The "unprecedented" challenge posed by the COVID-19 pandemic hight the importance of multilateralism and the role played by the United Nations, Italy's deputy foreign minister Marina Sereni said on Monday.
"At a time when we are facing the unprecedented challenge of the pandemic, it is important to reaffirm the crucial role of multilateralism and the only international organization with a universal vocation such as the UN convincingly," Sereni said.
Sereni was addressing the Together for the UN webinar organised by the University of Padua on the 75th anniversary of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations
"COVID-19 - continues Sereni - is a 'catalyst of fragility', it has exacerbated our problems and even more so those of areas close to us such as the Middle East and North Africa. At the same time, however, it pushes us to seize opportunities for a general rethink, to follow the path of a 'better recovery', Sereni said, quoting UN chief Antonio Guterres.
Efforts to reform the Security Council to make it more democratic, effective and representative" gain fresh urgency amid the current global crisis, Sereni argued.
"Unfortunately - adds the Deputy Minister - the UN is still perceived as too far removed from the needs of the people. We must therefore concentrate our efforts on a more transparent, inclusive organization, attentive to the contribution of civil society, local authorities, women, and young people."
Italy is playing its part on the world stage, Sereni said. The country is the seventh biggest contributor to the UN's ordinary budget and peacekeeping operations. It will continue to campaign for a universal moratorium on the death penalty - "a battle rooted in our national cultural and civil heritage," she stated.