Roma, 24 set 2011 10:13 - (Agenzia Nova) - An opportunity ‘to do more, and better, with less at our disposal’: according to Italy’s Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, this is what the Fourth World Forum on aid effectiveness to be held in Busan (South Korea) is all about. From November 29th to December Ist the initiative will see the participation of representatives of ministries and governments from all over the world, of donor and developing countries, of non-profit organisations and entrepreneurs from the private sector; 2000 delegates gathered to assess aid quality at global level. They will share experiences and results achieved and discuss a new framework to further increase the effectiveness of national and international cooperation keeping in mind the Millennium Development Goals.
‘Our position regarding the Busan Forum,’ explained Frattini in an interview for “Nova,” ‘revolves around three important concepts. The first is the relevance of the Forum as an opportunity to stake stock of the situation; the second regards the territorial context of cooperation based on the principle that beneficiary populations should be given decision-making power for their development; the third is a new concept of development aid that takes into account emerging advocates of cooperation (civil society, private enterprise, territorial bodies, foundations and universities) and therefore new instruments.’
The Busan Forum is the fourth international summit on aid effectiveness, following the first held in Rome (2003), the second in Paris (2005) and the third in Accra (2008). The Paris Declaration outlined the principles of effectiveness and established commitments at global level; the Accra Agenda for Action saw the full participation of foundations and civil society. Today, the question of effectiveness is more urgent than in the past because the global economic crisis has had a negative impact on cooperation so coordinating aid and improving its quality is the only possible strategy to ensure that solidarity is advantageous.
‘A study conducted in 2009 by an independent organization for the European Commission,’ recalled the Minister, ‘estimated that the application of the aid effectiveness agenda by all Member States in their development cooperation activities would translate into a saving of between three and six billion euros annually on total EU cooperation expenditure. So we are talking of an estimated improvement of cost-effectiveness in the region of six per cent.’
A saving that, in terms of minor administrative and running costs would be high also for Italian Cooperation. ‘This,’ continued Frattini ‘is one of the reasons why for a number of years now, Cooperation has committed itself to implementing a series of measures to make its development cooperation activities more effective and efficient. This was made possible mainly thanks to the adoption and implementation of two national aid effectiveness plans. And besides, we have to be realistic: Law 49 (that in 1987 regulated Italian Cooperation’s activities with developing countries, editor’s note) reflects an historical period and operational context which in many ways have been superseded.’
Italy has very clear ideas on how to respond to the principles of aid effectiveness established in Paris in 2005; the intervention of developing countries needs to be more organic and coordinated; new resources must be activated and new actors involved through fruitful collaboration between the public sector and private enterprise. ‘One of the priority objectives,’ explained the Italian Foreign Minister ‘is linked to reducing the fragmentation of cooperation activities; by decreasing the number of small projects on one hand, and promoting and improving large-scale programmes or through direct, non-earmarked support to the budget of partner countries on the other, we could reduce both the costs related to the identification of activities and their operating costs.’
And this not all. According to Frattini, ‘An increased utilization of the mechanisms and procedures of partner countries for the operating and control of cooperation activities would reduce both operating costs and administrative expenses. Lastly, another priority objective worth mentioning is the effort to curb the “proliferation of donors.”’’ In conclusion, Minister Frattini pointed out that ‘It is also evident that a more systematic and less erratic earmarking of the funds at our disposal would increase the capacity and consequently reduce the ineffectiveness of activities.’
Belloni: considerations on international cooperation
Roma, 24 set 2011 10:13 - (Agenzia Nova) - According to the head of Italian Foreign Ministry’s Directorate General for Development Cooperation, Elisabetta Belloni, international cooperation activities need to be reconsidered and adapted to today’s world scenario that has changed radically since the previous forums on aid effectiveness were held. From this viewpoint, the significance of Busan can no longer be ignored. In times of economic crisis, cooperation must ‘stake everything on the effectiveness of aid and the quality of interventions.’
Busan is ‘an important step in a long-term strategic roadmap and an opportunity for further consideration on international cooperation,’ explained Ms. Belloni to “Nova”. ‘We need to take the economic crisis into account and decide on how to use our aid effectively; not because quantity is unimportant, but because when funds are scarce quality becomes crucial. Italy,’ the Director General of Italian Cooperation underlined, ‘has already taken steps in this direction by setting up inter-institutional round tables with both public and private actors. We want to involve universities, local bodies and enterprises in a bid to make the impact of our cooperation activities as effective as possible.’
The “Smile” Project in Mozambique
Roma, 24 set 2011 10:13 - (Agenzia Nova) - On September 19th an Italian institutional delegation left for a four-day visit to Africa. Cooperation executives, representatives of regions, local bodies, the private sector and universities went to Mozambique to discuss the modalities and details of a new experimental project for the benefit of Mozambique’s population with the local government: for the first the “Smile” (Systemic Multistakeholder Italian Leveraging Aid) initiative will involve several public and private actors in the field of development.
In fact, the idea on which this pilot project is based is to make aid more cost-effective by coordinating efforts and integrating the activities of the various field operators. The Mozambicans, therefore, will be the first to experiment this new approach to Italian cooperation even before it is presented to the international community at Busan. Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Farnesina, has made it known that this decision was taken not only by virtue of the longstanding ties between Italy and Mozambique, but also because of renewed interest on the part of the Italian business world and the possibility to create synergy between the Foreign Ministry’s funding programmes through the Directorate General for Development and those of private enterprises.
The project is part of the new cooperation agreement recently signed by the two countries for the two-year period 2010-2012. With funds amounting to 66 million euros – in part already utilized for ongoing activities, in part earmarked for future activities – Italy has committed itself to supporting Mozambique’s agricultural system particularly with actions for the benefit of the local private sector and incentives for Italian enterprises interested in investing in this African nation. The Italian operators will coordinate and provide support for the field operators’ activities with the aim of achieving a sustainable and solidarity-based development founded on programmes and actions identified by the Mozambique government, most of which are set out in the Action Plan for the Reduction of Absolute Poverty (PARPA), the Mozambican government’s good practice guidance document.
Agenzia di stampa quotidiana. Registrazione presso il Tribunale di Roma n. 17/2010 del 19.1.2010
Direttore responsabile Sebastiano Fusco. Redazione salita di San Nicola da Tolentino 1B, 00187 Roma.