NEW YORK, 31 DECEMBER – The role of the Mediterranean region, mass migrations, Libya, North Korea, climate change, human rights and protection of cultural heritage threatened by war, terrorism and natural disasters. Some of the challenges the United Nations will face in 2018 were top priority’s of Italy’s Security Council non-permanent member mandate, which expires at midnight today
The Netherlands will take the “split seat“ agreed in July 2016, on the basis of shared values, by he then Italian Foreign Affairs Minister, Paolo Gentiloni, and his Dutch colleague, Bert Koenders, after the UN General Assembly was deadlocked on which country to choose following five rounds of voting.
“It has been an extraordinary year and a big honor”, the Italian delegation wrote on Twitter at the conclusion of the seventh mandate since Italy joined the UN in 1955. “The fight against human trafficking, its connections with terrorism and organized crime, the focus on mass movement of population, violations of human rights, protection of cultural heritage threatened by traffickers and war, have been topics at the centre of our action”, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the United Nations, said in his last speech to the Security Council, outlining the work done during the past year by his team. “Going to the root cause of crises must be our priority”, Italy’s Ambassador highlighted, recalling that last November, during the month of its rotating presidency of the Council, Italy arranged a briefing focused on “the intrinsic link between peace, security, socio-economic development and human rights”.
During Italy’s month-long presidency, whose work has been prepared since January 2017, Italy’s Foreign Affairs Minister Angelino Alfano and the Undersecretary Enzo Amendola played an active role. Among the issues on the agenda, the protection of cultural heritage in war zones, for which, on Italian input, an historic resolution to protect cultural heritage (Resolution n. 2347 – “Unite4Heritage”) was adopted by the Security Council on 24 March 2017. The resolution has introduced a cultural component in each peacekeeping mission on the model of the “Blue helmets of culture” at the center of a pilot agreement of the Italian government and UNESCO.
There is one regret: despite the Italian presidency’s mediation efforts, the Security Council failed to renew the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism of the United Nations (JIM) and OPCW aimed at determining the perpetrators of chemical-weapons attacks against civilians in Syria: Russia cast its veto for three times. Another difficult dossier was the North Korea nuclear crisis, “the most dangerous threat for world peace”, according to Cardi. Italy has played its part by charing the UN Sanctions Committee monitoring and supporting the UN Security Council’s(UNSC) resolutions against the country led by Kim Jong-un.
Looking at the future, the Italian ambassador expressed his support for the UN management reform plans presented by the Secretary General Antonio Guterres, whose goals include a more effective, flexible, transparent and accountable organization. In the next year Italy will also keep an active role, supporting the Dutch delegation, as the Netherlands did during the Italian mandate with a special focus on the dossiers such as Libya, Lebanon, where over a thousand Italian peacekeepers are serving under UNIFIL mandate, to the Sahel region, where Rome will soon send troops to assist and train in curbing people-smugglers. (@Onuitalia)