Guterres in Italy: Cop26, Libya, human rights, refugees and EU on the agenda

Guterres e Conte

ROME, DECEMBER 18 – Shifting balances of power are triggering “new and dangerous risks”, the UN chief told the Italian Senate in Rome on Wednesday, pointing to the need for more coordinated international responses, focused on solutions.

Against the backdrop of asymmetric conflicts between States and non-State groups and a renewed threat of nuclear proliferation, Secretary-General António Guterres maintained that “prevention is more essential than ever”, and the only path to stability lies in “more multilateralism”.

The UN Chief told politicians in the Italian capital that 5 widening fault lines threaten the well-being of all: failure of global solidarity, disconnect between people and planet, growing economic gaps, growing technological divide, and geostrategic fractures. 

Addressing migrations, Guterres stated that “European Mediterranean countries that receive refugees and migrants like Greece and Italy are entitled to solidarity and support from their European partners. Unfortunately until now, we have not seen that solidarity and support fully materialized”. The Secretary General showed his appreciations for Italy’s humanitarian efforts, adding however that “Above all, we need collective responses”. Guterres, who yesterday opened the Global Forum for Refugees in Geneva, commended “the openness, care and compassion the Italians have shown towards tens of thousands of refugees who have arrived on your shores in recent years”. “It is deeply troubling – he added – that refugees and migrants continue to die as they cross seas and deserts. We must do everything we can to prevent it, by taking action in countries of origin, transit countries and countries of destination”.

Guterres’ trip is taking place after the failure of Cop25 in Madrid on climate, a failure for which the Secretary General, in an interview, declared himself very disappointed. “The international community missed an opportunity to show increased ambition in mitigation, adaptation and finance in order to be able to tackle the climate crisis. But as I also said, we will not give up… The science is clear: we must reduce greenhouse emissions by 45 per cent by 2030; achieve carbon neutrality by 2050; and limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century”. The UN chief expressed hist support to Italy’s role in co-organizing Cop26 and his “confidence in the Italian leadership”.

Guterres met today the President of the Italian Republic, Sergio Mattarella, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Luigi di Maio, who just came back from Libya. Today he met with a delegation of the Community of Sant’Egidio, the lay Catholic NGO who is co-sponsoring the “humanitarian corridors” initiative and is a key player in crucial mediations for peace in Africa.

With Di Maio, Guterres will be in Brindisi to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the UN Global Service Center, the United Nations base of logistical operations. There the Secretary General will speak about the need to a deeper commitment to multilateralism and international solidarity.

Guterres will meet Pope Francesco on Friday, who he personally admires for his efforts in combatting hate and promoting peace.(SB@OnuItalia)