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Security Council – Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security:…”

Statement delivered by Italy at the Security Council Open Debate on “Maintenance of International Peace and Security: Peace and security through preventive diplomacy: a common objective to all the principal organs of the United Nations.” —

We thank the Mexican Presidency of the Security Council for organizing this timely Open Debate and express our appreciation to the briefers for their insightful remarks.

Preventing conflict is one of the priorities of our time, and we share the view that preventive diplomacy should take a more prominent place in the activities of the UN system. We strongly believe that peace and security issues must be addressed with a multidimensional and inclusive approach that spans the development, political, security, justice and human rights dimensions, paying due consideration to the concept of peace continuum and to the peace-humanitarian-development nexus.

Italy has consistently supported the Secretary-General’s commitment to changing the paradigm from crisis management to conflict prevention and sustaining peace. We are longstanding supporters of his good offices and are pleased to see the steady reinforcement of the role of the Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs in preventive diplomacy and peacebuilding, in line with the objective of enhancing UN action along the entire “cycle of conflict”. We encourage the DPPA to continue to follow this path with strong and innovative initiatives and take full advantage of all possible synergies, especially with the Peacebuilding Fund. In the same spirit, we agree on the need to reinforce the “whole-of-pillar” approach, which is at the core of the reform, as well as a significant factor in the Common Agenda of the Secretary-General.

The United Nations defense of peace worldwide must be comprehensive in nature. For strong concerted action of the global community, Italy believes that the UN should act as the linchpin and catalyst of joint efforts, promoting an effective division of labor between all the actors involved (specialized agencies, national institutions, NGOs, as well as parliamentary groups, and academic institutions). The entities of the UN system, individually and collectively, should review existing policies and programmes and sharpen their focus on alleviating root causes of conflict. They should find practical ways to cooperate effectively in preventive diplomacy and in the promotion of the rule of law. We suggest the General Assembly be more involved in preventive diplomacy – instituting regular meetings of the SC to review conflict-prone situations. We believe in a greater role for ECOSOC in identifying social and economic problems likely to result in crisis, as well as in developing strategies to deal with economic and social causes of conflict. Lastly, we also suggest making more use of the ICJ in the peaceful settlement of disputes. In addition, Member States should allocate more funds to preventive diplomacy that can also be directed toward the set-up of small preventive diplomacy teams in the regional centers; toward reinforcing early warning capacities, ensuring a smooth transition from early warning to early action. Closer cooperation between development agencies, humanitarian and human rights agencies should be ensured both in the field and at the headquarters level.

We believe that the Security Council should further strengthen its relationship with the Peacebuilding Commission, which is uniquely poised to mobilize coordinated support for peacebuilding priorities and development plans, as well as with the General Assembly, ECOSOC, the International Court of Justice. However, we need more commitment and more unity from the SC.

We also believe that the UN should be able to count on the fundamental contribution of regional organizations, since they are in the best position to detect early warning signals and deploy preventive tools before tensions escalate. Italy has placed conflict prevention and conflict resolution consistently also at the core of its membership in the OSCE. The latter’s contribution to conflict prevention, as a regional organization under Chapter VIII of the Charter, fully aligns with the concept of a comprehensive approach to peace, recognizing security, development and human rights as indivisible components of a stable, prosperous and diverse society. This is the idea at the core of the Secretary-General’s vision of a reformed UN.

We cannot over-estimate the role of civil society in promoting resilient societies and preventing tensions from escalating. We stress, once again, the importance of a full implementation of the WPS Agenda. For Italy, women’s participation is crucial to guaranteeing inclusivity. In this respect, the launch in 2017 of the Mediterranean Women Mediators Network responds to the pressing need to foster women’s participation in a region that is key for global peace and stability. Religious leaders and NGOs also play an essential role in preventing escalation of tensions and in fostering the prospects for peace and promoting dialogue and reconciliation. A notable example is the support provided by the organization “Comunità di Sant’Egidio” to the Central African Republic peace process. The work of the Italian NGO “Rondine Cittadella della Pace” is another testimony of the important contribution that the so-called “second-track diplomacy” can bring to conflict prevention, education to peace, and the promotion of human rights.

We are currently members of three Country Configurations of the Peacebuilding Commission, and we are a top contributor to the Peacebuilding Fund. The need to ensure predictable and sustainable financing to Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace is clear; we are; therefore, keen to cooperate in order to identify ways to fulfil such need.

Thank you very much.