Italy’s premier has added her voice to calls to reform the UN Security Council to make it "more representative, transparent, and effective."
Speaking at the annual UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday, Giorgia Meloni called for a "council that can guarantee a fairer geographical distribution of seats, and that can strengthen regional representation as well."
Pointing out that the current Security Council was established in another century, under the shadow of a conflict that ended 80 years ago – World War II – she said a reformed structure would allow everyone an opportunity to demonstrate their worth.
Numerous speakers at the current General Assembly have pushed for reforms to the Security Council, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general.
Touching on the instability in Africa caused by long periods of drought and the effects of climate change, Meloni said the continent now is faced with a situation compounded by food insecurity as a result of the war in Ukraine.
She went on to say that this chaos produces tens of millions of people in search of better living conditions, as well as criminal networks that profit from desperation to collect billions.
"They are the traffickers of human beings that organized the trade of illegal mass immigration. They deceive those who rely on them to migrate to find a better life, having them pay thousands of dollars for trips to Europe they sell with brochures as if they were regular travel agencies."
"But those brochures don't tell you that those trips all too often can lead to death to a grave at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea," she added.
Last week the eyes of the world were on the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa – just 193 kilometers (120) miles from Tunisia, closer than it is to Italy – which became overwhelmed with migrants coming from North Africa.
Meloni went on to say that the fight against organized crime should be an objective that "unites us all," stating that today "there is no other criminal activity in the world today is more lucrative than the trafficking of migrants."
Speaking of slavery, she said: "Can the UN tolerate its comeback under other forms, that the commercialization of human life continues, that there are women brought to Europe, forced into prostitution to repay the enormous debt they incur with their traffickers?”
Meloni also pushed back at the notion that Africa is not a poor continent, saying it is actually rich with strategic resources.
"It has been often and still is an exploited continent. Too often the interventions of foreign nations on the continent have not respected local realities. Often the approach was predatory," she said, adding that this must change.
Highlighting the need for cooperation between equals when it comes to Africa, she said, "Africa needs no charity," but argued instead for strategic investments on mutually beneficial projects that can tie its futures together with others.
"In this way, we can offer a serious alternative to the phenomenon of mass migration … that is work, training opportunities for nations of origin, and pathways for legal and agreed migration," she added.