NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 1 – A briefing by the Un High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi will open tomorrow the month of the Italian rotating presidency of the Security Council, the Italian Permanent Representative and current President of the council announced today during a press conference. Migrations, human trafficking and security in the Mediterranean, Libya, and the protection of cultural heritage are the priorities of the Italian agenda. “We are trying to bring the Italian sensibility to a series of important issues, whose ramifications are in the interest of everybody: not just of Italy and Europe but of the rest of the world”, Cardi said referring in particular to the “horrific terroristic attack” yesterday in Manhattan.
The unity of the council will be the other recurring theme of the Italian presidency: “Unity is a sign of strength. A divided Council is weak”, Cardi said. Tomorrow debate with Filippo Grandi will be chaired by Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Enzo Amendola: “It’s very important as it is the first time that a Refugee High Commissioner address the Council after Antonio Guterres eight years ago”, the Ambassador noted.
At the end of 2016, the number of forcibly displaced people in the world stood at 65.6 million. This continued the upward trend of the previous five years. So far in 2017 more than two million people have fled their countries as refugees. The character and dimensions of today’s refugee crises are inextricably linked to the manner in which armed conflicts and other situations of violence have increased in number and deepened in complexity over the last decade. The Council can be a pivotal partner in the search for solutions to the plight of refugees, the displaced, returnees and stateless persons.
After the meeting, Under Secretary Amendola and High Commissioner Grandi will meet the press at the Security Council stake out.
A meeting on Libya, chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Angelino Alfano, is on the agenda for Novembre 16: the Special Envoy for the troubled African country Ghassan Salame’ will brief. Alfano will also preside an open session on security in Mediterranean the following day. An open debate on human trafficking has been scheduled on November 21: “On our recent visit in the Sahel we could see first hand that arms, drugs and persons trafficking is a growing concern for the countries of the region”.
Among the other issues on the agenda, Syria will be debated on November 27 with a briefing of the Special UN Envoy Staffan de Mistura, followed on the 29 by a briefing on the humanitarian situation. On November 15 the mandate of the joint mechanism UN-OPCW to investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria will expire: Cardi stressed the importance of its timely renewal.
The month will end with a meeting on the protection of cultural heritage: Italy, which has joined UNESCO in the task force Unite4Heritage hopes to be able to adopt a “follow up product” of last year’s resolution which included a cultural dimensions on every peacekeeping operation. (@OnuItalia)