This profile has been updated in August 2018.
Strategic priorities
  • Italy’s development assistance focuses on Africa and on mitigating the root causes of migration and displacement, due to its geographic position and the high number of asylum seekers arriving via the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Italy shows leadership on agriculture, food security, and nutrition. These were central topics in Italy’s G7 presidency in 2017. The G7 Taormina Leaders’ Communiqué committed to increasing ODA to these sectors and to strengthening humanitarian assistance to famine-stricken areas. Italy also maintains close relationships with the UN’s Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Food Programme (WFP), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
Key opportunities
  • Italy overhauled its development cooperation system in 2016, establishing its first-ever development agency (AICS) and the first Italian development finance institution (CDP). This is expected to strengthen Italy’s capacities, especially around bilateral development cooperation. It presents an opportunity to shape Italy’s bilateral spending, as priorities and funding mechanisms are not yet fully defined.
  • In 2018, Italy holds the presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). This will provide opportunities to engage on Italy’s collaboration with multilateral platforms, including on development cooperation.
  • General elections took place in March 2018; The new government’s priorities are not yet fully set, and some key positions still remain vacant. 2018 is a pivotal year to ensure that development policy stays high on the agenda, and that the new government remains committed to the 0.3% ODA/GNI goal by 2020.

Key Questions

the big six

In Kabul, Italian funds help to improve the capacity and service delivery of hospitals. Afghanistan received the largest share of Italy’s bilateral ODA between 2012 and 2014.

Italy

Outlook

How will Italy's ODA develop? — What will Italy’s ODA focus on? — What are key opportunities for shaping Italy’s development policy? read more

How will Italian ODA develop?

  • Italy’s government has been dedicated to strengthening the country’s role internationally. Despite projected decreases in costs of hosting refugees in Italy, bilateral funds for development programs – primarily through its development agency, AICS – have been increasing in recent years. The new government has not yet indicated whether it continues to commit to reaching a 0.3% ODA/GNI share by 2020. 
  • Costs of hosting refugees in Italy are likely to remain at a high level given the ongoing arrivals of asylum seekers from North Africa, though declining slightly from 2017 peak numbers. As Italy reports part of these costs as ODA, this will likely continue to considerably ‘inflate’ Italy’s ODA in the coming years. In 2017, these costs reached a record high of US$1.8 billion.

What will Italy’s ODA focus on?

  • Migration will remain a top focus; Addressing issues that drive migration from Africa to Europe, including food security and nutrition, health, and women’s’ empowerment, were at the core of Italy’s G7 presidency agenda in 2017. Bilateral ODA to humanitarian assistance, food aid, and conflict, peace and security have seen significant increases in 2016.
  • Italy shows international leadership on agriculture, food security, and nutrition. These were central topics in Italy’s G7 presidency in 2017. The G7 Taormina Leaders’ Communiqué committed to increasing ODA targeting these sectors and to strengthening humanitarian assistance to famine-stricken areas. Italy has committed to ensuring implementation of the G7 results in 2018.

What are key opportunities in 2017 for shaping Italy’s development policy?

  • Italy will remain prominent in the multilateral arena: In 2018 it holds the presidency of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and it also aims to ensure follow-up to results obtained during its G7 presidency in 2017. These are both opportunities to strengthen Italy’s development cooperation and implementation of G7 agreements reached on food security and nutrition, health, and women’s empowerment.
  • The replenishment of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) in 2019 and the mid-term review of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) are key opportunities to ensure global health features prominently in the political agenda.
  • Italy’s general elections took place in March 2018. The new government has led to a reshuffling of leadership positions and is likely to lead to shifts in development policy. The global development community should remain active and vocal to ensure that global development issues remain high on the political agenda and the 0.3% ODA/GNI commitment is maintained by the new government.