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Humanitarian Aid

The Italian Cooperation provides assistance to populations that are victims of humanitarian crises caused by catastrophic events, whether of human or natural origin, with the aim of saving the lives and protecting the dignity of people through a fast, effective and efficient response in three phases: “first emergency” (relief), “emergency” (recovery and rehabilitation), “post-emergency” (LRRD – Linking Relief and Rehabilitation to Development).

In the hours immediately following the disaster, i.e. in the “first emergency” (relief) situation, action is taken by supporting the appeals launched by the UN Agencies, as well as by arranging humanitarian transport and services in cooperation with the UN Humanitarian Relief Depot (UNHRD) in Brindisi to send basic necessities to the affected communities. The subsequent “emergency” phase (recovery and rehabilitation) is aimed at restoring adequate social, economic and security conditions for the populations that have already received initial assistance and then starting a transition to medium- and long-term development in the “post-emergency” phase (LRRD – Linking Relief and Rehabilitation to Development).

The Italian Cooperation’s instruments of action are the following:


  • the financing of multilateral initiatives, i.e. emergency contributions made in response to humanitarian appeals by United Nations agencies or bodies that are part of the Red Cross Movement (IFRC and ICRC);
  • the launch of multi-bilateral initiatives, i.e. agreed bilaterally but entrusted to a specialised international body for implementation;
  • the establishment of ad hoc funds at the Italian Development Cooperation Agency’s foreign offices, aimed at financing bilateral initiatives.


The Emergency sector was affected by the reform of Cooperation following the entry into force of Law 125/2014 and the creation of the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (AICS). The lawmaker left the responsibility of deciding humanitarian interventions to the Minister for Foreign Affairs – assisted by Deputy Minister Edmondo Cirielli – entrusting the Agency with the task of designing and implementing the individual projects.

The humanitarian assistance actions launched by the Italian Cooperation pay particular attention to the sectors deemed crucial for survival and the improvement of essential living conditions, such as food security and support to agriculture; access to water and healthcare services; the protection of refugees and displaced people; the promotion of the status of women; the protection of vulnerable groups (minors and disabled people); education, and disaster risk prevention and reduction.

Furthermore, the Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGCS) finances interventions in the field of humanitarian demining for the clearance of landmine-contaminated areas; the provision of on-site assistance to landmine victims; the promotion of risk education activities, and the conduct of advocacy activities for universalising the ban on anti-personnel mines, as stipulated in the Ottawa Convention.