providing medical equipment to the local health services, thus directly contributing to the mitigation of the virus impact. This shows how peace operations could serve as a flexible tool to preserve peace and stability and how the A4P initiative has been a fundamental step forward in modernizing UN peacekeeping missions. Italy welcomes the initiative undertaken by the Secretariat in re-prioritizing A4P in this phase, with a stronger focus on safety and security, performance and protection, particularly as they relate to coronavirus prevention and containment and public health support.
In assessing the interaction between pandemics and security, we also have to consider the impact of the coronavirus on food security. In a state of emergency like the one we are experiencing, it is paramount importance that everyone has access to safe, nutritious and sufficient food, and we must do everything in our power to keep trade routes open and functioning supply chains, while carrying out initiatives to support food access for the poorest and most vulnerable people of our societies.
In this spirit, Italy is committed to support FAO, IFAD, WFP and all relevant UN actors in their efforts to prevent a global food crisis and has been promoting a Food Coalition through the FAO to mobilize expertise, provide policy support, establish a space for dialogue and promote initiatives focused on the creation of more resilient and sustainable food systems.
Last but not least, the pandemic has reminded us of the importance of fully implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda. Due to the health crisis, women and girls have are being particularly exposed to sexual and gender-based violence or to the unequal sharing of responsibilities. At the same time, women – who represent the majority of health workers – have been at the forefront of the response and will be the backbone of recovery in communities. The pandemic must bring us to strengthen our commitment to achieve gender parity and to ensure that women participate meaningfully in decision-making processes for the sake of peace and prosperity for all.