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International Cooperation Forum: Terzi: Central to foreign policy – from assistance to partnership

“The rapid transformations of recent decades that have accelerated new geopolitical equilibriums and regional integration, today express the foreign policy-cooperation equation in new terms; dense in problems and at the same time filled with extraordinary prospects, which include “assistance and aid evolving into partnerships with our counterparts”, Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi’s commented during his speech at the International Cooperation Forum in Milan, whose participants included Premier Mario Monti and Minister for Cooperation Andrea Riccardi.

According to Terzi the importance of cooperation and the intimate role its ethical values play in every country’s foreign policy, involves the duty – borne by States, international organisations, civil societies and all cooperation workers – to work for a better world and against hunger, the North/South divide and religious conflict, and is a credible response to global challenges”.

At the same time it is necessary “to confront the problem of financial resources head-on if we want to retain our proper importance in international equilibriums and continue to speak with credibility at global level”. “Unfortunately”, he continued, “there has been a drastic reduction in the funds assigned to the Directorate General for Cooperation over the last few years, with cuts of more that 80% as compared with 1007”.

Monti, more resources when possible

“As soon as budgetary constraints permit, the Development Cooperation will have to be strengthened on the level of resources”, asserted Premier Mario Monti at the Cooperation Forum, to which President Giorgio Napolitano sent a video message of thanks to all those who work in the sector “in silence and far from the public eye, often at the cost of great sacrifice”, underscoring that international cooperation “in this 21st century of globalisation” was also a strategic investment.

“Cooperation” – Monti explained – “is today one of the ethical imperatives of solidarity, but also, and above all, a strategic investment in national and international security, migration management, environmental protection, energy security, fostering of economic/trade opportunities for Italian firms and in our country’s authoritative participation in the main global forums ”.

Riccardi, essential to change laws

“Cooperation is essential in a globalised world”, said Minister for Cooperation Andrea Riccardi. “A country that does not engage in cooperation is one in decline”, citing an ISPI study according to which between 1994 and 2011 “every euro spent in cooperation came back”. At this point “a reform of Law no. 49 would be necessary and farsighted”. According to Riccardi, cooperation could be given space in the Constitution as balancing the budget has.