Italian PM claims that "EU's future is at stake in Africa"

From November 24-29, 2017, Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni visited four African countries: Tunisia, Angola, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast, where he attended the fifth EU-Africa summit. In a joint press conference with Angolan President Joao Lorenco, Gentiloni said that "Italy clearly sees that the EU's future is at stake in Africa", and voiced his interest in expanding trade with the continent, currently worth 34 billion a year. He also spoke on the need to increase private investment in African businesses. 

Press release - Government of Italy (in Italian)


Italy pledges €4.5 million to fight polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan

The Italian government has announced a contribution of €4.5 million to eradicate polio in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledging to match the contribution for a total of €9 million. The funding will be used to train and support vaccinators and social mobilizers in Afghanistan, who are instrumental in generating demand for vaccination, and to ensure the delivery of vaccines. In Pakistan, the funding will be used to support vaccination campaigns in some of the most challenging areas of the country. 

Website - GPEI

Milan high-level nutrition summit brings pledges to $3.4 billion in next decade

The Milan-hosted Global Nutrition Summit 2017 raised $640 million in new commitments to tackle global malnutrition, bringing pledges over the next decade to $3.4 billion. The meeting convened national government representatives, NGOs, and foundations. The funds will go toward a range of programs that support the United Nations’ goals of zero hunger and malnutrition by 2030 and World Health Organization targets has set for 2025, including reducing stunting in children under the age of 5 by 40% and reducing anemia in women of childbearing age by 50%.

The 2017 Global Nutrition Report was also launched at the Summit. The report takes stock of countries’ progress towards nutrition-related SDGs, World Health Assembly Maternal Infant and Young Child targets, and diet-related non-communicable diseases targets. It also tracks delivery of donor and partner country commitments.

Press release – WHO

Publication – Global Nutrition Report

Global Italy Nutrition

G7 accountability group publishes progress report on investing in education

Under Italian leadership, the Accountability Working Group (AWG) of the G7 has published a report entitled ‘Investing in Education for Mutual Prosperity, Peace and Development’, which examines progress made on commitments from heads of state at the Taormina summit meeting in May 2017. 

The report identifies high-quality education as a key and cross-cutting area of G7 action, which G7 members should "champion now" in order to achieve the SDGs by 2030. It refers to the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and the new 'Education Cannot Wait' fund for education in emergencies as critical mechanisms to ensure that adequate resources are available to meet the educational needs of 1.5 million children affected by crises over the next two years.

Website - G7

Publication - G7 

Italy Education

OECD DAC holds meetings in Paris to discuss ODA

The Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) held key meetings this week at its headquarters in Paris, hosting delegations from the 30 richest donor countries to discuss the rules surrounding ODA. A number of controversial issues were debated, including 1) the amount of ODA that donors can spend on in-country refugee costs, 2) the cap on the amount of ODA that can be directed towards multilateral peacekeeping efforts in conflict-affected countries, and 3) how to measure ODA spent through blended finance mechanisms.

The UK in particular has been critical of existing ODA regulations, having previously suggested that it may pull out of OECD-DAC if rules surrounding spending on military and security costs remained unchanged.

News article - Devex

Italy approves €18 million for development initiatives in Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America

Italy’s Joint Committee for Development Cooperation has approved an 18-million package of programs and initiatives in the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America. Initiatives include:

  • 3 million to Somalia and Djibouti to increase maternal and child healthcare services and to strengthen the health system;
  • €1 million to Ethiopia to improve the civil registration system;
  • €800,000 to develop community awareness on the risk of illegal migration in West Africa;
  • €4 million to support Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon with education, healthcare services, and nutritious food;
  • Interventions to support displaced persons in Iraqi Kurdistan and to assure access to healthcare and vocational training in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; 
  • Programs to promote inclusive education in El Salvador.

The Joint Development Cooperation Committee decides on funding for all development projects over €2 million. The Committee is chaired by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFA) and composed of the heads of MoFA’s Directorate General for Development Cooperation (DGCS) and AICS (Italian Agency for cooperation).

Press release - MoFA


Italian CSOs show mixed reaction at G7 health ministers' final declaration

Italian CSOs greeted the recent declaration of G7 ministers of halth with some praise concerning language on climate change but disappointment in other respects. They welcomed the effort to maintain wording about the impact of climate change on health, despite the US's opposition, and included strong language as well on the need to invest in research and development of new treatment and diagnosis tools for antimicrobial resistance and tuberculosis. CSOs also welcomed the G7’s affirmation that essential services for women, children, and adolescent health are a priority for universal health coverage (UHC),  and needed to deliver human rights to the most vulnerable and marginalized groups.

However, the organizations argued that the G7 did not endorse ambitious enough targets concerning price controls for medicines and diagnosis tools, nor make sufficient financial commitments. They highlighted the fact that it is impossible to implement UHC without additional resources and strong policies to reduce medicines’ prices.

News report – Quotindiano della Sanità

Italy Global health

Italian CSOs criticize outcome of G7 agricultural meeting as inadequate

Italian CSOs were critical of the final declaration following a G7 ministerial meeting on agriculture in Bergamo, Italy, on October 14-15, 2017. The declaration emphasizes the leading role that G7 countries can play to help promote more resilient and more sustainable global agricultural and food systems, while also launching an assessment of the policies and approaches taken in a number of G7 and non-G7 countries to mitigate catastrophic risks in agriculture. However,  the CSOs argued these were not ambitious enough outcomes relative to the severity of the challenges, noting that in the Global Hunger Index for 2016 half of all developing countries received “serious” or even “alarming” ratings based on levels of malnutrition, growth stunting, and child mortality.

Communique – G7

News article – Agi

Global Italy Agriculture Nutrition

French foreign minister lists priorities for UN Security Council presidency

Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian has declared the Sahel region and the protection of children in armed conflict as priorities for the French United Nations Security Council (UNSC) presidency, which started on October 1, 2017. He also stated that the following issues will be placed in the UNSC agenda: 1) the protection of humanitarian and medical personnel in armed conflict, 2) the Rohingya crisis, 3) migration, and 4) women, peace, and security.

Press release - France Diplomatie (in French) 

France Italy

France and Italy agree to strengthen foreign policy cooperation

A recent Franco-Italian summit laid out various areas to intensify cooperation between Italy and France, including foreign policy. Both countries agreed to strengthen dialogue on regional and thematic issues of common interest. A regional focus will be set on Africa, in particular on the Sahel, the Horn of Africa, and the MENA region. Additionally, leaders agreed to strengthen partnerships in the fields of migration, security, terrorism, environment, climate, renewable energy, and development.

Publication - French government (in French)

France Italy