Excellencies, Colleagues, Mr. Secretary-General, Ladies and Gentlemen. Allow me to praise the Swedish Presidency for organising this debate. My gratitude also goes to the Secretary-General for his ambitious programme of action.
As we begin the year, I look forward to an open, productive and fruitful working relationship in the Security Council. This is Italy’s first open debate after the election to the Council. A mandate we are sharing with our Dutch partners in the best spirit of European unity and solidarity. As a Mediterranean country, Italy is bringing to the Council its natural disposition to “build bridges” across all sides. We believe that inclusivity is key to effective multilateralism and to address our common challenges. Together, in Libya and Iraq, we must spare no effort for reconciliation and supporting legitimate institutions. In Syria we need a greater investment in inclusive dialogue among all the Parties. Italy also attaches great importance to the successful outcome of the Cyprus settlement talks. I commend the brilliant efforts of the Secretary-General. Let’s not forget tensions in Africa, as in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If we truly want peace, conflict prevention and diplomacy must prevail - without question - over military solutions. We must preserve the “primacy” of political will over the “misery” of military might.
The principles and the framework to achieve this shift are already there. There is no need to re-invent them. Allow me to recall a few. Conflict prevention and the primacy of political solutions are at the heart of two crucial UN Reviews: one on the peacekeeping and peacebuilding architecture; the other on the implementation of Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security. The “Sustaining Peace” Agenda stresses the need for a holistic approach covering the pillars of security, human rights and development. The “2030 Agenda” also places great emphasis on the strong link between peace and development. What is now needed - more than ever - is a common effort to move from “vision” to “action”. Therefore, I want to stress three important objectives for our collective effort, taking full advantage of the Secretary General's peace agenda.
First, a comprehensive reform that adapts the UN peace system to the new global challenges.This reform requires an integrated approach to peace and a UN machinery “fit for the new purpose”. This might entail a revision of the Secretariat structure or a new distribution of roles and responsibilities. The Secretary General, in his functions, should not hesitate in bringing emerging crises to the Council’s attention before they escalate. The reform must also consider strengthening local ownership and partnerships with regional and sub-regional organizations, as the European Union and the African Union.
Second, we need to encourage the effective use of early warning indicators of violence, radicalisation, extremism and assaults on human rights, religion and culture. Terrorism attacks our fundamental values and spreads fears. We shall not be fearful, because people in fear are not free. Fighting terror and fear means fighting for our freedom.
Third, we must be focused on the root causes of instability. I’ll offer just a few examples as an input to the debate. Climate change is a growing root cause of conflict. We have made progress in shaping a global response, in Paris and in Marrakesh, but now it’s time to deliver. Ending Hunger and achieving Food Security is another critical area, especially for its connection to disruptive South-South and South-North migrations. Large movements of people can be both an outcome and a root cause of conflict. But, if well managed, they can become an opportunity for peace, growth and development. These issues, along with many others, are also in the programme of the Italian Presidency of the G7.
To conclude, we are determined to “build peace for tomorrow”. It’s not just the motto of our year in the Security Council, but also describes the resolve that will drive our actions. We will work to construct consensus together with you, Mr. Secretary General, our partners in the Council, and the broader membership. Thank you.