Roma, 15 ott 2011 15:20 - (Agenzia Nova) - Following a month of debates and discussing projects and assessments, it would appear that the distance between Italy and Latin America has been shortened. The 5th Italy-Latin America and Caribbean Conference, organized and hosted by the Italian Foreign Ministry in collaboration with the Italo-Latin American Institute (IILA), the Centre for International Political Studies (CIPS) and the Lombardy Region, along with the numerous meetings held over the last few weeks during this preparatory phase, has refuelled the conviction that an already long-standing economic and political partnership founded on shared traditions and values needs to be strengthened further. Above all, these events placed great emphasis on the activities of Italian Cooperation in Latin and Central America highlighting the organization’s firm commitment to truly sustainable development. The Conference, held in Rome last 5th and 6th October, saw the participation of representatives of institutions, civil society and the business and financial sectors and was divided into three sessions dedicated to the following themes: industrial cooperation and SME development, security, interstate integration and strengthened cooperation.
Frattini: The Italian development model for Latin American countries
Roma, 15 ott 2011 15:20 - (Agenzia Nova) - In his opening address to the Conference, Italian Foreign Minister, Franco Frattini, said: “We want to establish a more effective cooperation, a stronger network to share experiences and evaluate the great challenges facing the world today. Currently Latin America has assumed a new role on the global stage and the cautious handling of its economy has enabled its nations to cope with the financial crisis. Today, Latin America is part of the solution to the world’s problems, and no longer part of the problem as in the past”. Nonetheless, Italy can still be taken as a model for the development of emerging countries in the Latin America area. According to the minister, “The winning model that resulted in the economic boom in the 1960s for us, founded on a network of SMEs and research and innovation, is an example of how the struggle against poverty can be won. But Italy also provides a valid model for the security sector and in the fight against organized crime and terrorism. This is why we want to strengthen the role of both the Italo-Latin American Institute and the Italian regions; a more effective cooperation is necessary to enable us to share experiences and evaluate together the great challenges we are all currently facing”.
Ecuador-Peru: The struggle against poverty in the border regions
Roma, 15 ott 2011 15:20 - (Agenzia Nova) - The closing ceremony of one the initiatives which led up to the 5th Italy-Latin American and Caribbean Conference, the Bi-National Programme for Poverty Reduction in the Ecuador-Peru Border Regions, was held last 4th October in Rome. The project, set up by the IILA thanks to 2.1 million dollars in funding from the Italian Foreign Ministry’s Directorate General for Development Cooperation, has made an important contribution to the peace and integration process in the area by operating in specific sectors in the Suyo District (Peru) and the Macara Canton (Ecuador). After sixty years of conflict, the border regions between the two countries are particularly depressed rural areas. The objective of the project set up by the IILA was to substantially improve the living conditions of local communities by strengthening local institutions and bringing them closer to citizens; by generating new sources of income through the introduction of small enterprises; and by creating services and constructing infrastructures for the population, all initiatives aimed at guaranteeing the sustainability of the project’s interventions and their long-term impact. Rubén Bustamante, Prefect of Loia (Ecuador) said: “First of all, the risk to local populations due to river floodwaters, particularly in winter, has been greatly reduced; floodwalls and canals have been built and the rocks which caused the flooding have been removed. Another important intervention was the work carried out to guarantee supplies reached the Macara Canton. The existing canal had almost dried up but, thanks to its reconstruction and the addition of a protection wall, the canal is now capable of providing water for an area of about 2 thousand hectares, where rice is the main cultivation crop. However, over the last few years the IILA has implemented other equally important projects, such as supporting cattle ranches and silk farming and reconstructing schools and irrigation systems.” On his part during the closing ceremony, Javier Atkins, president of the regional government of Piura (Peru), said: “Thanks to the IILA, we have managed to repair a 3-kilometre-long canal, so families in the area can now cultivate rice; we have also implemented important social development projects such as the creation of a Woman’s Club, a health service and a reforestation scheme. Now we want to carry out analogous projects in neighbouring areas; we need to help 300 thousand families that still have inadequate access to water. The Peruvian people think that the work carried out by the IILA and Italian Cooperation is of the utmost importance and want this collaboration with Italy to continue along the same lines.”
Latin America and the Caribbean: Italian Cooperation initiatives
Roma, 15 ott 2011 15:20 - (Agenzia Nova) - Meanwhile, the unremitting work of the Italian Cooperation operators continues in Latin America and the Caribbean. The principal aims of the interventions are to foster the socio-economic development of a region that has strong ethnic and cultural ties with Italy through sustainable projects in the health sector, assistance for vulnerable minority groups, the strengthening of local institutions and the development of local entrepreneurship. From a geographic point of view, the interventions are concentrated in the most underdeveloped areas: Central America and the Caribbean, two high-risk areas in terms of political and social conflict; the Andean Region and Southern Cone where although there exist higher level incomes there also exists inequality in terms of distribution of wealth with a large percentage of the population still living in conditions of poverty.
Italian Cooperation’s projects in Central America
Roma, 15 ott 2011 15:20 - (Agenzia Nova) - In the near future in Salvador an initiative will be launched to provide “support to the national education system”, thanks to a funding of 3 million 800 thousand euros from Italy’s Directorate General for Development Cooperation. The aim of the initiative is to enhance both Salvador’s education system through the experimental pedagogic model “escuela a tiempo pleno” and the organizational and planning capacity of the country’s Education Ministry. Other important initiatives have been launched in Salvador: in the juvenile justice sector (last year Italian Cooperation approved a project for the dissemination and application of a restorative justice model through the involvement of operators working in the country’s juvenile justice system); in the health sector (with a two-million-euro project in support of the Chalchuapa hospital); in the environmental sector (with an initiative proposed by the National Research Council regarding the exploitation of geothermic energy to be implemented with the collaboration of Salvador University and with a funding of almost 500 thousand euro from the DGDC); and in the cultural sector (with a restoration skills training programme organized and run by the IILA). Recently, Cuba has also become a top priority in Italian Cooperation’s agenda. In the September of this year, the DGDC approved a project to be organized and run by the Italo-Latin American Institute and the Sant’Egidio Community for the restoration of Old Havana. The three-year project will be implemented thanks to a funding of 1.5 million euros. In Guatemala, Italy is directly involved in projects promoting the rights of child workers and youth at risk and supporting female entrepreneurs and rural enterprises. Italy is also collaborating in many ongoing programmes with the Secretariat for Central American Integration (SICA) and UN agencies. The UN’s Development Programme (UNDP) has received a funding of 2 million euros from Italy for a project to save at-risk youth in Guatemala City, and an 800-thousand-euro assistance package to help Guatemala address problems in its legal system. In addition, a 20-million-euro aid loan programme is being set up to help with the reconstruction of the country after the devastation caused by the tropical storm Agatha.
Italian Cooperation in the Andean countries
Roma, 15 ott 2011 15:20 - (Agenzia Nova) - In the Andean countries Italian Cooperation is involved in initiatives to reduce poverty with the aim of lessening the risk of social tensions and laying the foundation for sustainable development from a social and environmental viewpoint. In Ecuador, besides the aforementioned Bi-National Programme for Poverty Reduction in the Ecuador-Peru Border Regions, Italy finances aid loan programmes in the rural and health development sectors to the tune of 15 million euros. Peru is benefiting from a partial debt conversion stemming from aid loans. The programme is based on two conversion agreements the second of which – signed in Lima in 2007 and valid until 2012 – regulates the utilization of a further 72 million dollars. For the singling out and implementation of projects to be funded thanks to the debt conversion agreement, the Italo-Peruvian Fund (FIP) has been set up for the specific task of selecting suitable projects. In Bolivia, Italy is particularly committed to supporting policies for poverty reduction and infrastructural modernization. The aim is that of creating conditions for the autonomous development of the local economy while alleviating the precarious living conditions of the poorest strata of the population. In the central-southern region of the country, within the framework of the ongoing “Support for the Development of the Social-Health System of Potosi” project, the reconstruction of the Bracamonte Hospital has already been terminated. Last year, the three-year programme for the promotion of child rights in the El Alto Municipality, run by UNICEF with a contribution of 1.8 million euros, came to an end. As part of the Misicuni II aid loan programme, 25 million euros has been allocated to the ongoing hydro-agricultural projects to improve the living conditions of the populations in the Cochabamba Valley. The principal elements will be a storage dam, a spillway, a conduit and a hydroelectricity plant. The main objective of the project is to provide the inhabitants and farmers in the area with drinking water as well as water for irrigation and the production of electricity. Italian Cooperation’s commitment in Argentina is going ahead. The second phase of a project in the health sector is being implemented thanks to a line of credit for the sum of 42 million euros. The objective of the project is to strengthen the public health sector through the creation of adequate facilities in the rural border areas, the distribution of equipment in the hospitals located in the hinterland provinces and the creation of health centres of excellence. As far as decentralized cooperation is concerned an initiative worth mentioning is the “Local Economic Development Training Programme” funded by the DGDC with about 1.5 million euros and an additional 661 thousand euros from nine Italian regions led by Apulia. And last but not least there is the “Amazon Without Fire” programme. The aim of this three-year trilateral (Italy, Brazil and Bolivia) cooperation programme is to strengthen the local capacity to prevent and control forest fires. The programme, financed through a local fund of 1.5 million euros, has been “highly praised” by local governments as Italian Ambassador to Brazil, Gherardo La Francesca, recently pointed out.
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.