Italy’s Di Stefano confirms committment to enhance UN peacekeeping

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Manlio di Stefano

NEW YORK, MARCH 29 – As the first contributor of Blue Helmets in the Western Group and one of the most generous contributors to the peacekeeping budget, Italy is deeply committed to enhance the UN peacekeeping, the Italian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Manlio Di Stefano said today in his address to the 2019 Ministerial Conference on Peacekeeping.

Speaking from the podium of the General Assembly Hall, Di Stefano highlighted the decision of the Italian government to confirm the pledge of valuable units and assets to the “UN Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System. For 2019, Italy offers maneuver units, such as an Infantry battalion and a Force Protection Unit, complemented by a basket of niche skillsets and enablers, Utility Helicopters and a Landing Platform Dock ship.

“Our commitment extends well beyond the mere operative domain”, he said: “Defense Capacity Building activities play a key-role to guarantee the high-level of performance requested to the “blue helmets”. To this end, a thorough structured training system – based on a net of federated Nations’ Schools and Centers of Excellences – is required, and potentially already feasible”, while Italy has already put in place a fruitful cooperation with the UN in the educational and training sector. The Post-Conflict Operation Study Centre in Turin shares experiences and entertains cooperative relations with the UN System Staff College, in Turin.

Italy is also providing courses to military units in the Security Force Assistance field through the Security Force Assistance Branch of the Infantry School located near Rome. This complements the capacities already offered by the multinational Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units, located in Vicenza which offers a valuable support in favor of Formed Police Units for UN operations. Ne sets of courses are offered for the current year, upon bilateral request, regarding the gender perspective and the deployment of Female Engagement Teams.

Italy is also highly committed to the implementation of the “Women, Peace and Security” agenda. “In the last few years, we have been making a huge effort on integrating gender perspectives, at all levels and in all branches of our military organization. Furthermore, Italy fully supports the UN zero tolerance policy on Sexual Exploitation and Abuse through specific pre-deployment training courses, carried out by trained Legal Advisors”, said Di Stefano who met, while in New York, the Undersecretary for Peacekeeping Jean Pierre Lacroix and the Undersecretary for Field Support Atul Khare.

With Khare, as well as in the address to the General Assembly, the Undersecretary stressed Italy string commitment to promote an efficient environmental management of field operations: “Managing the footprint of peacekeeping operations, in often fragile environments, improves the safety and security of peacekeepers, of the staff of the United Nations and of the local populations we are mandated to protect, ultimately resulting in better mandate delivery”, he said. (@OnuItalia)