Italy calls for reinvigorated multilateral system to combat ‘invisible enemy’, COVID-19

25 September 2020

Today the world is faced with “an invisible enemy” that has upended lives, suffocated the world economy and limited freedoms, the Prime Minster of Italy told the United Nations on Friday.

Speaking as the President of the Council of Ministers, Giuseppe Conte said the “unprecedented evils” of the COVID-19 pandemic have “indiscriminately plagued every region and people of the world, putting humanity, once again, to the test”.

But with the tragedy, come an opportunity for a “new beginning”, one of “reciprocity and renewed spirit of solidarity”, he continued.

Noting that his was the first Western country to face the “large-scale emergency”, he called Italy a “symbol” of a collective, human effort when in the most traumatic moments of the health emergency, it saw “first-hand the support and friendship of the world community”. 

In his pre-recorded video address to the UN General Assembly, the Prime Minister expressed to this year’s virtual debate, his appreciation for the many demonstrations of solidarity and assistance during the “most acute phase” of the pandemic.

He advocated for a “reinvigorated multilateral system, with the United Nations at its core, to turn into reality the idea of a world fit to tackle the challenges posed by the pandemic”.

Collective renewal

Turning to the upcoming G20 meeting, which will be held in Italy, Mr. Conte assured that the agenda would focus on ‘People, Planet and Prosperity’. 

“We wish to seize opportunities for change by fighting injustice and inequity, because a more equitable and inclusive society is not only more just; it is also more prosperous and, globally, more democratic”, he stated.

Moreover, he assured that attention would be given to women’s empowerment – using digital technology a driver for growth and equal opportunities.

Safeguarding the planet

Against the backdrop of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement, the Prime Minister noted that the pandemic had opened “new horizons” to protect the environment and assured: “We will be promoting sustainable, inclusive and resilient growth”.

“We will need to work together so that our renewed ambitions regarding climate change are not disconnected from the promotion of investments and policies for socioeconomic recovery”, Mr. Conte stressed. “The European ‘Green Deal’ is now more than ever necessary to win this challenge of the green transition”.

Stem capital punishment

After the pandemic, the world “must prioritize the promotion and protection of human dignity” upheld the Italian Prime Minister.

To this end, he assured that Italy would continue to place at the centre of its foreign policy, actions to protect human rights in every international forum, with an emphasis on fighting for “a universal moratorium against the death penalty”.

Commit to collaboration

In closing, Prime Minister Conte circled back to COVID-19, saying “the invisible enemy of today has yet to be defeated…cast[ing] a light on our weaknesses, but also on our strength as an international community”.

“It has taught us that only together can we turn this dark page”, he concluded. “Let us all, therefore, renew our commitment to work together to build the future of our children”.

Full statement available here.

 

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