International Cooperation: A Step Forward But Italy Is Lag (12/24/2021)

International Cooperation: A Step Forward But Italy Is Lag (12/24/2021)

The Senate approved the 2022 Budget Act. In connection with the text issued by the Vᵃ Committee, the Government introduced a maximum amendment in which the question of confidence was raised. At the end of December, the Chamber will make the case final. It contains important decisions and plans related to the priorities that Italy has to face, from health to tax reduction and contribution, growth, investments, work, family, social safety nets, university and research, innovation, environmental transformation, energy, agricultural policies and the public. Administration, Italy’s participation in EU policies and international initiatives. Among the latter, international cooperation for development and the fight against poverty has found space, with commitments expressly included in both the Articles and the Financial Schedules.

Article

a) The Budget Law establishes a gradual increase in the resources of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) until 2026, A period of time in excess of the three years involved in order to ensure certainty in the schedules to be determined. That’s 350 million over the five years. Proposal sent by NGOs to parliamentary blocs To allocate these resources as a priority to donated bilateral cooperation initiatives, including humanitarian emergencies, aimed at strengthening relationships between people, communities with communities, and territories with territories through the work of NGOs specialized in development cooperation and humanitarian aid, and third sector entities and organizations Diaspora, ethical finance, microcredit, social enterprises, cooperatives, foundations and other non-profit entities” It was accepted and introduced as an amendment by parliamentarians of various groups. It was included by PD among the aforementioned modifications (Modified by Alfieri, Rojc, Zanda, Giacobbe and Manca) The final text was thus entered for the maximum modification to which the Chamber would approve.

An identical submission process was followed by two other proposals proposed by NGOs.

b) The need for a different definition of the schedule of achievements for the decisions of the Ministerial Committee for Development Cooperation on the three-year planning and policy document and the annual report on the activities implemented.. The date of March 31 of each year, set by Law 125/2014 for both without taking into account the different viewing times (three years and an annual), only resulted in unfortunate delays and a feeling of incompetence, which had to be put to an end. And it was.

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C) The necessity of eliminating the distortion of the large allocations of general development aid to the Ministry of Interior. To ensure assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. These unspent appropriationsIt flows into a special fund, which is created in the “Services and Public Affairs of the Competent Departments” program from the mission of “Institutional and Public Services for Public Administrations” at the Ministry of Interior, provided that it is allocated to the operational needs of the same Ministry“(Legge 145/2018, article. 1, Comma 767). This legislative tool has transformed resources that were accounted for and declared as official development assistance into resources for the institutional services of the Ministry of the Interior. These funds must undoubtedly be financed but this must be done by making certain allocations, which do not harm the overall Italian ODA.

In January 2020 with Giampaolo Silvestri, General Secretary of the AVSI FoundationWe set a date for a meeting with Minister Lamorgese to begin investigating the case and finding appropriate institutional solutions to the problem, however we found resistance in the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and in the responsible departments. Hence the amendment proposal, which NGOs have repeatedly proposed to Parliament since November 2019 without success, until the text of the approved budget law that he transmitted, Amendment of paragraph 767 mentioned above and stipulate that the Ministry of the Interior entrusts the remaining unspent funds to the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, taking into account what has been previously regulated on the subject of repatriation. In other words, by demonstrating that the residues are for development cooperation activities, and thus remain in the context of Italian ODA.

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Other NGO proposals, although taken up as amendments by senators and senators of various parliamentary labels (PD, M5S, Lega, IV, FI, Misto-L&U), were not pursued in the examination of the Budget Committee.

The government has already entered Some simplifications on the CDP managed revolving credit fund and on corporate loans in the context of development cooperation. They are important measures, even if partial. The simplification will have to take care of the whole management machine of international cooperation which in recent years has become burdened with sometimes stifling bureaucratic rules, which hinder its implementation without favoring its quality.

the tables

Table 29 shows the three-year allocations 2022-2024 for official development assistance, and general development assistance, broken down by ministries and defined according to criteria set by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (DAC). For the year 2022 it is located around 5,557,340,962 € (Jurisdiction), divided into the tasks and programs of the relevant ministries.

The lion’s share is from the Ministry of Economy and Finance at 2,549,913,172 euros (46%), followed by the internal department with 1,543,299.423 (28%), Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation with 1,307,628,736 (24%), and infrastructure. and sustainable mobility with 68,117,388, environmental mobility with 53,323.781, university and research with 19,354.714, health with 14,736.875, and economic development with 966,874. These are aggregate figures, which include all activities and services that can be traced back to ODA according to the DAC Wide Network criteria.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance In 2020, it administered payments equal to 52.83% of total official development assistance (mainly contributions to banks, development funds, the EU budget for development cooperation, debt operations and amounts related to CDP and SACE). Ministry of Interior Affairs In 2020, 5.62% of official development assistance earmarked for temporary assistance in Italy was disbursed to refugees and asylum seekers. It turned out to be the second institution, but for several years these numbers have remained inordinately high. Because of this “swelling” Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI), along withItalian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in third place: in fact they managed 35.14% of ODA in 2020. The correction made by the Budget Act, starting in 2022, will rebalance and return the remaining funds not used by the Interior to help refugees and asylum seekers to AICS.

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Over the past three years, total ODA has remained stable at 0.22% of GNI, placing Italy in 20th place, in terms of GNI, behind Ireland, Austria, Iceland, Hungary, New Zealand and Spain.

In 2022, the DGCS, the designated general administration of MAECI, is allocated €1036,841,891 of which 405,624.71 are for participation in European Cooperation (FED) and international cooperation and 617,131,907 to AICS.

What’s the budget

Positive balance then? Italy continues to default Compared to the commitments made internationally for development cooperation, which should reach 0.70% of GNI by 2030. We are still far from that and the new allocations do not shift the Italian commitment from 0.22% / GNI. There is still a lot of work to be done with the upcoming budget laws. What has now been achieved is certainly an important step forward that should be greatly appreciated and that opens a renewed dialogue with parliamentary political forces and government institutions, which the NGOs intend to deepen.

* INTERSOS Chair Emeritus and Policy Adviser to Lync 2007

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