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Ladies and gentlemen,
allow me to warmly thank all the distinguished guests who are so prominently contributing to this exercise, which my colleague Minister Maroni and I consider particularly significant within the context of the Italian Presidency of the G8. A wide range of problems is occupying both yesterday’s and today’s sessions that a responsible approach to global governance cannot ignore. The primary responsibility for dealing with them lies with Governments and, in that respect, the Governments of the G8 are expected to play a significant role.
The Italian Presidency’s motivation for convening this conference was its conviction that, when considering ways and means to cope with destabilizing factors and trans-national threats, we must avail ourselves of all possible expertise, particularly that of specialized international agencies, regional organizations and individual experts. Indeed, their practical knowledge and experience provide that natural complement to official and governmental stances that underpin the soundness of our analyses and policies. Therefore, yesterday and today the Italian Presidency has essentially been in a listening mode. Our commitment now is to convey the main thrust of what is being said around this table to the appropriate G8 ministerial bodies as an aid to their deliberations.
Another distinctive feature of this meeting is that it is co-chaired by the Italian Interior and Foreign Affairs Ministers, which signals the awareness that never before have domestic and external security so clearly been two sides of the same coin. Security today is a multi-disciplinary challenge and must be addressed as such.
The post-Cold War world has proved to be a less friendly one than we had expected. We have pacified and reunified Europe, put an end to the Balkan conflict, enlarged NATO and the EU. And yet, were we to ask ourselves whether we are more secure today than we were twenty years ago, I believe that very few of us could answer yes. Just look around, and you can see many areas of instability. Trans-national and non-conventional threats are mushrooming everywhere: energy, environment, migration, the financial and food crises, to mention just a few. The international scenario is increasingly multi-faceted, with technological, economic and financial power centres having spread out widely over the last fifteen years. What we are witnessing today, in fact, is a diffusion of power. New regional, sub-regional and non-state actors have emerged and claim a role.
Today, we are challenged by creative people. Organized crime uses highly creative means, as does terrorism, and their perpetrators have become more and more elusive. Our answer, therefore, must be a creative one. Yet we are facing a global challenge that requires global analysis, global commitment and a global response. Its sophistication is unprecedented since the challenge consists of the combination of a growing number of strategic, economic, social, and even climatic factors. We discover a new element every day that further complicates the overall picture. The current world economic crisis is only the most recent one, and probably not the last. Accordingly, we need to keep perennially up to date with our policies.
Coping with these challenges is even more difficult because, as we fight those factors capable of destabilizing our countries and our environment, we have no intention of giving up the principles and values that our democratic societies are built upon.
Within this framework, allow me now to underline the main principles the international community would have to take into account in order to effectively face the new challenges.
(1) A more pro-active approach. We have been concentrating too much on reaction, when what we really need today is pro-action. In order to be successful we must, first of all, improve our capability for the timely detection and understanding of the new trends. To that end, we must further develop our analytic instruments. The international community needs to pool all its best intellectual resources in order to gain a better understanding. Decision-makers must seek out every useful input: and that is what we have been doing over these last two days. Indeed, in the past both governments and international organizations have largely failed to anticipate, for instance, the evolution of trans-national organized crime and its strategic impact. The new phenomena need to be viewed through a new set of eyes.
Piracy, for instance, which had always been seen as a pre-modern illegal activity, needs rather to be viewed today as a post-modern criminal phenomenon. In general, we were accustomed to a world where insecurity and instability originated on land, while nowadays the sea more and more often provides the theatre for destabilizing events. A form of crime that brings us back to romantic tales of pirates and treasure, masks a multi-dimensional phenomenon capable of damaging our future security; a combination of failed states, trans-national crime, and terrorist activities gives rise to the piracy plaguing the Gulf of Aden.
(2) A more coordinated approach. A second requirement for being effective consists of better operational coordination, which will ensure our timely response to the challenges. A new cancer must be removed as soon as possible, before it can expand everywhere. As I said, G8 members are capable of and must assume responsibility for playing a catalyzing role in promoting effective international action.
Counter-terrorism, for instance, is an area where coordination has borne fruit. An ad hoc declaration on this subject is to be adopted at the G8 Summit of next July. The focus will be placed, first and foremost, on combating radicalisation and recruitment, and on the need to reconcile the effective use of international counter-terrorism instruments with the necessary respect for human rights and international law.
By the same token, a more coordinated approach to non-proliferation is needed to strengthen the multilateral regime. This is the message that our G8 Presidency intends to send, not least in keeping with the new policy being shaped by President Obama. We cannot continue to deal with the challenge of proliferation on a case-by-case basis. The point of departure is that proliferation is much easier today and concerns both state and non-state actors. Nuclear terrorism is no longer an abstract threat. The implications of these developments are clear: legislation based on the NPT regime needs to be stricter, as well as the procedures for its enforcement. The NPT Conference Review (2010) could provide an opportunity to make a significant breakthrough in this regard.
(3) A more comprehensive approach. A global response to the challenges involves, inter alia, an inter-disciplinary approach that mobilizes security instruments, diplomacy, aid and financial tools in a coherent and complementary manner.
Complementarity is also needed so that the problems you have been discussing here - and which concern the entire international community - do not lead to divisions instead of unity between, for instance, the North and the South of the world. Furthermore, a systemic approach means that our battle must not be, nor appear to be, merely an institutional problem to be dealt with only by political rulers. On the contrary, the battle must involve our entire societies: all the people for the sake of all the people. Public awareness of these issues needs improving; institutions are important, of course, but their efforts can only be effective if they are supported by the civil societies.
As far as ‘comprehensive approach’ is concerned, allow me to shortly dwell on the key-issue of migration. Migration has become one of the most visible challenges posed by globalisation, and is one of the issues that concerns the Italian G8 Presidency. Italy strongly supports what is known as the “global approach” to migration launched by the European Union in 2005 and recently reaffirmed by the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum in 2008. It takes into account all the multi-dimensional aspects of the matter, with specific attention to developing countries. Migration represents an opportunity and a form of enrichment. Implicit, at the same time, is the responsibility of all parties concerned: destination countries, countries of origin and transit, and migrants themselves. Implied also are solid partnerships to effectively combat illegal immigration and trafficking in human beings, assist refugees, foster professional training for legal immigrants, reduce the impact of migration on the workforce of poor countries, facilitate a more effective use of remittances, and reduce the costs associated with such transactions, in order to free up resources for development.
(4) A more responsible and inclusive approach. A fourth element for an effective international strategy is the capacity to devise new instruments that could be useful for tackling new challenges. New partnerships are needed, and possibly new institutions as well. What is sure is that new positive - and negative - incentives are important in order to encourage constructive contributions by States and private actors. More in general, there is a need for new and effective world governance. None of the current global challenges can be successfully tackled without the close and continuing cooperation of the major emerging economies, in a spirit of shared responsibility. To summarise: today’s complex world of multiple power centres needs a broader ‘axis of responsibility’. This is also an essential prerequisite for effective multilateralism.
(5) A multidimensional approach. Finally, our actions should be inspired by a combination of hard power, soft power and “smart power”, since information and intelligence, as well as civilian aspects and institution-building, are as important in the 21st century as weapons and field strategies. Take the case of Afghanistan. Although security is the first step, the solution to the Afghan question cannot be solely a military one. In that country, we must defeat - for instance - also a trans-national threat like heroin trafficking, which is fuelling the scourge of drug addiction in several western countries. In order to be successful, the international community needs to implement a regional and multidimensional approach, target the civilian aspects of the crisis, and multiply its efforts aimed at institution–building and economic recovery.
Ladies and gentlemen,
allow me to conclude by re-emphasizing one point. Our society’s inner strength lies in its openness and in its genuine respect for freedom, in which we believe and that we intend always to defend. We must not allow terrorists and other destabilizing factors to exploit our open and inclusive way of life for their criminal purposes. Their main goal is not only to spread fear and to sow the seeds of instability, but also to undermine the basic values of our societies. Therefore, while we reiterate the fundamental importance of robust preventive and repressive actions against them, we believe that, in the long term, the most effective answer to the criminal strategies of terrorists and any other destabilizing factor remains the promotion of democracy, human rights, the rule of law and fair social conditions.