In this notebook, we summarize and comment on the three-year planning and policy document for Italian cooperation approved by the Interministerial Committee for Development Cooperation – CICS – on October 15, 2021, also referring to the 2019 Annual Report, based on final data.
Both documents, together with the archive of previous years, are available in the Documents and Insights section of the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.
Assuming the strategic framework of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of the 17 objectives for sustainable human development, the Italian cooperation indicates as priorities initiatives aimed at promoting ecologically sustainable agriculture, improving access to clean water, equipping oneself with energy systems economical and sustainable, education, essential services, decent work, gender equality and the empowerment of women, combat all forms of violence and ensure access to sexual and reproductive health, strengthen health systems, support research, and the production and equitable distribution of drugs, treatments, and vaccines, so that they are accessible all and to all in 20 priority countries.
A first critical remark: when too many priorities are indicated, none are valued. For some time now, it has been proposed to characterize, even sectoral, a priority commitment of Italian cooperation in more defined areas, enhancing the peculiarities of our experience and our territories. To give an example, it has been repeatedly proposed to take on food security (given that the three UN agencies dedicated to the topic are based in Rome: FAO, IFAD, and WFP), the health sector and territorial cooperation characterize our international collaboration and devote more attention and resources to this. In the last three decades, a vision has prevailed that has rewarded following emergencies in a logic that is too assistance. However, the general approach, the lack of resources, and ineffective methodologies did not allow them to be overcome. Humanitarian aid is often an indispensable means, but it cannot be an excuse for not taking on more pretentious objectives: peace, the eradication of extreme poverty, the prevention of natural disasters, and conflicts between people and individuals. And finally, worry about the efficiency and effectiveness of international cooperation actions.
Geographically, the priority of Italian cooperation is assigned to 20 countries: 11 in Africa, 1 in Balkan Europe, 4 in the Middle East, 2 in Asia, and 2 in Latin America.