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Sustainable Development


Sustainable Development

Italy has been a staunch supporter of the United Nations action to promote development since first joining the Organization. This reflects our strong belief in multi-lateralism – a constant feature of Italy’s image abroad – within the framework of the UN and the Europe, through the European Economic Community and the European Union.

The restructuring of Italy’s development cooperation responds to the need to adapt to radical changes in development policies and the subsequent transition from cooperation assistance and millennium goals to sustainable development goals. The United Nations is the most authoritative forum for discussing and spreading this new model globally, as well as for drafting principles and implementing policies.

The presence of the UN food hub in Rome has created the ideal connection between the UN and Italy, facilitating communication and mutual enrichment in terms of proposals and good practices. The centers of Turin (“Staff College”) and Brindisi (logistics base for humanitarian intervention) have helped further strengthen our ties with the United Nations System. From the G8 Summits to the organization of “Expo Milano 2015,” the United Nations’ presence has served as a catalyst in the creation of innovative proposals, including the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative (AFSI), the food security initiative adopted by the 2009 G8 L’Aquila Summit; and the Milan Charter, which aims to present the legacy of “Expo Milano 2015” to future generations, establishing the principles for achieving sustainable development goals in food security and nutrition.

Italy is focused on pursuing the Millennium Goals, especially the fight against poverty and the safeguarding of health and the environment in the framework of sustainable development. Italy is actively committed to shaping a sustainable development agenda for the 2016-2030 period, when the Sustainable Developments Goals will replace the Millennium Goals. The Sixtieth Anniversary of Italy’s membership in the United Nations coincides with a year in which there will be three summits of vital importance for the future of humanity: the Addis Ababa Summit on sources of development financing; the New York Summit, which will adopt the future agenda for sustainable development; and the Paris Summit on combatting climate change.

A mainstay of Italy’s position is its support for an integrated approach to development policies based on the harmonization, coordination and efficacy of aid, as well as on a balanced understanding of the driving factors of development (ODA, debt sustainability, good governance, private investments, international trade tax systems, countering illegal flows of capital, and public-private partnerships). The guideposts of Italy’s action are the principles and purposes established by the Monterrey (2002) and Doha (2008) Declarations on Financing for Development.

Another salient aspect of Italy’s action is its support for the activities of United Nations Funds and Programmes (UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA, UN Women) through participation in their Executive Boards and financial contributions from Italian Development Cooperation. Our most exemplary cooperation is with UNICEF. Italy hosts in Florence the Innocenti Research Center and the UNICEF Office for Research Facilitation and Knowledge Management, and Italy is one of its major donors. In terms of private contributions, the Italian National Committee of UNICEF is the sixth in the world for funding.

Italy has long enjoyed close cooperation with the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), which is regulated by a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding of 1996, which is attested to by the presence in Rome of the sole UNDESA office located outside of New York.

Notably – because of significant linkages with economic-financial themes discussed at the UN – Italy has been directly and concretely active in seeking innovative mechanisms for development financing. Italy has developed and promoted the Advance Market Commitments initiative – to which it is also the main donor – aimed at incentivizing research by pharmaceutical companies and the sale at sustainable prices of new vaccines against endemic diseases, starting with the pneumococcus, in more vulnerable Countries. Italy is also a founding member of and the third contributor to the International Finance Facility for Immunization. Through this initiative, based on the financial pledges of donor countries, bonds are issued for the purchase of vaccines and for the support of programmes and healthcare systems in the poorest countries. Starting with the G8, Italy has also promoted the 5x5 initiative, aiming to reduce the average global cost of remittances from migrants – an objective subsequently integrated into the G20 framework, and a significant theme on the UN agenda.

At the UN the issue of development is closely linked to the broader concept of sustainable development, with its economic, social and environmental dimensions. In this area, too, Italy is committed to contributing to the debate, and to participating in the negotiations and implementation processes – in conjunction with the European Union – of the three Rio Conventions on climate change, safeguarding biodiversity, and combatting desertification. Italy has made an incisive contribution to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro (June 2012), calling for renewed international action to find models for development that pay equal attention to growth and the environment.

Because of its sensitivity to environmental issues, Italy is deeply concerned by the situation of Small Island States – whose existence is sometimes at serious risk due to climate change – and of Countries with high biodiversity, where preserving the environment reflects the collective interest of the international community. Our commitment to cooperation for the Small Island States of the Pacific, especially in the field of renewable energies, is recognized as a good practice internationally and is used as an example of Italy’s approach to sustainable development.