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Excellencies, colleagues, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first thank you warmly for your participation this afternoon in this very important discussion for the advancement of the UN agenda on two major topics such as Women, Peace and Security and the Sustainable Development Goals.

I am grateful to Namibia, Kenya, Spain, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates and to all colleagues present today for their cooperation and support. Special thanks to UN WOMEN and to the Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Ms. Cristina Gallach for having accepted to moderate the discussion and to the panelists for stimulating a debate which I am sure will be very fruitful.

In a time of persisting instability and when violence against women is increasingly used in warfare, cooperative action for peace, security and development is urgently needed. The United Nations must be at the forefront in addressing mounting challenges. Seventy years ago, the UN Charter established the founding pillars of the UN system: peace and security, human rights, and development. Former Secretary-General Kofi Annan argued that “we will not enjoy development without security; we will not enjoy security without development; and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights”.

Women are the answer across the board in ensuring that our ambitions for a peaceful, prosperous and just world are effectively achieved. Equal access and full participation of women in decision-making processes and in efforts aimed at prevention and conflict resolution are essential not only in preserving and promoting peace and security, but also to ensuring sustainable development.

Women and girls play a crucial role in reconstruction: they represent a cornerstone of families and communities, as they invest up to 90% of their income on family’s needs – compared to men who reinvest only 30-40%. They offer different perspectives on political, economic and social life, as well as on the future of their community and their country. Women are primary actors in reconciliation: we need to move “from victimhood to empowerment”.

It is our belief that the High-Level Review on Women, Peace and Security that will take place in October – in close connection with the two other review processes on peace operations and the peacebuilding architecture – must be seen through the prism of the Sustainable Development Goals. Italy looks forward to participating in the discussions which will take place shortly on the findings of the Global Study on the implementation of UNSCR 1325 have recently be disclosed. We very much agree on the need to fully integrate the gender issue in strategic thinking and planning; cosmetic “add ups” will not meet the challenge, this should be clear by now.

The key word here is empowerment: economically empowered women can contribute much more effectively to sustainable development, and to sustainable peace and security – two mutually reinforcing conditions. Their education and their economic empowerment are therefore both a tool and a goal.

In such a perspective, I would like to underline the twin-track approach that has always characterized Italy’s intervention in the field of capacity building and economic development. Consistently with this approach, our interventions in Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia and Sudan foresee parallel actions concerning Gender-Based Violence, access to justice and economic empowerment. Let me just mention that Italy has recently approved its second National Action Plan for the implementation of the UNSCR 1325, as a further demonstration of our strong commitment in integrating the gender dimension in crisis management and recovery actions.

I believe that the discussions in the next weeks on both the Women Peace and Security Review agenda and the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, will also inspire new thinking on the interactions and possible synergies between the Security Council and the General Assembly, respectively responsible for the implementation of the “Women, Peace and Security” Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

We all hope that the two central bodies of the United Nations will work close together and allow real and coherent progress on all three pillars.

In all huge endeavors, the most important thing is to identify clearly our goal and to show that we are serious about it. Undoubtedly, in post conflict areas, women are particularly fragile, but their contribution has an immense value as they look to the future, caring for their children and families. We need a renewed political commitment to allow them to be part of peace consolidation, reconstruction and development mechanisms. This is the challenge we need to take on our shoulders without further delays.