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Consiglio di Sicurezza – Dibattito Aperto (VTC) su ‘Maintenance of international peace and security: Challenges of maintaining peace and security in fragile contexts’

Discorso pronunciato dall’Italia al Dibattito Aperto in VTC del Consiglio di Sicurezza su ‘Maintenance of international peace and security: Challenges of maintaining peace and security in fragile contexts’ —

Italy thanks the Government of Tunisia for organizing this Open Debate, which offers the opportunity to discuss how to address the interplay between fragility and conflict.

As the Secretary-General recently said, “The [COVID-19] pandemic has demonstrated the fragility of our world.” And “it has laid bare risks we have ignored: inadequate health systems; gaps in social protection; structural inequalities; environmental degradation; the climate crisis.”

Despite the profound and devastating impact of the pandemic, we should seize the opportunity to “build back better” in 2021 and create more resilient societies. In doing so, we need to tackle the root causes of instability and insecurity, especially across the African continent, where a wide array of factors creates a risk of violence and conflict.

Italy believes that increasing our support to the most vulnerable Countries remain an absolute priority and we will promote such priority also in the context of the Italian Presidency of the G20 in 2021, under the motto “People, Planet, Prosperity”. As one of the promoters of the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) in 2020, Italy has decided to include the issue of the sustainability of debt of fragile economies in the G20 agenda for this year, with the objective of extending the DSSI initiative, expand it to middle-income Countries and improving cooperation between public institutions and the private sector.

Global health remains a fundamental precondition for peace, stability and prosperity. From the very beginning of this global emergency, Italy has strongly supported international solidarity, actively advocating for an international alliance to advance the research on a vaccine against COVID-19. In the same spirit, in 2021 Italy will host, together with the European Commission, the Global Health Summit.

Food insecurity is another driver of conflicts and a precondition for peace. Italy is committed to support FAO, IFAD, WFP and all relevant UN actors in their efforts to prevent a global food crisis. We have 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. Italy is also actively contributing to making this year’s Food Systems Summit a success.

During the Italian Presidency of the G20 and in the framework of our partnership with the United Kingdom for COP26, we will strive to ensure that climate action be the foundation of the post-pandemic recovery. As part of the COP26 program, Italy will organize a special event dedicated to Africa, where the impact of climate change on security is most acute.

The destabilizing accumulation, illicit transfer and misuse of small arms and light weapons has been consistently denounced by the Secretary-General as a primary driver of armed conflict and pervasive crime, in Africa as well as in other areas of the world. The humanitarian impact of the illicit flows of such arms remains cause of serious concern. In this respect, it is important to recall that the Secretary-General, in May 2018, launched a new Agenda for Disarmament, named Securing Our Common Future, which prioritizes “disarmament that saves lives”. We commend the African Union’s “Silencing the Guns” initiative and the recent decision to extend its implementation for 10 years.

Building sustainable and long-term partnerships is the spirit with which Italy will keep strengthening its relationship with Africa. Our geography, our common history, our friendship and our shared destiny make the African Continent a primary issue of our foreign policy.

In this spirit, our Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation presented in December a new policy document entitled “The Partnership with Africa”, which defines the priorities and principles of Italy’s action vis-a-vis the African Continent. Our long-term engagement along with our African friends is and will remain a priority.

Partnership is also a crucial element to allow the United Nations to be more effective in managing drivers of fragility, especially in Africa. We have consistently supported the new impetus given by the Secretary-General to the African Union-United Nations partnership and we call upon the two Organizations to further strengthening this strategic cooperation. It is also crucial to deepen the cooperation mechanisms between the United Nations and the relevant African sub-regional organizations, on the basis of complementarity and subsidiarity. We also attach importance to advancing the trilateral cooperation between the UN, the African Union and the European Union.

Investing in prevention is absolutely key. In these challenging times the centrality of the peacebuilding work has to be acknowledged and adequately financed, because it is the glue that keeps development, humanitarian and security efforts on a sustainable path. We believe that the Security Council should further strengthen its relationship with the Peacebuilding Commission, which is uniquely placed to mobilize coordinated support to peacebuilding priorities and developments plans, particularly in Africa.

In conclusion, Italy remains fully committed in contributing to address the root causes of conflicts and the unattended issues of fragility, especially in Africa, not only bilaterally, but also being actively engaged in all relevant international fora. 2021 must be the year dedicated to identifying and implementing shared, coordinated and equitable responses to this global crisis.