Media Center



June 4, 2006 - Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Mr. Chairman,

Italy is participating once again this year in the Dialogue with the Permanent Observers with a continued interest in the activities of the OAS and the topics on the agenda of the General Assembly, as well as in the outcome of the proceedings. The Dialogue with the Permanent Observers, along with the other side meetings scheduled for today, is a valuable occasion to identify issues and programs of most importance and immediacy for those who closely follow the constantly evolving situation in the Countries of the Americas. Italy’s interest in the American continent is also evident in numerous initiatives, and among the most recent allow me to mention the Second National Conference on Latin America that took place in Milan last October, attended by distinguished public figures from the hemisphere, including OAS Secretary General Insulza. Italy intends to remain fully updated on the various initiatives of the Organization, contributing as best possible to the pursuit of its institutional mission.

The strengthening of democracy, defending human rights, the rule of law and multidimensional security are universal objectives that the Government of Italy fully shares and is committed to supporting in all international fora. Italy’s presence at this session of the General Assembly, as well as at the regularly scheduled meetings of the OAS, thus allows more information and greater involvement in many of the developments in the hemisphere, and ultimately also possible contributions to specific initiatives aimed at advancing democratic governance, administrative transparency and socio-economic development.

Mr. Chairman,
The Government of Italy is definitely interested in following the debates that will take place here in the coming days and studying the results and conclusions. But it is equally interested in the efficiency and functionality of the Organization of American States as the best model of multilateral political forum, with the soundest internal management, also from a financial and accounting perspective, and the ensuing capability to act concretely in meeting the challenges of this hemisphere.
This interest is Italy’s long-standing position in all multilateral fora. It is no coincidence, allow me to remind, that my country was one of the founders of the European Union and is among the major contributors to the United Nations system. A system that we hope will become more and more efficient, democratic and geographically representative. A system with the capability of operating in full transparency that can rely on the significant contributions from both its specialized Agencies and regional Organizations, which often carry greater experience and more thorough knowledge of specific problems.

Mr. Chairman

Italy assigns major importance to the process underway to reform the United Nations. A reform that must be pursued from a global and organic perspective and takes into account the need to reach agreement first on updated policies and principles of reference of the Organization and second the institutional changes necessary to achieve them.

I know the level of collaboration existing between the U.N. and the OAS, in particular when it concerns efforts to resolve local crises in the Hemisphere, and I share the conviction that this collaboration should be further enhanced in order to make best use of the respective and distinct capabilities and potential of each.

Mr. Chairman

On this occasion, now almost a year from the beginning mandate of both, I wish to salute Secretary General Josè Miguel Insulza and Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin, in recognition of their authority and competence as has already been demonstrated in their efficient handling of current issues and their influential intervention, when situations have so demanded, in various countries of the hemisphere. The most recent events in neighboring Haiti, hopefully directed toward a successful process of democratic reconstruction, offer an excellent example of the assistance and collaboration that the Organization of American States can provide in support of member States that so request. And there are other Countries of the hemisphere where, in the last 12 months, the OAS has conducted important missions of verification, support and direction, inspired always by the principles of the OAS Charter, the Inter-American Democratic Charter and hemispheric solidarity. Of note also are the important Electoral Observation Missions that, upon invitation of individual countries, supervise and assist an orderly voting process and formulate valuable recommendations and/or observations on potential improvements to the system.

Mr. President

Certainly, great challenges continue to confront us, ongoing and threatening: poverty, inequalities, unemployment, social exclusion, corruption, conflicts, terrorism, organized crime, drugs, migration issues, diseases, natural disasters, and of course, energy prices. Perhaps the list is not exhaustive, but it is certainly enough to raise concern. It is important, however, to strengthen confidence in the capability of the Organization and its member States, under the guide of its political leadership and executive organs, to be able to identify and emplace appropriate initiatives and measures to face these challenges. No matter what, the constant efforts of Secretary General Insulza and Assistant Secretary General Ramdin to ease tensions in the bilateral relations between member States and to facilitate direct dialogue in the search for peaceful solutions to potential or current disputes are to be commended.

I wish, here and now in this forum, to confirm to both that Italy stands firm in its commitment to concrete collaboration. This collaboration is mirrored also in the support ensured in the past to actual programs of the Organization, particularly in the area of strengthening democracy, protecting human rights, and humanitarian de-mining activities.

Mr. President.

This year again Italy intends to support certain projects proposed by the Secretariat of the Organization. Without precluding later discussions on the possibility of additions in the future, I am today authorized to announce the decision of the Government of Italy to contribute with a total amount of close to 400 thousand Euro to the following projects:
• The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights:
o promoting human rights in Central America: 27 thousand Euro;
o promoting human rights in Andean Countries: 42 thousand Euro;
• Strategy to support the elaboration of the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: 42 thousand Euro;
• Action Against Antipersonnel Mines Program (AICMA)
o Explosive Remnants of War and Munitions Disposal Project (Nicaragua, Honduras and Guatemala): over 42 thousand Euro;
o Humanitarian De-mining Operations in Colombia Project: over 6 thousand Euro;
o Humanitarian Mine Action in Ecuador Project: over 9 thousand Euro;
o Humanitarian De-mining in Nicaragua – Independent Platoon Project: 6 thousand Euro;
o Humanitarian De-mining in Peru Project: over 19 thousand Euro;
o De-mining programs in Central American Countries: 100 thousand Euro;
o De-mining program in Chile: 100 thousand Euro.

Mr. President

The agenda we have been given on the activities of the General Assembly makes very clear the scope and importance of the issues to be discussed. I am confident that this session will provide a diligent and thorough debate that may identify new methods and prospects for better democratic governance and socio-economic development in the Countries of the Hemisphere. We should even now compliment the great preparatory work resulting from the deep commitment and dedication both by the Secretariat and by the delegations of the member States, as well as by our hosts that have prepared such a marvelous welcome in this resplendent capital city of the Dominican Republic. A heartfelt thank you to everyone.

In concluding, allow me to express my most sincere compliments on the choice for the central theme of this XXXVI session of the General Assembly: Good Governance and Development in the Knowledge-Based Society.

In fact, this is an issue to which the Government of Italy has clearly assigned high priority in promoting growth and efficiency. The ability to maximize on the quick progress in information technology and its capillary application in every sector of our societies, beginning with public services, is an objective to which Italy is committed and has purposefully encouraged in recent years, both at home and at the international level.

My country has organized numerous conferences and training seminars to showcase the massive reliance on information technology, especially in the public sector, repeatedly asserting that what we know as e-government would most certainly streamline and enhance the functioning of Institutions and thereby contribute to development in all countries.

The chosen theme is thus most appropriate and timely. I am confident that it will thus serve as an important element to the success of the General Assembly. I take my leave by extending my appreciation and every good wish to this end.

Thank you Mr. Chairman.

(check against delivery)