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UNGA elects Italy to UN Human Right Council

On October 12, 2018, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected Italy as member of the UN Human Rights Council for the period 2019-2021, with 180 votes. Italy’s priorities for the three-year mandate are:

  • Condemning all forms of xenophobia
  • Fighting religious discrimination and promoting religious freedom
  • Protecting children and minors
  • Protecting people with disabilities
  • Promoting women's rights
  • Fighting human trafficking
  • Lobbying against the death penalty in the world
  • Protecting cultural heritage

Newspaper article - La Stampa (in Italian)  

Global Italy

Italian prime minister visits Ethiopia And Eritrea to support peace process

On October 11-12, 2018, Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte made his first trip to Africa in his role, visiting  Ethiopia and Eritrea, two former Italian colonies. According to Conte, the visit was aimed at backing the peace process, not to make any specific requests. 

In Ethiopia, Conte praised the country as a "pillar of stability" in the Horn of Africa region and "warmly" encouraged Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to continue with the sweeping political and economic reforms that have been announced since Abiy took office in April. The two leaders discussed how to work together on investment, trade, and infrastructure development, as well as migration issues. Conte has called on Italian investors to take advantage of the new wave of peace in the Horn of Africa region.

Press release  - Government of Italy (in Italian)

Italy

Italian government commits to increasing ODA and reaching 0.40% ODA to GNI target in 2021

The Italian government presented its 'Update to the DEF,' the update to the Economic and Financial Document (Documento di economia e finanza - DEF) that is submitted to Parliament at the end of September of each year. It includes an update on program goals, along with notes and amendments to the DEF in light of the recommendations issued by the European Council regarding Italy’s Stability Programme and National Reform Programme.

According to preliminary data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Italy’s official development assistance (ODA) was 0.29% of its gross national income (GNI) in 2017. The new government has committed to further increase ODA to 0.33% of GNI in 2019, 0.36% in 2020, and 0.40% in 2021.

Between 2016 and 2017, Italian ODA increased by 10%, following a 26% increase between 2015 and 2016. The increases were driven by a combination of higher costs for hosting refugees in Italy and larger contributions for development programs.

DEF Report - Italian Minister of Finance Website (in Italian)

Italy

PM Conte highlights Italian commitment to multilateralism and “shared responsibility” in dealing with migrants at UNGA

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte highlighted the importance of “shared responsibility” among countries in dealing with migrants at his speech at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. Conte said the receiving countries should work together with the migrants’ countries of origin and transit to stem the migratory flow. He reiterated Italy’s support for a global compact to promote safe and orderly migration and reduce human smuggling and trafficking. 

Conte also reaffirmed Italy's commitment to multilateralism. UN organizations are the pillar of the multilateral system and Italy supports the effort to improve the efficiency of this institution through the reform plan launched by the Secretary General Gutierrez, he said.

Conte noted that Italy contributes the greatest number of military personnel to UN peacekeeping operations from NATO, the EU, and the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) and Italy is the eighth-largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping efforts. The prime minister reaffirmed that Italy will continue to contribute to the objective of peace and development in the framework of Agenda 2030 even within the context of a challenging economic environment.

Speech – Italian Government website (in Italian)

Global Italy

Italian government adopts hardline anti-migrant decree

On September 25, 2018, Italy's council of ministers adopted a security decree which will make it easier to expel migrants and strip them of Italian citizenship. Called the 'Salvini decree' after Matteo Salvini, the country's interior minister who drafted it, the document is an emergency instrument. President Sergio Mattarella has 60 days to sign the legislation before it goes to Parliament for approval. 

The controversial bill has been heavily criticized in recent weeks, including by members of the Five Star Movement (M5S) which governs in coalition with Salvini's League. The decree includes a crackdown on issuing permits for reasons that Italy grants to applicants who do not qualify for asylum or subsidiary protection, as well as the planned downsizing of the municipality-led reception system, which has been praised for facilitating integration. Chief among concerns are that the measure will lead to more people finding themselves undocumented and without rights on Italian streets.

News article - Internazionale (in Italian)

EU Global Italy

Italy and EU sign €50 million agreement for projects in Libya

The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and the European Commission have signed an agreement to allocate €50 million (US$55.3) to 24 Libyan municipalities to meet the basic needs of the civilian population, including healthcare, education, water, energy, and small-scale infrastructure. The package aims to improve living conditions and local governance in the municipalities most affected by migration flows, with particular attention to migrants, refugees, and displaced people. €22 million (US$24.3 million) will be channeled through AICS, with the remainder of the package managed by UNDP and UNICEF.

Press release- AICS 

EU Italy

Italian UNICEF committee petitions Italian institutions to support vaccination

In light of the Italian government's recent anti-vaccination remarks, the Italian Committee for UNICEF has launched a petition directed at Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the President of the Parliament, and the President of the Senate to increase support for vaccination in Italy and all over the world.

The petition asks for the government to:

  1. Simplify access to vaccination services for all children in Italy and eliminate regional disparities;
  2. Launch an advocacy campaign focused on the benefits of vaccination;
  3. Fund international cooperation programs working in the field of paediatric vaccination.

Petition - UNICEF Italy (in Italian)

Italy Global health

Italian deputy foreign minister allocates funding at meeting of Joint Development Cooperation Committee

On September 6, 2018, the newly-appointed Italian Deputy Foreign Minister, Emanuela Del Re, attended her first meeting of the country's joint Development Cooperation Committee, where she was called upon to allocate nearly €83 million in development funding. She approved nine interventions in Africa, six in the Middle East, one in Asia, and three in Latin America.

During the meeting, Del Re underscored Italy's importance in the global development community, and spoke to Africa's strategic importance to Europe. According to Del Re, Italy's relationship with Africa should be one of "shared development", based on mutual cooperation and advancement. 

Website - Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (in Italian)

Italy

Italy allows migrants on Diciotti ship to disembark after days at sea

140 migrants on board the Italian coast guard vessel 'Diciotti' have been allowed to disembark in Sicily, after being confined on board for six days amid tensions between Italy and the European Union (EU) over their relocation.

The Italian government, led on this issue by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, refused to let the migrants off the boat until a solution was found. According to the cabinet, the Italian Catholic Church agreed to welcome 100 of them; the remaining 40 would be shared between Ireland and Albania (a non-EU country). 

The long detention of the migrants on board the Diciotti raised strong protests at domestic and international level, including from the UN refugee agency UNHCR, and has led to an investigation into Interior Minister Salvini's role in "illegal confinement, illegal arrest, and abuse of power"  by a prosecutor in Sicily.

News article - Corriere della Sera (in Italian)

News article - ANSA (in English)

EU Global Italy Global health

Italy requests solution from European Commission for people on board Diciotti migrant rescue boat

The Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has requested the European Commission find a solution to deal with the 177 people on board the Diciotti patrol vessel currently anchored in Sicily. Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanesi argues this is in line with the principle of shared responsibility among EU Member States over migration flows that was agreed at the European Council in June, 2018. 

The Diciotti picked up the migrants on August 15 after they were spotted in Maltese waters. Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini has stressed they must be spread across the EU if the ship lands in Italy. Otherwise, he has said, they will be sent back to Libya. Salvini said on Italian TV, "the ship may land in Italy, as long as the 177 migrants are distributed, in a spirit of solidarity by the EU, which is made up of 27 countries."

News article - Il Sole 24 Ore (in Italian)

EU Italy