By Vatican News staff writer
Italian ambassador Luca Attanasio, his body guard Vittorio Iacovacci, and Mustapha Milambo, a World Food Programme (WFP) driver, died during an attack on their convoy on 22 February in Eastern DRC’s North Kivu province.
WFP is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the attack happened as the ambassador was on his way to visit a school feeding project in the area.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper “La Stampa”, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, confirmed that an in-depth security review of this incident is ongoing and that the UN is working “hand-in-hand with both the Congolese and Italian authorities as they conduct criminal investigations to ensure that those responsible for this crime are brought to justice.”
Family of Nations
Regarding the Pope’s Encyclical Fratelli tutti, in which Pope Francis addresses the reform of the UN, Guterres said the priority for the organization “will be to give substance to the concept of a family of nations working for the common good, the eradication of poverty and the protection of human rights," as called for by the Pope, in order to “prevent this Organization from being delegitimized, since its problems and shortcomings are capable of being jointly addressed and resolved.”
The Secretary General went on to express his belief that the United Nations is the only organization that can help to bring all nations together to deal with major threats, including Covid-19 and Climate Change.
He said he agrees there is a need for reform, and reiterated the need for a multilateralism based on the current reality.
At a time of growing nationalisms, he continued: “Along with Pope Francis, I want the governments and peoples of the world to work in harmony with each other as a family of nations; that is the one way we will be able to grapple with the problems we face and resolve them.”
Antonio Guterrez also looked ahead to the next COP26 summit in Glasgow in November, saying “This year is going to be a make or break year to confront the global climate emergency.”
Reiterating the objective to build a global coalition for carbon neutrality by 2050, he said this year “every country, city, financial institution and company needs to adopt credible and ambitious plans for transitioning to net zero emissions by 2050, and take decisive action now to put themselves on the right path.”
He said this is the time to raise ambition across the board: in mitigation, but also in adaptation and finance, as we move towards the Glasgow summit.
Guterrez upheld the Pope’s leadership in taking a vital stance in the fight against climate change and the injustices it brings.
Regarding the global covid crisis, Guterrez noted that vaccines must be treated as a global public good, while vaccine nationalisms must be avoided.
Noting that an immunity gap would put everyone at risk, he said that “treating the vaccine as a global public good is not only the right thing to do morally but it is also in everyone’s self-interest.”
“But the pandemic is more than just a health issue. As I have said, it is clear that this crisis has quickly morphed into an economic and social crisis, and also very much a human rights crisis. The pandemic has revealed what we have always know but what is now very clear - the interconnectedness of our human family.”
Finally, the UN Secretary General addressed the issue of migration and the European Commission’s newly-released "Pact on Migration and Asylum".
He upheld the need for all states, whether “receiving and transit countries or countries of origin” to ensure that refugees and migrants are treated with respect for their safety and their dignity.
Overall, he said, “migration must be seen, and managed, as a net-positive for economies and societies, both in terms of countries of origin and countries of destination.”
As for Libya, Guterrez said there has recently been a breakthrough in the UN’s work to restore stability to the country, and said he welcomes pledges made by the new executive authority to form a government “reflecting political pluralism, geographic representation, and its commitment to include no less than 30 percent of women in executive positions, as well as to ensure the participation of youth.”
“After years of conflict, the people of Libya deserve a chance to rebuild their lives and their future. Their leaders, and all member states, need to put the interest of the Libyan women, children and men first and foremost," he concluded.