Discorso pronunciato dall’Italia al Dibattito Aperto del Consiglio di Sicurezza su “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Enhancing Maritime Security: a case for international cooperation.” —
Italy thanks the Government of India for organizing this Open Debate and aligns itself with the statement of the European Union.
The transnational character of maritime crime and threats to maritime security requires a concerted action by the international community, in line with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and with the freedom of navigation. International and regional cooperation are indispensable to tackle the emerging challenges on the high seas in all its multiple dimensions, including trafficking in persons, weapons, drugs and cultural artifacts. Bringing security at sea also means safeguarding human rights, especially of the most vulnerable people, such as women and children, often victims of human trafficking.
Maritime security is a priority for Italy, which deems it essential to guarantee freedom of navigation along sea routes, the respect for basic principles of maritime passage, security and safety as well as protection of the oceans. In order to ensure maritime security and protect these principles, Italy actively participates in important naval operations. In the Mediterranean, for example, Italy represents one the largest contributors to EUNAVFOR Operation “Irini”, currently providing it with the flagship ITS San Marco. The mission, under the leadership of Admiral Agostini, is the only actor mandated, by UNSCR 2292 (2016), to implement the arms embargo on Libya established by UNSCR 1970 (2011). In the Horn of Africa, we have been participating in the counterpiracy operation EUNAVFOR “Atalanta” since its inception, continuously providing one or two naval assets, including the flagship. In the Gulf of Guinea, in line with Italy’s increasing investment in maritime security in the region, Italy committed highly performing naval units in an anti-piracy eight-month per year campaign including joint maritime security and maritime domain awareness patrol activities with European and regional Navies as well as capacity-building involving coastal States.
Italy is also deeply involved in fostering security through a proactive support to the development of related capabilities of partner Countries, particularly in Africa. Italy is therefore conducting capacity building and cooperation programs with several States. In many cases, there is indeed a clear need for comprehensive capacity-building assistance in areas such as maritime governance, coast guard functions, disaster relief, maritime search and rescue, and maritime information sharing and integration. At the same time, efforts are also required to improve legislative, judicial and prosecutorial capacities.
However, the root causes of piracy and other maritime crimes lie on land and the development of a sustainable maritime economy should be an essential part of the international efforts aimed at countering and effectively eliminate them. In particular, ocean health and productivity need to be restored and maintained, so that oceans and their ecosystem services can be available to current and future generations and support sustainable development, avoiding the insurgence of the root causes of instability at sea. In this regard, Italy is actively promoting a more sustainable approach to the use of marine resources, in order to protect marine biodiversity and combat pollution. More broadly, Italy is taking action at the national, European and international level to fight climate change and reduce emissions levels that are causing the increase in temperatures and the acidification of oceans.
In conclusion, Italy is fully committed to working together with its partners in fighting transnational maritime crime and tackling the root causes of these crimes. At the same time, Italy believes in the importance of fully respecting and encouraging local ownership. In this spirit, Italy stands ready to improve information sharing, increase legal cooperation and cooperate on institution and capacity building.