Thank you for convening this important open debate which, in our view, is extremely timely as it follows the recent decision by the AU Summit in Kigali to operationalize the AU Peace Fund and the successful Italy-Africa Ministerial Conference held in May in Rome which launched a new pattern of dialogue and cooperation with the African Continent. Italy aligns with the statement to be delivered by the European Union and wishes to add the following remarks in a national capacity.
As a member of the Peacebuilding Commission Italy fully supports the new concept of sustaining peace and the need to invest in the Commission’s work to ensure sustainable funding. This year we have re-started financing the Peace Building Fund and have committed to increasing our development aid. In the year of sustainability, the new concept of sustaining peace - encompassing all cycles of conflict - is key to long term, stable and durable peace, particularly in Africa, a Continent still hosting the vast majority of UN peacekeepers and at the center of UN peacebuilding efforts.
For these reasons, we proposed in Rome a “Sustainability Compact” between Italy and Africa. Sustainability of peace and security, first and foremost, to avoid conflicts and relapse into conflicts and to achieve the goal of a “conflict-free Africa”. Secondly, socio-economic sustainability to seize the immense opportunities the Continent provides. Thirdly, sustainability in managing migration building upon the Migration Compact Italy has proposed to the European Union to promote a strategic approach along with the African and European partners.
As an incoming SC member, we will take advantage of the recommendations contained in the concept note and in the presidential statement just adopted, working closely on this issues with the Netherlands in light of the agreement to split the 2017/2018 mandate to ensure continuity of action. Allow me to focus on few points.
First of all, ownership which is the pillar of peacebuilding activities in Africa as elsewhere, by actively involving all relevant national stakeholders in a responsible and inclusive way.
My second point is on partnerships and on the UN acting as an enabler for peace to facilitate the necessary political, economic and financial support for the implementation of peace building strategies. In this context, the role of the African Union and of sub regional organizations is crucial. Let me also refer to the PBC Country Configurations and the visit by the Chairs to the relevant countries. It is a concrete example of working in partnerships towards common goals.
My third point is on promoting a culture of prevention and strengthening the capacity of local actors to play a leading role in mediation. Italy has been consistently supporting the African Union to build up its capacities in this respect. The inclusion of women, young persons and moderate religious leaders is essential to build solid ground for longstanding reconciliation and a common vision of the future in post crisis countries.
My fourth point is on implementing the 2030 Agenda and on fine-tuning it with the African Agenda 2063, as they are to be considered as integrated agendas to better secure economic, social and environmental development against potential relapses into conflict. Implementing the 2030 Agenda is the best tool at our disposal to address the root causes of conflicts and instability by taking full advantage of the link the Agenda creates between development and peace, human rights and particularly gender equality, governance and accountability. In light of the integrated approach proposed by the 2030 Agenda, a reflection is needed on strengthening the nexus between sustaining peace and development via SDG 16 which promotes peaceful and stable societies based on transparent and participative institutions and the protection of Human Rights and of the Rule of Law.
This is how the Italian Development Cooperation is operating in Africa, contributing to the improvement of living conditions and to remove the root causes of conflicts. Under Agenda 2030 and Agenda 2063, the Italian Development Cooperation will continue to focus its efforts on priority sectors such as: creation of economic opportunities and employment, especially for youth and women, through training and support to private sector; improvement of food security and nutrition, of health care, education and basic services; support to environmental sustainability; gender equality and women empowerment which are principles cutting across all our initiatives.
My final point is on capacity and institution building which are key to sustaining peace. Stable and functioning institutions are the best way to avoid relapse into conflict as they allow, inter alia, to provide citizens with the necessary services and create the proper environment for business opportunities. In this context, I wish to recall the training offered by the Italian Custom Police to customs and border control officers of several African countries to strengthen their capacity in such a crucial sector.
I thank you.