The UN General Assembly has just concluded a full week of meetings, proposals and initiatives. Italy’s contribution to the themes on agenda, in addition to the two emergencies – the fight against terrorism and the threats of ISIS and the Ebola virus –included participation in high-level meetings, such as that of Premier Matteo Renzi, accompanied by Minister Federica Mogherini with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The fight against terrorism
Italy is a member of the coalition engaged in the fight against terrorism, in accordance with the principles of the UN Charter and the procedures of the Italian parliament. This commitment goes hand in hand with the diplomacy of dialogue that, for the Italian government, remains the only route to a stabile solution to the crisis. According to Minister Mogherini, who met with her Iranian opposite number Javad Zarif in the UNGA margins, Iran has the potential to play an important role, and agreement on its nuclear programme would facilitate relations with the countries that have joined the fight against ISIS.
The Libyan “front”
The Libyan crisis was the focus of two of Minister Mogherini’s meetings in the margins of the UNGA. The UN S-G’s special envoy Bernardino Leon laid out a sort of diplomatic road map that begins with a 29 September meeting on the launch of peace talks between the parties to the conflict. The path of dialogue, which Italy considers the only feasible one, is the focus of a UN that has the consensus of Italy as well as France, Spain, Germany, the UK, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the EU. Consensus that can be translated into the common conviction that there is no military solution to the Libyan crisis but that an immediate ceasefire is essential. And that – according to what Minister Mogherini has repeatedly pointed out – it is necessary that dialogue in Libya depart from the presupposition that “this past May’s elections produced legitimate authorities” and that this legitimacy must be “balanced by inclusiveness”. Italy “is more than ready”, the minister asserted, to do its part in stabilising the situation, as demonstrated by the fact that the Italian embassy has remained open, also as a way of ensuring support to UN efforts.
Italy participates fully in UN efforts to counter the Ebola epidemic. After over 200,000 EUR already disbursed in April to the WHO for activities in Guinea Conakry, the Italian Cooperation launched a new series of interventions for a total value of nearly 1.5 million EUR. The programme calls for a multilateral contribution to the WHO of 240,000 EUR and a bilateral emergency initiative valued at 1.2 million EUR.
This latter will go to financing the treatment, prevention and training activities being run by Italian NGOs in the region, and to sending Italian specialised medical staff from Rome’s Spallanzani hospital, a centre of excellence in the treatment of infectious diseases that has already set up a mobile laboratory in Guinea Conakry and is about to open another in Liberia.
The topic of climate change was the focus, for the first time, of a meeting of the foreign ministers of 16 countries, which Minister Mogherini also attended.
Death penalty moratorium
Ahead of a UN General Assembly resolution on the death penalty moratorium, expected in December and long the object of numerous efforts on the part of Italy, a high-level meeting was held at the UN to further consider the debate among member states. Italy is firmly convinced that the abolition of capital punishment will contribute to strengthening human rights.
Women and food security
Italy joined forces with UN Women to organise an event on the role of women in food security. The event offered an opportunity, at a distance of 20 years from the Peking Conference, to take stock of the progress made and the challenges that remain in the promotion of gender equality. “The involvement of women is key to the development of a new framework for nearly one billion persons still living in conditions of chronic hunger”, Minister Mogherini said as she closed the conference, underscoring that the EXPO Milano 2105 theme, “Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life”, will be a “fundamental platform from which to measure specific areas in which those actions could strengthen the role of women and fill the gender gap in the production of food”. It will also be an opportunity to exchange views on best practices in terms of food security and nutrition and to pave the way to new global public-private partnerships.