Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Vincenzo Amendola, is on his second day in New York, where he is staying to attend several meetings at the United Nations.
The first meeting of the day was at the Security Council – on which Italy sits as a non-permanent member this year – and concerned international peacekeeping efforts with a focus on unexploded and makeshift bombs, abandoned arms depots and anti-personnel mines left behind after the end of conflicts which seriously threaten the security and safety of local populations. Italy gave its support to the Security Council initiative promoted by the Bolivian Presidency, albeit proposing to upgrade the standards and the actions put in place. At the opening of the session Sacha Llorenti, Chair of the Security Council for the month of June and the Ambassador of Bolivia, thanked Italy for the commitment undertaken over many years in favour of mine clearance.
Mr Amendola underscored his concerns over the spreading of the threat to civilian populations and the increasing number of casualties. This trend, recalled Undersecretary Amendola, was accompanied by the tendency to reduce funding for mine clearance activities.
In appreciating the work performed by the UNMAS (United Nations Mine Action Service) and the other UN institutions, the Italian Government official said that Italy will continue to support all these efforts, also through its current chairmanship of the Group that unites the major Donor Countries for mine clearance activities worldwide.
The United Nations have included a mine clearance unit in their peacekeeping missions coordinated by the “United Nations Mine Action Service” which has been operating for twenty years. Italy is an active party to the Ottawa Convention against Anti-Personnel Mines, to the Oslo Convention on the Ban on Cluster Munitions (CCM) and to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). In 2016, the total resources allocated by Italy to the “Fund for humanitarian demining and the reclaim of areas with explosive remnants of war” amounted to more than 3 million euros. These resources were used to finance humanitarian mine clearance operations in Afghanistan, Colombia, Somalia, Sudan, Palestine and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Moreover, Italy also contributed to finance a very recent study by the UNDP and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining entitled “Leaving no one behind: mine action and the sustainable development goals”.
Later in the morning, Mr Amendola met with the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Mali and Head of MINUSMA, Mahamat Saleh Annadif. He later attended the signing ceremony of the technical agreement between Italy and the United Nations for the financing of the mission in Mali which, on behalf of Italy, was signed by the Italian Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi.