New York 28/03/2011

Intervento del Presidente Napolitano all'Assemblea Generale delle Nazioni Unite (versione inglese)

President Deiss, Secretary-General Ban,
Permanent Representatives, Ladies and Gentlemen,

E' per me un grande onore rivolgermi all'Assemblea Generale in un momento estremamente impegnativo per tutti

It is for me a great honor to address the General Assembly at an extremely challenging time for all of us.

We are witnessing significant threats to international peace and security, hotbeds of political instability, economic and financial turmoil and unprecedented natural disasters. Winds of freedom, human dignity and social justice are blowing strongly across the world. We need to uphold human rights as a foundation of political stability and sustainable growth. We need to strengthen international legitimacy and the rule of law. We need to renew our commitment to a multilateral system of international relations.
We need the United Nations.

Italy's history, geography and culture are rooted in the Mediterranean. Europe's fortunes rise and fall with the Mediterranean. We, Italians, Europeans, see ourselves as part of the Mediterranean. Seas and oceans unite peoples and destinies. Our future lies in a shared partnership with our friends in North Africa, in the Middle East, in the Gulf.

In recent weeks and months a wave of turmoil and discontent has shaken many countries in the region. People took to the street. I will not hide our concern at this turn of events. Nobody likes instability at his doorstep. Yet in some cases the stability was more fragile and precarious than it looked to be and we should have been more conscious of the possible consequences of authoritarian forms of government and of corruption in the ruling elite circles.
Instead the path toward political compromise, dialogue with civil society and democratic participation, that many governments have bravely undertaken, will result in strengthened State institutions and rule of law. Democracy will advance, rising from the inside, not imported from the outside. Firm and reliable foundations to economic growth and shared prosperity will be established.

Our Mediterranean partners and friends own their future. But they must know that they are not alone, nor isolated, nor forgotten. Italy and Europe stand ready to join forces with them and to support their efforts of political, social and economic renewal. In early March, with the Joint Communication of the European Commission on a partnership for democracy and shared prosperity with the Southern Mediterranean, the EU has put forward a more focused, innovative and far-reaching strategy, to respond to the changing landscape in the Mediterranean. "Political and economic reform", I quote, "must go hand-in-hand and help deliver political rights and freedom, accountability and participation. The EU should be ready to offer greater support to those countries ready to work on such a common agenda, but also reconsider support when countries depart from this track". This is what long-lasting stabilization is about. Its foundations are to be sought in freedom, thriving civil society, respect of human rights, democratic progress, national reconciliation and good governance.

Unfortunately none of the above was anywhere to be seen in Libya. The Libyan government rejected countless international calls, including a unanimous appeal from this Body, and responded to dissent with repression, to civilian protest with military force, in unprecedented scale.
The world could not remain idle while large casualties and massive destructions were inflicted to its own population by the Libyan leader. The responsibility to protect falls on United Nations, while chapter VII of the Charter specifically mandates the use of force to maintain international peace and security.

In Libya, we are now in the process of protecting the civilian population and enforcing the UN Charter, acting under the full international legitimacy of Security Council resolution 1973 of March 17.

In no way do we underestimate the human costs and risks of military actions. In international missions abroad Italy has paid a high price in human lives and sufferings. However, as I stated in Geneva addressing the Human Rights Council on March 4, international legal protection of human rights lies at the heart and core of the United Nations system, witness the Universal Declaration on Human Rights of 1948. It is more and more relevant to all member States - no exception. Human rights have progressively become a cornerstone of international relations. As a consequence, massive infringements of human rights make a regime illegitimate and place it out of the community of States.

This is a key concept, which is constantly gaining ground, as shown by the approval of 1973 Resolution. It does not mean exporting a specific model of democracy, but promoting and protecting fundamental civil, political and religious freedoms, as a pre-condition for the autonomous building, bottom-up, State by State, of any democratic system.

Anyhow Libya belongs to a region that is undergoing profound change, originated by common principles, principles of justice and progress, tolerance and the dignity of all human beings, as President Obama highlighted in his Cairo speech on June 2009. These values we all share. Having been recently reaffirmed by the Arab League, they have become a beacon for the transformation under way in the Mediterranean.

On March 17 we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Unification of Italy.
We are an ancient nation but a young State that became a Republic at the same time the United Nations were born.
"Twice in our lifetime the scourge of war has brought untold sorrow to mankind," reads the Preamble of the Charter. In those same years Italy embraced democracy at home and the international multilateral order in the world, as two sides of the same coin. We enthusiastically adopted multilateralism: the two cornerstones of the position of Italy in the sphere of international relations have been and are the participation in the birth and growth of the European Community and the adhesion to the Atlantic Alliance. The United Nations embody the same choice on a global scale: respect of rights and dignity of the human person and equal status of all Nations, large and small, make it a truly universal organization.

At the same time of the founding of the UN, Italy adopted its Constitution, which "Rejects war as an instrument of aggression against the freedom of other peoples and as a means of settling international disputes"; consents "On conditions of equality with other States, to the limitations of sovereignty that may be necessary to a world order assuring peace and justice among Nations"; and resolves "to encourage international organizations furthering such ends."
These ideals, embedded in the founding principles of the Republic, have inspired the international action of my country during the more than sixty years of life of the United Nations and particularly our active contribution in building up European supranational institutions.

Mr. President
In the millennium we have barely entered the United Nations are confronted with old and new challenges.
While international peace and security, human rights and sustainable development remain paramount, other conflicting issues have come to the fore. For the first time in history economic progress, fostered by international cooperation, has succeeded in defeating absolute poverty and deprivation for a significant portion of mankind. Unfortunately, since 2008, a severe financial crisis has exposed the dramatic imbalances of the international economy and finance and, following the near collapse of the banking system and the sheer necessity of bail-out, has led to an unprecedented accumulation of sovereign debt in many countries.

Finance and financial vehicles are moving fast, too fast for States to react in a convenient time.
This is not a globalization's failure; it is international economic governance's failure. For millions, such as farmers in remote regions earning a decent life thanks to better techniques of production or more adequate selling through mobile phone or Internet, globalization has been a powerful engine of growth and well-being. But, of course, also problems have globalized, to the extent where sovereign nations are no longer able to provide a national framework to solve them. Globalization of problems demands globalization of solutions.

In the economic realm, this is a world transformed from the Bretton Woods one. The gold system has gone and, with the IT revolution, a click on the computer can move unlimited quantity of money, even virtual, as a bet on future courses. Paper economy gives sometimes the impression of subjugating the real one, as much as production and work seem to be overcome by financial speculations. While financial vehicles have certainly helped credit, they have also generated an unabashed confidence in family overspending sustainability, which is one of the causes of the 2008 international crisis. Its main cause probably lies in the weakening of old regulatory authorities and in the delay, if not the reluctance, to shape new rules and consequent institutions.
It is in this direction that SG Ban Ki Moon has been tirelessly calling the United Nations to advance its agenda.

World stability is at risk also because of natural disasters, profound changes, political upheavals.

Since 2004 an unprecedented chain of tsunamis, earthquakes, floods, droughts, fires have brought about extreme pain and sorrow, claiming hundreds of thousands of human lives.

Let me take this opportunity to renew my solidarity to the Japanese people for the sufferings inflicted on them by the most devastating tsunami and my admiration for their resilience. It is time for the world community to return the generosity that Japan never failed to extend in similar hardships.
Political upheavals can be explained with the bright side of globalization which has made everyone feel a citizen of a wider world. Time is running out for regimes that hide the truth, restrict the movement of peoples, and resort to lies, bribery and biased narratives of the outside world. Time is running out for cosmetic, limited reforms. What is at stake is the relationship between the citizen and the State, the so called social contract. The world has a clear responsibility not only to help this new dawn to become a reality but also to intervene whenever dictatorship, violence and obscurity try to stem the tide. The international community has to heed the call for freedom, justice and fair opportunities coming from societies so far kept under the lid of violence and oppression.

There is no tradeoff between stability and democratic freedoms. On the contrary, they reinforce each other.
No nation can go alone. Such challenges must be met on the basis of international legitimacy. The governance of a complex and interconnected world could and should be developed in various manners, through new or reformed bodies, in order to get the maximum available effectiveness and efficiency. Still, the political and legal basis lies with the United Nations. I am aware of the on-going debate on the need for greater cooperation between the United Nations and the new forms of international governance that this General Assembly has initiated with such a constructive spirit. In this regard I wish to pay tribute to President Deiss for his determination in promoting this dialogue.

The issue of global governance goes to the heart of the United Nations. It also requires the UN to cope with significant change and diversification. New global actors have emerged on the international scene; others will follow their footsteps.
The legitimacy of the Organization is embedded in the universal principle of equality among its members of which this Assembly is the greatest expression.
The Charter was the result of a spirit of give and take, of tolerance, openness, and respect for the views and interests of others, in the spirit of dialogue, compromise and search for consensus best expressed by Mahatma Gandhi:
"But all my life through, the very insistence on truth has taught me to appreciate the beauty of compromise."
In order to strengthen the maintenance of international peace and security, any reform of the Security Council should enable the Council to be more representative, efficient and accountable to the Member States.
We need consensus, more than in any other provision of the Charter. We all share the goal of international governance, peace and security. The entire membership must be able to claim ownership of the Security Council reform.

Mr. President
Europe is in the front line of today's challenges. Last week the EU Head of Governments took significant steps toward streamlining and strengthening fiscal and monetary discipline in the Eurozone. They reaffirmed their commitment to building a partnership of security and development in the Mediterranean.

Since the beginning of the integration process Europe has been living in peace, for more than sixty years, for the first time in history. It has expanded from the original 6 to 27 Countries. It cooperates with the United Nations in the maintenance of international peace and security. It has a single currency. It has created a common space in which to trade and circulate freely.

Now, we need more Europe. With the Lisbon Treaty, the European Union had already moved forward on the path of institution strengthening and Parliamentary accountability. Current circumstances dictate more integration, including further pooling of sovereignty especially in the fiscal and monetary domain. For us Europeans this is a must: no turning back from the common currency that 17 Member States freely chose to share.

The good health of the euro is vital for the world economy. As stated by the recent European Council, we are ready willing to take all the necessary measures to that effect. The strengthening of the single currency requires more integration; in turn it will be the driving force for further progress toward a single European voice in world's affairs, namely in foreign and security policy.

Europe's choices were rooted in history, triggered by tragic mistakes, backed by the steady support of the United States of America and by the security provided by the Atlantic Alliance. In the universality of the United Nations, the European pattern does not claim to be a one-size-fits-all model. Yet, by succeeding beyond any realistic expectation, the European Union epitomizes the benefits and added value of multilateralism and international cooperation. Let me take pride in our journey from ashes and rubble to a healthy union of peoples and governments. What we have achieved in Europe, in peace, stability, prosperity and justice is what the Charter of United Nations stands for in the world.

Italy has been unstinting in its support the United Nations, as it is the most legitimate forum for promoting the fundamental values of humankind. A robust and credible UN serves the best interests of the international community.
The sixth contributor to the regular budget and to peacekeeping operations, Italy also contributes with more blue helmets than any other European country.

Not only do we financially support the United Nations' missions, we also provide human resources, equipment, and the know-how to effectively implement the Security Council mandates.

In a post-conflict environment, nations, peoples, women and children, identify their hopes for a better future in the flag of the United Nations. Their expectations must be met.

Eight-thousand Italian women and men in uniform at the service of UN or UN-authorized peace operations; the Brindisi Logistics Base; the recent cooperation agreements between the Carabinieri Corps and the Organization for the training of Blue Helmets: this is Italy's response to allow the UN to fulfill its mission.
Our long, distinguished and challenging history of participation in UN missions includes the highest sacrifice bravely paid by Blue Helmet wearing Italians.

Let me now touch on issues that are especially dear to our heart.
Our opposition to the death penalty stems from our long established conviction in the right to life.
In 1700, the Italian philosopher Cesare Beccaria asked a simple question: "Did anyone ever give to others the right of taking away his life?"
The historic 2007 General Assembly resolution for a moratorium on executions has been given a boost by increased margins in 2008 and 2009.
Italy is confident in the momentum created by the civil society and in the growing membership support toward abolishing capital punishment.

We want to bring to the attention of the world community the dramatic plight of children in armed conflicts. We support a training project for Blue Helmets who are going to face this plight on the ground.

We are committed to the elimination of all forms of violence against women, and in particular the practice of female genital mutilation.
In the wake of President Truman's words in San Francisco, "All progress begins with differences of opinion and moves onward as the differences are adjusted through reason and mutual understanding."

L'Italia continuera' a chiedere alle Nazioni Unite di essere in prima linea nella prevenzione del genocidio, la lotta contro ogni forma di discriminazione, la difesa delle minoranze e la protezione delle minoranze religiose.

Italy will continue ask the United Nations to be in the forefront in the prevention of genocide, the fight against all forms of discrimination, the protection of minorities and in the elimination of religious intolerance.

Thank you.