The principle that “development, security and human rights are interconnected and mutually reinforcing,” as indicated in the Millennium Declaration and reiterated in the draft political declaration scheduled to be adopted at the conclusion of the High-level Meeting, is central to the Italian approach to African development issues. It is also the founding vision of NEPAD.
In proposing the adoption of a Plan of Action for Africa at the Genoa G-8, later approved at Kananaskis, Italy sought to respond to the need to identify, in this broad and complex field, the priority actions for the achievement of the goal of an Africa free of conflicts, hunger and oppression. We thus understand fully well the African demand that this meeting not be yet another UN ritual exercise, destined to have no impact on reality, but that it instead mark a gear shift, sanctioning a collective commitment to targeted action on priority goals.
We will of course convey this sense of urgency also to the G-8, through our incoming Presidency of the Group. The visions and perceptions of the African leaders that emerge from this meeting will be an important legacy in view of an updating of the G-8 African Action Plan, which we wish to keep firmly anchored to the principle of African ownership. We are ready to build on your inputs.
We have taken note of the strong demand for enhanced flows of resources, although let us not forget that ODA is not the only response to Africa`s special needs. We believe that improving the quality of assistance should also be a key priority. As governance in Africa continues to advance at national and local level, assistance should become more predictable in time and less bound to conditions. This also means greater harmonization between donors to avoid useless duplication of projects and greater respect for priorities, procedures, and systems of local Governments. At the high-level forum of Accra, two weeks ago, I realized how widely these concerns are shared. After the Rome, Paris and Accra declarations, at the Doha Conference next November, we will need to make a new leap forward, defining the framework of future commitments.
The achievement of the goal of a conflict-free Africa proclaimed by the Heads of State and Government of the African Union is one of the strategic goals on which proper modalities and instruments of implementation will have to be identified, on the basis of shared priorities. Also in this area, the common denominator of the Italian contribution is, and will be, the promotion of African ownership in the maintenance of peace and security on the continent.
In advancing this priority, we should aim to a balanced strengthening of African institutional capacity in the areas of early warning, preventive diplomacy, peace keeping, peace building and post-conflict recovery and reconstruction. The implementation of the 10-year Capacity Building Plan of the African Union must be the fulcrum of a synergetic action between the UN, regional organizations such as the European Union, and Member States. This is, indeed, the philosophy behind the Italian-African Peace Facility, approved in 2006 with an initial allocation of 40 million euros.
This type of structural action must be supplemented by a political action, especially at the UN. The ownership of the African regional and sub-regional organizations on the ground should be reflected in their ownership of the decision-making processes taken in New York. Our action in the Security Council is constantly inspired by this vision, for the purpose of intensifying and structuring cooperation between the Council and the main regional stakeholders in the management of crises on the continent. The joint meeting of 8 April 2008 between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council was a historic step in this process to which we were happy to contribute.
The sustainability of the goal of a stable and secure Africa will depend, nevertheless, on our ability to tackle the root causes of instability. The fight against extreme poverty, youth unemployment, and environment degradation in Africa are our collective interest. This makes it essential for each member of the international community to contribute to the greatest extent possible and according to its own capability and sense of responsibility. We are strong supporters of effective multilateralism as a tool to mobilize a uniform commitment in which everyone should feel involved.