The Italian Development Cooperation aims to guarantee respect for human dignity and ensure the social and economic growth of all peoples. Italian Cooperation was born in the ‘50s with interventions in countries linked to Italy by previous historic ties. Subsequently Italy started a more systematic cooperation aimed to contribute to international efforts to alleviate global poverty and to help developing countries to strengthen their institutions. Recently, also because of several humanitarian crises, Italian cooperation has acquired an increasing role in Italian foreign policy choices, in coherence with interventions aimed to maintain peace and to manage migration flows.
The general objectives and guiding principles which inspire the action of Italian Developent Cooperation are the ones established in agrrements and decisions taken on both the international and community level.
The Millenium Declaration, ratified in 2000 by 186 Heads of State and Government during a Special Session of the UN General Assembly, established the central objective of reducing absolute poverty by half before 2015, and established eight objectives, or Millenium Goals, all of which have shaped cooperation action. In 2015, a new agenda for sustainable development will be outlined which will define the objectives to be followed on an international level.
In defining initiatives and countries in which to stage interventions, Italian Development Cooperation takes into account guidelines and agreements subscribed in the broader international context. The Cotonou Agreement on the partnership with developing countries, signed by the EU, African countries, and nations of the Caribbean and Pacific (Acp) in 2000, defined the guidelines to which EU member states must attain in realizing their cooperation initiatives.Beside this, the outcomes of the international conference on development finanace (Monterrey Consensus) which took place in Mexico in 2002, and the decisions of the European Council of Barcelona of 2002 require that member countries progressively increase their public aid to development (Aps).
The theme of aid effectiveness has increasingly gained strategic relevance over the years, particularly thanks to a process which was begun in Rome in 2003 and continued with the Paris Declaration of 2005, the Accra Agenda for Action of 2008, the Busan Forum of 2011 and the Mexico City Forum of 2014.
In terms of priority, the intiatives are focused on three geographic areas: the Mediterranean and Middle East, East Africa and Western Sahel. Particular importance is given to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Myanmar in Asia, and to Bolivia, Cuba and El Salvador in Latin America. The sector-based priorities are: human development (health and education), law and governance (with particular attention to gender issues, protection of minors and the disabled); rural development and sustainable agriculture, support to the development of the private sector of partner countries.