NEW YORK, JANUARY 10 – With 60 years of experience working hand in hand in European institutions, Italy and the Netherlands started today their shared mandate in the UN Security Council. Ahead of an high-level open debate on sustainable peace – the first of the year – the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Angelino Alfano and Bert Koenders, visited the photo exhibit “Pillars of Cooperation” just opened at UN headquarters to focus on the common goals of both countries’ agenda for the biennium 2017-2018.
Multilateralism, climate change, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, migrations, cultural heritage, food security, sport are some of the issues that see Italy and the Netherlands on the same wavelength. Both founding members of Europe, Rome and The Hague agreed last July to join forces to give a strong message of unity in the very days when Brussels was facing the consequences of the British referendum on the United Kingdom withdrawal from the EU. Today both Koenders and Alfano spoke in the Security Council.
“Pillars of Cooperation” tells a story made of parallelisms and synergies. Many of the United Nations’ agencies are headquartered in the two countries. While Italy’s hub in Rome focuses on nutrition and food security, the Hague represents the legal center of the United Nations. Italy and the Netherlands cooperate on various fronts from active duty peacekeeping mission Minusma to partnerships between the Carabinieri and the Royal Marechausee in the Vicenza Center for Excellence for Specialized Police Unit (COESPU).
Both countries are on the front line of climate change, being surrounded by waters on almost all sides. Both are familiar with the crucial importance of our oceans for sustainable development. Cultural heritage is another field of shared interest, with enhanced cooperation initiatives with UNESCO: the Netherlands in Mali with the conservation of the manuscripts of Timbuktu, Italy with the special task force Unite4Heritage pioneering emergency interventions whenever cultural heritage is at risk. Last but not least: sport. Both the Netherlands and Italy have special soccer programs that bring communities together by building bridges between different cultures and opinions: Soccer opens doors and facilitates dialogue.
Since 1997 InterCampus (Italy) gives back the right to ply to thousands of needy children using the values of sport and the game as an educational tool. In the Netherlands, the Cruyff Foundation and KNVB World Coached have national and international programs to give children the opportunity to play helping them to delevoo and take part in society. (@alebal)