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UN: Ministerial at the Farnesina – we’re working for a more open and democratic Security Council

Italy has been working for over two years for a United Nations Security Council that is “more open to democratic criteria and with more space for smaller countries”. The point was underscored by Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi at the end of a ministerial at the Farnesina on Security Council reform, which was attended by over 60 delegations.

An enhanced regional dimension and more space for smaller countries

Italy’s campaign, as part of the “United for Consensus” movement, is based on enhancing the regional dimension, with seats for a longer period for some regions. These would be open to countries of a given size and level of international responsibility. But smaller countries’ right to be represented on the Council on a more frequent basis should also be recognised”, said Terzi.

Several new ideas emerged from the meeting. For example, the Libyan foreign minister’s proposal of promoting panels of highly authoritative experts to prepare discussions in the Council on cases that otherwise would risk paralysing its proceedings. Syria is a case in point, explained Terzi, noting that the UN has not yet managed to adopt “measures to protect the population or implement humanitarian initiatives”.

Failure to act has a political cost

As Terzi pointed out, “the UN has shown that it can act most effectively as a guarantor of peace and stability”, as shown by the positive outcome of the missions in Timor-Leste, Lebanon and Somalia. And, most recently, the “framework of legality” that has made it possible for the international community to intervene in Mali “to address the threat of terrorism and organised crime”. At the same time, he added, “we note with concern that the Security Council’s failure to act in the face of the dramatic events of the Syrian crisis and its tragic humanitarian consequences involves a high political cost for the UN, in terms of its credibility and ability to perform its mandate effectively”.

Minister Terzi underscored that, thanks to the UN, “important progress has been achieved at the international level since the end of the Second World War. A framework of provisions on fundamental questions such as the protection of human rights, the rule of law and the promotion of sustainable development has been put in place. And it is thanks to the work of the UN that a basic principal of humanitarian law has been established: “the responsibility of states and the international community to protect civilian populations that are victims of serious, persistent and systematic human rights violations”.

Italy plays a leading role in protecting Human Rights

“Italy”, added Minister Terzi, “has always played a leading role in this common endeavour to uphold the principles of humanity and legality. I am thinking here of our work on issues such as religious freedom, the abolition of the death penalty, or the creation and strengthening of spheres of international jurisdiction. A prime example of our commitment was seen in 1998 when Rome hosted the conference establishing the International Criminal Court”.