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UNGA77: first in-presence since the pandemic, Massari illustrates Italy’s agenda

NEW YORK, 17 SEPTEMBER – The most intense diplomatic season of the year is about to begin at UN Headquarters in New York. “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges” is the theme of the seventy-seventh session of the General Assembly whose high-level debate, preceded by an Education Summit, will take place from 20 to 26 September for the first time in full presence since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Many Heads of state and government and foreign ministers are expected to participate” said Italy’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Maurizio Massari, in a video posted on the YouTube channel of the Permanent Mission to the United Nations, in which he illustrates next week highlights and challenges.

Ukraine (but not only that) on the top of the agenda

Ukraine will dominate the Member States agenda: “The aggression of Russia – said Massari – is a blatant violation of the principles of the UN Charter and the ruled-based international order which is in the interest and duty of member states to defend”. Ukraine will also be at the center of a specialministerial session of the Security Council on 22 September convened under the rotating presidency of France. Ukraine and the repercussions of the war on the three fronts – food security, energy and finance – will also be on the agenda of the 21 September meeting of the Global Crisis Response Group, the format established by Guterres and composed of the heads of some thirty UN agencies and financial institutions.

Among other major events, the Transforming Education Summit – Objective 4 of the 2030 Agenda – will be opened by Guterres tomorrow: “More than 90 percent of the world’s children have suffered disruptions in their education during the pandemic, with the picture further worsened by conflicts, food and energy insecurity,” said Massari: “It is about reinvigorating the commitments of governments to ensure the right to education for all and everywhere and in the most vulnerable countries”. The outcome of the summit will be summarized in final documents, starting with a “Vision Statement” of the Secretary General Guterres. Italy will be represented by the Minister of Education, Patrizio Bianchi.

The ‘Climate Moment’ and Youth4Climate

Another important high-level event chaired by Guterres in the afternoon will be the ‘Climate Moment’, whose purpose is to give impulse to the efforts of governments in view of the COP 27 of Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt. “The dramatic floods in Pakistan, which caused more than 1400 deaths, is the latest tragic proof of the risks that climate change poses to our planet. Mitigation, adaptation, climate finance are the main themes of the debate,” said the Italian Ambassador. On the climate front, the involvement of civil society and especially of young people is also important: the Youth4Climate format, designed by Italy for the Pre-COP 26 in Milan, has become a permanent platform, and for the first time this year it will be held in New York in collaboration with UNDP and the participation of about 150 youths from around the world.

Health and food security

Two other global issues discussed in side-events are health and food safety. “The right to health is another central goal of the 2030 Agenda. One event is planned for September 21 is the Replenishment of the Global Fund on HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Its aim is to encourage States to ramp up their pledges up to 18 billion dollars”, said Massari. There will also be a ministerial event on COVID, organized by the United States on September 23. Italy, which hosts the UN agro-food hub in Rome, is particularly committed to the topic of food security and has promoted the adoption of the Matera Declaration during the G20, as well as chairing the United Nations Group of Friends on Security and Nutrition. According to UN estimates – the Ambassador said – 380 million people are on serious risk of death for hunger. The September 20 event will be co-sponsored by the United States, the United Kingdom and the African Union with a selected number of stakeholders, including Italy.

Italy will organize and chair three other important meetings. One, co-organized with OCHA, the United States and the United Kingdom and Qatar on the Horn of Africa on 21 September, will face the consequences of the very serious droughts that affected Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia in a situation already worsened by escalating conflicts and violence.

Against death penalty

Another meeting will focus on the universal moratorium on the death penalty in view of the presentation – a two-year event – of a new resolution which will be discussed by the Assembly in autumn. The goal is to break the record of 123 “yes” collected in 2020 at the time of the vote: “From the first historic resolution in 2007 promoted by Italy, the progress made is indisputable. Today as many as 144 States have abolished or no longer practice the death penalty”, said Massari, noting however that the picture is “in light and shadow”: in 2021 there were 579 executions reported in the world and the real number is probably much higher.

Reform of the Security Council

Lastly, the group, chaired by Italy, Uniting for Consensus on the reform of the Security Council will meet at ministerial level. Italy and the other eleven states that make up the Group are trying to consolidate the consensus around a proposal to make the UN more effective and democratic, but also capable to respond to the growing challenges and threats to peace and security. The UfC proposal consists in an increase in the number of non-permanent members of the Council and an extension of the duration of their mandate to ensure a more inclusive geographical representation of the currently under-represented regions of Asia, Africa, Latin America and Small Island States. (@giorgiodelgallo)

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

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