A Statement of Italy on Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance

ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL, 2014 SESSION OF THE HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS SEGMENT, 25 JUNE 2014.

On 25 June 2014, at the general debate of the Humanitarian Affairs Segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, Italy delivered a national statement. After aligning itself with the one made by Greece on behalf of the European Union, Italy expressed its wish to add some remarks:

Italy is strongly committed to enhancing the effectiveness of humanitarian aid in fulfillment of the UN’s purposes, as stated in the Secretary-General’s report on “Strengthening of the coordination of emergency humanitarian assistance.” We strongly support initiatives to promote broader inclusiveness, improve response capacity, and strengthen crisis prevention. In the coming years, our priority will be a more integrated approach to the protection of people affected by crises, bringing together governmental and non-governmental actors as well as the aid beneficiaries. Through the UN, we dedicate major resources to the needs of people in complex emergencies worldwide, from Syria to South Sudan and the Central African Republic. At the same time, we encourage exchanges of best practices, to increase aid efficiency through results-based management, with due consideration to shared objectives on the agenda of the World Humanitarian Summit.

Then, the duty of non-State actors to comply with international law was highlighted:

In accordance with UN resolutions, Italy endorses full respect for international humanitarian law not only by States but also by non-State actors involved in current conflicts. In this regard, humanitarian access is still one of the most sensitive topics on the international agenda, and has a crucial impact on the effectiveness of humanitarian aid. Italy is deeply concerned by the violation of this principle and is pushing for full compliance by the international community.

Finally, some policy considerations were made:

Italy is also engaged in humanitarian activities at the European level. Starting July 1, Italy will be leading the Council of Europe’s Working Party on Humanitarian Aid and Food Aid (COHAFA), providing an operative framework for the humanitarian action of the European Union. The protection of vulnerable groups in emergencies — particularly women, children and people with disabilities — will be one of the most important topics to be discussed with other EU partners.

Special emphasis will be placed on strengthening links with Civil Protection in disaster risk reduction, preparedness and humanitarian assistance to victims of natural disasters. Civil Protection can serve as a testing ground of new technologies to reduce the risks associated with extreme weather events. The use of new technologies for disaster prevention constitutes an extremely useful tool for the improvement of the efficiency and efficacy of international aid.

Finally, we will closely monitor the preparatory process for the World Humanitarian Summit in 2016, which is a unique occasion to develop a coherent, collective strategy to tackle the challenges of humanitarian assistance in the decades to come.

The full text of the statement can be found here.

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