Italian Development Cooperation provides assistance to populations affected by humanitarian crises caused by natural and human-instigated disasters, for the purpose of protecting life, alleviating or preventing suffering and upholding human dignity, where governments and local operators lack the means or will to intervene. Italian Development Cooperation strives to provide a rapid, effective and efficient response, that matches local requirements in the three phases of humanitarian aid: 1) relief; 2) recovery and rehabilitation; 3) LRRD – Linking Relief and Rehabilitation to Development.
In the hours immediately following a disaster, i.e. in the relief phase aimed at saving human life and preventing the deterioration of the situation of the people affected by the disaster, we take action by providing support in response to the appeals of the agencies of the United Nations and the organizations belonging to the Red Cross movement, and by preparing emergency transport in conjunction with the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot in Brindisi for the dispatch of relief items to the affected communities. In the subsequent recovery and rehabilitation phase, aimed at safeguarding or restoring adequate socio-economic and security conditions for populations who have already received initial relief, and the LRRD phase (Linking Relief and Rehabilitation to Development) aimed at promoting a transition to medium- and long-term development, we take action by:
- launching multilateral initiatives, i.e. emergency contributions delivered in response to the appeals of the agencies of the United Nations or the organizations belonging to the Red Cross movement (IFRC and ICRC);
- funding multi-bilateral initiatives, i.e. initiatives agreed at bilateral level, whose execution is assigned to a specialized international organization;
- setting up ad hoc funds at diplomatic or consular sites outside Italy, aimed at financing bilateral initiatives.
The humanitarian assistance provided by Italian Development Cooperation pays particular attention to those sectors deemed crucial for survival and for improving essential living conditions, such as food security and support for agriculture, access to water and healthcare services, the protection of refugees and displaced people, the promotion of women’s role, the protection of vulnerable groups (children and persons with disabilities), education, and the prevention and attenuation of the risk of disasters.
The DGCS also finances humanitarian mine clearance for the purpose of reclaiming land affected by the presence of anti-personnel mines, the provision of in-country assistance to victims of landmines, the promotion of mine risk education, and advocacy work aimed at imposing a universal ban on anti-personnel mines, as established by the Ottawa Treaty. In view of its mandate and the goals it aims to achieve, all humanitarian action provided by Italian Development Cooperation through grants.
Humanitarian flights and the Brindisi depot
Some of the most significant activities undertaken in partnership with international organizations are those carried out in conjunction with the United Nations Humanitarian Response Depot (UNHRD), located in the vicinity of the local “Pierozzi” military airport and financially supported by the DGCS since 1984. The operational management of the depot is handled by the WFP. The depot was established for the collection, conversion, storage and deployment of humanitarian aid items sourced by international agencies for the assistance of populations affected by natural disasters and/or complex emergencies. The purpose of the facility is to ensure the rapid, effective deployment of aid to populations in difficulty. Food aid, medication and other humanitarian goods are held in stock at the depot (in the form of kits and divisible modules) and are ready for deployment whenever needed by the relevant agencies of the United Nations, such as the WFP, WHO and OCHA. By means of the depot, Italian Development Cooperation is capable of rapidly establishing fully functioning operational bases in countries affected by disasters. These bases are properly equipped to promptly receive and distribute aid, and assess damage and the most immediate needs of the affected population. Furthermore, the Emergency Department is delegated to control and coordinate any requests from the relevant NGOs for participation in the transport of humanitarian aid to crisis-hit populations. In accordance with the procedures laid down in a specific guidance document, the Ministry can provide contributions for the transport – usually by sea or over land – of goods and materials through the Brindisi depot.