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COSP 13 – Evento a margine su “Building on the Bridging the Gap experience:…”

Intervento pronunciato dal Ministro Plenipotenziario Leonardo Bencini, Direttore dell’Unita’ per la Strategia, i Processi Globali e le Organizzazioni Internnazionali del MAECI, all’Evento a margine del COSP 13 su “Building on the Bridging the Gap experience: strengthening policies and practices for inclusion and leaving no one behind” —

Thank you very much to all the organisers for inviting us to this event and for giving us the opportunity to speak about this very important issue. We are glad to have co-sponsored this initiative and to support Bridging the gap through our Agency for Development Cooperation, particularly in Burkina Faso and Sudan.

Today Italy begins its G20 Presidency. We are taking over from the Saudi Presidency, after almost a year that has seen us all face an unprecedented threat not only to global health but to the global economy and indeed to global stability in general. This year has unfortunately set us back on many of the SDGs and risks putting us off track from the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, just as we begin our Decade of Action. Yes, we have less than ten years to go and much more to do now to reach those goals as we did a year ago. There’s a lot of talk of recovering better and this has to be indeed our roadmap. We must aim for a green, resilient AND inclusive recovery.

And inclusion is indeed the main goal of Bridging the gap – inclusion of persons with disabilities at both the international and country level through more inclusive and accessible public policies and services. And to ensure this now, at this particular point in time, we must focus on those that had been and are worst hit by this pandemic if we truly want to leave no one behind. The COVID-19 emergency made pre-existing vulnerabilities and situations of fragility more acute, it has made marginalization and exclusion more acute. But it has also reinforced the need to pay particular attention to those more at risk, in terms of health as well as social and economic needs, including a substantial number of persons with disabilities.

We have taken measures early on to re-orient many of our programs and activities to the response to the Covid-19 emergency, having in mind the need to assist the more vulnerable population groups, including people with disabilities. We have done so with our international cooperation projects and with the international organisations we are working with, building on what we have been doing for many years now. Promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities and their inclusion is indeed a cross-cutting priority for our international cooperation. It is based on the awareness that disability is something that concerns us all, it concerns the majority of families and, at one point or other in life, it concerns almost everyone.

Training, awareness-raising in communities, advocacy, education, employment, health, good governance and institution-building, civil society empowerment, prevention, support to and protection of people with disabilities who have been victims of violence – these are the main tracks of the policy and actions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy and of the Italian Agency for development cooperation. Our initiatives have as a priority goal the involvement of institutions, of civil society and also of the private sector so that we can collectively provide solutions and services for persons with disabilities and enable them to study, work and live without any discrimination whatsoever within their respective communities.

Our goal – our common goal, I must say – is the mainstreaming of the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in our international cooperation initiatives and across the whole UN development system. We stand ready to work with our partners on this, beginning, as I said, with our G20 Presidency.

Thank you very much for your attention.