Today, 30 March, the Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Edmondo Cirielli, chaired the second meeting of the 2023 Joint Committee for Development Cooperation. The body, which is responsible for approving the funding of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation for development initiatives, approved the allocation of over EUR 220 million in contributions to developing countries.
Of great importance are the initiatives financed on the bilateral channel, either directly by Italian Cooperation or in partnership with International Organisations including FAO, UNICEF, World Bank, CIHEAM, UN Women, UNESCO, UNDP, and UNIDO.
The intensification of cooperation in the African Continent is thus consolidated. A great deal of attention is paid to the issues of training, the development of agrifood chains, and fishing in almost all countries and through numerous initiatives, also in the perspective of greater investment from Italy in the framework of the Mattei Plan. In Mozambique, the focus is on modernising the agricultural sector, on the one hand by increasing the country’s food security, and on the other by raising the quality of crops for export, such as coffee, also making use of Italian private sector expertise in this field. In Egypt, deliberate initiatives focus on job creation and strengthening Egyptian start-ups and SMEs, which form the backbone of the country’s production system and can guarantee employment opportunities for young Egyptians. Further interventions in Africa concerned Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Somalia and Sudan.
Again on the bilateral channel, a particularly important contribution was deliberated in favour of Moldova, so as to support the families most affected by the energy crisis experienced by the country following the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Also of significant importance was the contribution to the fund set up at ASEAN to strengthen the resilience of South-East Asian countries in the strategic health sector. In the Middle East, initiatives were financed in Lebanon, Palestine and Syria.
On the multilateral voluntary contribution channel, of particular note is the deliberation of the first tranche of a multi-year contribution commitment (2023-2026) to the Global Fund to Fight HIV, Tuberculosis and Malaria, which was announced by Italian Prime Minister Meloni at the G20 summit in Bali in November 2022 (totalling EUR 185 million). In addition to the contributions to traditional partners, a special contribution was also approved for the FAO, to organise, together with Italy and other partners, the Stocktaking Moment of the Food Systems Summit, a follow-up event to the UN Food Systems Summit to be held in Rome next July. The contribution to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) was also particularly significant, in light of the 50th anniversary of the Italian Junior Professional Officers (JPO) Programme – co-managed with UNDESA – and the symbolic funding of 50 JPOs.