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UNGA74: Conte, “Inclusive humanism is path for effective multilateralism”

NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 25 – Climate change, armed conflicts, human rights, inequalities and trade disputes, the fight against poverty, quality education as a source of personal and social opportunity, and action for the protection of the environment. All these themes are held together by the common thread of inclusion, with a human individual at the center of the political action of this organization and of every member state”, the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in his address to the 74th General Assembly on Tuesday in New York calling for “an inclusive humanism” which recognizes the equal dignity of each individual as a crucial tool towards an effective multilateralism.

Conte spoke in Italian. Following is the transcript of the English translation provided by the United Nations.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the ministerial week places us before a major challenge: to believe and to invest in multilateralism and in the irreplaceable role of the United Nations. A few months ago the Secretary General used an expression, “a world of trouble”, to explain the depths and complexities of the challenges before us. Climate change, armed conflicts, human rights, inequalities and trade disputes. Our debate has themes of great significance: the fight against poverty, quality education as a source of personal and social opportunity, and action for the protection of the environment. These themes are held together by the common thread of inclusion, with a human individual at the center of the political action of this organization and of every member state. An “inclusive humanism”, expression I love to refer to, which recognized the equal dignity of each individual, which is a real achievement of modernity. Italy openly invokes an effective multilateralism, because only collective and coordinated action can help us face the multiple challenges before us. We need a multilateral concept based on cooperation, transparency and the principle of equality between states, aimed at correcting the dysfunctional aspects of globalization. But the inspiring source, the polar star that must guide this multilateralism, is respect for the human person, starting with the recognition of his or her dignity, personal and social. Without this foundation, multilateralism becomes a mere technique, which can be useful but cannot expect to guide solid choice and values.

This humanism distinguishes the government that I lead. Our objective is to guide a truly human democracy. At times we see our democratic institutions as based only on relations of majorities and minorities, forgetting that the formulas behind these numbers are based on relationships between human beings. If we can recognize this, then our systems of government will conserve a human face, and will not risk fading into authoritarianism. These are the principals, together with those which are fundamental and carved into our constitution, which we have at our heart when we imagine the society of tomorrow. In Italy inaugurated a new reform seasons, which seeks to create a sustainable future for all those that will come after us. A project that is centered on solutions that will improve the life of citizens and will answer to the needs that fail our society. A path that is strengthened thanks to certain measures of social inclusion, of support, which we have already adopted and will continue to carry forwards and enact with the greatest determination.

Turning our gaze to an international context, our targets to address the deep causes that trigger destabilization processes must be ambitious. Today, four years after the adoption of the 2030 agenda, we need to accelerate and intensify action towards the achievement of the SDGs, zeroing in on most effective mid to long term policies. Italy is committed concretely to the achievement of the SDGs. We express this commitment in our private sector, through our leading entreprises, and through our cicivil society, strong in its traditional awareness, capacity for mobilization and proactive stance on these issues. The Italian government, which has just recently been installed, has as one of its priorities giving life to a Green New Deal, to orientate the whole productive citizens towards sustainable development and to incentivize behaviors that are socially responsabile. With regards to climate change, we agree wholeheartedly for the urgent need for global action to meet this challenge, as echoed in yesterday’s Climate Action Summit. Just now we have received news of a glacier on the Italian side of Monte Bianco: the highest mountain, the most majestic one in the alps, has a glacier which risks collapsing. This is an alarm which we cannot be indifferent to, in the illusion that it does not regard me, you, that it is something far in time and space. Instead, it should shake us and mobilize us. This is why we will continue to follow and encourage the activism of our young people -a few of whom I met last March in Rome- because we recognize the disproportionate impact of climate change on future generations. The Paris Agreement is a crucial starting point, but we must be aware of the moral and political duty to deliver to our children a planet that is in the best possible health. Italy, due also to its primacy in the renewable energy sector, is a leader in the fight against climate change. Italy has already achieved the EU goals of reducing emissions by 2020, and by the end of next year we will draft a climate neutrality strategy by 2050. We will not fail to make our contribution to the Chilean presidency of COP25, and are particularly pleased with the partnership we have formed with the United Kingdom for COP26. Italy will host preparatory meetings and significant events, including one dedicated to young people. We are aware, however, that all of this is not enough and cannot be enough, we need to pursue a radical change especially in our cultural model. This is why we wish to insert the protection of the environment, biodiversity and sustainable development directly into the fundamental principles of the Italian constitution. I am speaking of the foundation of our social pact, pledging there a new concept, the relationship between us and the planet, between us and future generations. It means abandoning the logic of ownership which leads us to believe we own all of this, when in truth we have received it in guardianship in order to entrust it to the generation to come.

The other great challenge that is testing the international community is today’s unprecedented level of immigration. With respect for national sovereignty, this phenomena requires burden and responsibility sharing among all countries, wether countries of origin, transit or destination. An objective that we are approaching and that will become concrete in these days, through an automatic  mechanism of redistribution of migrants to various European countries. We are objectively close to a turning point. We are transitioning from an emergency phase to a structural one, based upon partnership between states. Migration, we all know, has deep causes that make it necessary to take immediate actions, together with mid to long term visions. All these efforts must work towards operating these deep causes. At the same time, we must not be too flexible in building a system for the rigorous and effective repatriation of illegal immigrants. Italy has never failed to do its part. We continue to be involved in problems of resettlement, humanitarian corridors, and emergency evacuations. But Italy is no longer alone, Europe finally has the occasion to do its part, without further urging. Mr.President, at the international level Italy is dedicated to firm and decisive action in the field of the promotion of human rights, based on the principles of the universality, indivisibility and interdependence of fundamental rights and freedoms, which must be recognized and guaranteed to every individual without distinction, without compromises.

I greatly appreciated the initiative promoted yesterday by President Trump on religious freedom, a theme to which Italy has been long committed to. As a member of the Human Rights Council of the UN for the 2019-2021 triennium, Italy’s action is inspired by the moto “human rights for peace”. We contribute with pride to UN peacekeeping, providing our best forces and best technology. The prevention of conflict should be the political priority for each of us, and of course of the UN which was build to save future generations from the surge of war. We must make more systematic recourse, from the first signs of a crisis, to the tools of peaceful settlement of disputes which we have at our disposal, starting with mediation and involving in this effort every sector of society, including women and young people. We promote mediation initiatives also through our support for the network of  Mediterranean Women Mediators, which we launched on 2017. I would furthermore like to recall an Italian initiative, conceived in a small neighborhood of Tuscany, called Rondine. For more than 30 years, hundred of young people coming from countries in conflict have been invited to live together in this community and experience an everyday dialogue, becoming in fact, day after day, peace messengers.

Above all, in the greater Mediterranean we support the need to work on political solutions. One of Italy’s strategic priorities is to advance UN stabilization efforts, to ensure conditions favorable to the development of a region to which our own security and prosperity are closely tied to. Almost nine years since the fall of Gaddafi, the Libyan nation still has not had the possibility of living in peace and prosperity. For the international community the time has come to renew its commitment to a peaceful, united, independent and democratic Libya. Reaching a credile ceasefire is only a first urgent and necessary step to restarting an inclusive political dialogue among all the Libyan parties, which is the only available instrument for achieving a lasting solution. This is why its crucial that all members of the UN conform to the obligation to respect and implement the arms embargo on Libya, thereby preventing a further escalation in a conflict. A lasting solution will also entail a reasonable compromise that can guarantee the equitable distribution and use of the riches of Libya to the benefits of the whole Libyan nation. Following the Palermo Conference, Italy continues to push for cohesive action from the international community. This is the direction of the initiatives we are developing, together with France, Germany and other partners, also in preparation for an international conference by us hosted on Libya. I wish to express Italy’s appreciation for the work done in Libya by all the branches of the UN and in particular by the organizations that have worked to assist vulnerable migrants and refugees. Nevertheless, on the basis of our knowledge on the ground, I hope they will have a greater and more incisive presence.

Mr.President, Italy is aware of the challenges also on the African continent. We wish to play a high profile role on the bilateral level. This also why I have made many visits to Africa, thereby confirming our attention to this part of the world. We hope to foster greater involvement of this region with the EU, aware of the importance of coordinate action between Europe an Africa. We want a new partnership based on equality. We already have a pilot in the country, aimed at promoting socio economic development, which will involve different EU countries an excellent Italian agency of the energy sector. The Mediterranean vocation of Italy entails obviously a strong commitment to address the crisis in the Sahel. At the same time we cannot forget the strategic significance of the Horn of Africa. We have a new process of change that we met support, it is very important to remark on the reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and the promising birth of a transitional government with civilian leadership in Sudan.

As a founding member of the EU, and as s NATO member, Italy is following with concern the gradually splintering instruments that for decades have contributed to strategic stability in the world. We have had various successes but we must also continue in the fight against terrorism. With respect for constitutions and other’s opinions,  we must adopt all the instruments necessary to prevent the spread of hatred. Also through words, which are not just thin air. They have a weight and a great one.

Italy also intends to relaunch a national and European action in the Western Balkans, consistent with the traditional role played in the stabilization of the region. There are growing new threats to the international security, which demand a multilateral commitment to disarmament and non proliferation. Italy is promoting universal adherence to the full implementation of nuclear, biological and chemical non proliferation. The joint comprehension plan of action with Iran continues to represent a key element of the global non proliferation architecture. We therefore appeal to Iran to return to full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA: it is an interest of the whole international community, along with keeping open the necessary channels of dialogue with Tehran. Another common goal should be lowering the tension in the Gulf region, where there is a strong risk of escalation. We believe that it’s a collective, not only an Italian, interest to assure freedom of navigation, considering its major impact on the global economy.

Mr.President, the UN and the principles that inspire the Charter are the only point of reference today that can lead humanity’s response to the more complex challenges that the international community is facing. Ee must all commit to guaranteeing that the organization can fulfill its mandate. Among the plan for reform, we support wth special conviction the Secretary General’s commitment to the empowering of women and girls, and the achievement of gender equality, also as instruments for strengthening the effectiveness of the organization. In the program of my government we underline the clear goal of pursing gender equality. We cannot allow an have injustice like this one, where women doing the same work as men are paid less. We must converge our efforts also on the process of reforming the Security Council, to make it more democratic, effective, and representative of the entire UN membership.

In conclusion: Mr.President, Ladies and Gentleman, Delegates, there are may challenges that we are called upon to face as political leaders. We can be successful if we act with determination, courage, vision. But only if we do not make the mistake of acting, seeking a short term consensus. We must know how to imagine a vision for the future, and must know how to build it, in order to leave it to our children and grandchildren. Their voice is growing louder every day, the duty of governments is to listen to that voice and translate it into concrete actions. (Transcript by Scintilla Benevolo@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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