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DFM Della Vedova at the UN: role of Italy stands out in two days of meetings

NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 23 – From the Italian commitment to participate to the UNIFIL Maritime Task Force, to the strengthening of the UN base in Brindisi, “which is now considered strategic from the logistic point of view, but not just that”; from the return to the Human Rights Council, “postponed by a year or two, to allow the return of the United States” during the last elections, to Italy’s determination to contribute to UN’s open positions, for example in the field of technological innovation and artificial intelligence: these are some of the points touched upon during the intense visit that theDeputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Benedetto Della Vedova made on Monday and Tuesday to the United Nations: a dense agenda which allowed him to emphasize the role of Italy in the multilateral system.

Della Vedova himself assessed his meetings during a press conference at the headquarters of the Italian Mission to the UN. The elections in Libya after the resignation of the UN envoy Jan Kubis, announced a few hours before, the humanitarian emergency in Afghanistan, and the crisis on the border between Belarus and Poland were the dominant issues. Kubis’ resignation “were planned, his term would have been expired by January in any case and the commitment of the United Nations to support the electoral process, which we support, will not be affected”, said the Deputy Minister, warning that “a positive result is not guaranteed. It is not enough to have called elections to be sure that they will allow a safe transition to stability”.

As for Belarus, just as he had done addressing the General Assembly (although without directly referring to anyone) during a debate on the Global Plan of Action against trafficking in persons, Della Vedova spoke of “cynical operations made up by using people coming from theaters of conflict or post-conflicts, such as Syria or Iraq, as means of diversion and pressure from the Lukashenko regime. Europe and Poland must not fall into this provocation”, while it is necessary to be aware that “policies of walls and barbed wires are not in the best interest of the EU”.

A meeting with Virginia Gamba, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for children involved in armed conflicts, was the first of the visit. “The issue of age is crucial, there are countries where 12 years old children are considered as adults, and this makes it difficult to prevent recruitment or forced marriages and other situations of exploitation”, said Della Vedova. Referring in particular to Libya, Italy is ready to use its academic facilities to build a reliable database to support the implementation of policies aimed at safeguarding the rights of minors.

Regarding the Brindisi base, Della Vedova spoke to Atul Khare, Undersecretary General for logistic operations. Among the topics discussed, the assessment of the environmental impact of peace operations, for which the Undersecretary reiterated the commitment of Italy, not only to Khare but also to Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, announced that Italy is ready to offer an Italian frigate to take place of the Indonesian vessel which next year will leave the naval task force of UNIFIL, the peacekeeping mission in South Lebanon to which Italy already contributes with a thousand troops.

With the co-chairs of the UN Group for the Rights of the LGBTQI people, Della Vedova spoke of the possibility of establishing in New York a similar figure to that already existing in Geneva, and recalled the recent appointment of Fabrizio Petri as the first special envoy of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a subject discussed also with Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ilze Brands Kheris.

Undersecretary General Mohammed in turn expressed appreciation for the leadership exercised by Italy both at the G20 and the COP26. Italy – said Della Vedova – is committed to make the Youth4Climate event on a yearly basis, next year in preparation for the COP organised by Egypt. Finally, Della Vedova met with Chief of Staff of Secretary-General Guterres, Maria Luiza Viotti, to whom he pointed out the Italian will to contribute to top positions that would open in the UN: among these, according to Politico Europe, the position of special envoy for technologies, recently vacated by Chilean Fabrizio Hochschild following allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment made by current and former staff members. The nomination process will “start in days”, said sources of Politico. According to statements attributed to Guterres, the new envoy “will have to be both a scientist and a politician”.  In the meanwhile, pending the new appointment, the role of interim envoy is held by Italian Maria Francesca Spatolisano, current assistant secretary-general for inter-agency affairs at UNDESA. (@giorgiodelgallo)

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

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