“With this reform, cooperation will no longer be merely an “integral part” of foreign policy, but a key” one, commented Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli on today’s approval – after almost 30 years and three attempts in the course of six legislatures – of the law on cooperation reform. “The new legislation”, Pistelli added, “provides for the greater participation of non-institutional stakeholders (civil society, for- and non-profit) in the Italian cooperation system, and for a structured dialogue, borrowed from European experience, that consists of closer coordination, greater efficiency and reduced waste and overlaps. Many thanks”, Pistelli asserted, “to all the parliamentary groups and the NGO network for their fundamental contribution to the success of this initiative”.
This achievement will allow for a larger number of projects by making the most of the private sector, encouraging partnerships with the public sector, in full compliance with the law, human rights and the rules on the social responsibility of businesses.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which will come to be called “Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation” (from MFA to MFAIC) will take on the function of political supervision, along with the parliament. The post of Deputy Minister for Cooperation will be created, who will act as political reference point in the government, and an Interministerial Committee for Development Cooperation (ICDC) will be set up with the task of ensuring the strategic definition and coordination of all cooperation activities. The management and control of cooperation initiatives will be the remit of a new ad hoc body, the Italian Cooperation Agency (ICA), which will enjoy organisational, regulatory, administrative, budgetary and accounting autonomy.
The reform also calls for the creation of a “financial arm” of cooperation, to be entrusted to the Cassa depositi e prestiti with the task of funnelling European aid to Italy, and improving access, control and coordination of the financial activities of banks and multilateral funds. An instrument that, until yesterday, was non-existent in Italy but whose principal partners have been equipped with for some time now.