United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

H.E. Mr. Aldo Mantovani

UNDESA Workshop on National S ustainable Development Strategies
(4 maggio 2006)
Statement by H.E. Mr. Aldo Mantovani, Ambassador, Deputy
Permanent Representative of Italy
· At the outset, I would like to thank the DESA Sustainable
Development Office, and Mrs. Di Sano in particular, for organizing
this event and giving me the opportunity to address the opening
session. While these weeks are exceptionally busy for all the member
of the sustainable development community, I still thought that it was
important to witness, trough my attendance, the special importance
that Italy attaches to this workshop. As you know, this is the “kick-off
event” for our ambitious programme, designed and implemented by
DESA, for the support to the formulation of sustainable development
strategies in the South Pacific, with particular attention to the regional
and sub-regional dimension.
· I am convinced that this event assumes an even more meaningful
value as it takes place during the fourteenth session of the
Commission on Sustainable Development, on the eve of its “SIDSDay”.
We fully recognize that this session of the CSD is of great
importance to the Small Islands Developing States, given their
vulnerability to climate change and the close linkages between energy
and their sustainable development. We look forward to the outcomes
of CSD 14 and 15 as a potential, further boost to the development of
programmes and initiatives to meet your legitimate expectations. We
agree with your assessment that the sense of urgency, in this regard,
should be increased.
· Our leaders have affirmed on several occasions that the adoption of
national sustainable development strategies is an essential driver to
ensure coherence, consistency and predictability of the assistance to
be provided by the international community. All our guiding
documents, from the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation to the
World Summit Outcome, from the Barbados Programme of Action to
the Mauritius Strategy, stress the need to support developing
countries, with the Small Islands Developing States at the forefront, in
the formulation and implementation of such strategies. I don’t need to
stress here once again that national development strategies must be
truly owned and driven by local governments, and that their
importance is partic ularly pivotal in the specific context of the South
Pacific States. The special needs and challenges of your countries,
including adaptation to climate change, must be properly reflected in
their development plans, so that development projects can be tailo red
on their specific circumstances. As national focal points for the
formulation of the said strategies, I believe that the responsibility
lying on you is of considerable magnitude.
· In connection with my reference to the required suitability of
development projects to the specific circumstances of SIDS, let me
mention an idea that the Italian Government is developing in
collaboration with UNIDO, namely the exploitation of tidal and
marine current resources for energy generation, through the
installation of specific turbines. Prototypes of such turbines are
already in place in Italy, and plans for their production in other coastal
countries are in an advanced stage. We recognize that the high costs
for the provision of grid connection for remote islands or coastal
zones requires the urgent application of renewable energy
technologies adapted to the special conditions of SIDS: we therefore
strongly believe that it is worth considering the extension of this
project to some of the SIDS. For this reason I would be glad if your
countries and organizations could join me at a special lunch event that
will be organized by UNIDO, Italy and Indonesia on the 8th of May
for the launch of the project, in the presence of its initiators. All your
Missions and offices in New York have already received an invitation
for this event.
· All these initiatives prove the determination of Italy to play a
proactive role in international processes to support the sustainable
development of SIDS, and in particular of the South Pacific countries.
Let me remind on this occasion that Italy, as member of the group of
the Friends of the Chair, has played a central role in the preparation of
the Mauritius Conference, as well as in its follow-up: after having cosponsored
the GA resolution which endorsed the Conference
outcomes, we had the pleasure to host in Rome the only inter-regional
follow-up meeting held so far. Combined with other initiatives,
including our funding to FAO for its programme on food security in
the area, the said efforts underpin our sentiments of friendship towards
your countries, that - I hope - will be reflected in an even closer
partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum.