Italian Parliament to vote on aid transparency

Members of Italy's Chamber of Deputies during a plenary session. Photo by: Italian Parliament

Aid Transparency is gaining political momentum in Italy. Four parliamentary motions on aid transparency were to be voted on in the lower house of the parliament last week, until the votes were postponed at the last minute. They may come up again as soon as today, April 27.

An initial motion had been drafted by the small opposition party Italia dei Valori. It took note of the poor score Italy received in Publish What You Fund’s aid transparency assessment. The motion calls on the Italian government to join the International Aid Transparency Initiative.

>> The Revolution Begins: A New Aid Transparency Standard, and What’s Next

When the vote was tabled, additional motions on transparency were filed. The three motions – all presented by opposition parties – call on Italy to join IATI, among additional commitments such as speeding up the time to report development results to the parliament.

The ruling coalition filed its own motion calling on Italy to increase aid transparency, including via an online database; no mention of IATI.

The ruling coalition’s motion was spearheaded by the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, whose staff may not want to join IATI for fear of transaction costs. The motion illustrates the ruling coalition’s opposition to IATI, wrongly deeming it a new database too costly to implement for a country that is so far behind on aid transparency.

Karin Christiansen from Publish What You Fund said: “IATI is a data standard, not a binding treaty nor a database, but it would help Italy report to the [OECD’s] CRS database, for example. It is up to each donor to develop an implementation schedule of what they can do by when. So there are some costs, but they are something the Italian government can control and plan.”

On the occasion of the vote, the ONE Campaign will issue a statement addressed to the Italian government on the relation between aid and corruption, presenting aid transparency as the best means to stop fraud. The ONE Campaignlast week submitted a petition with roughly 73,000 signatories to Italian aid officials, urging the Italian government, currently the most opaque donor, to make aid data more transparent. ONE planned to deliver all the signatures to the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs this week.

Because the ruling coalition’s majority is so thin in the parliament’s lower chamber, motions from the opposition might pass. We will know soon.

About the author

  • Iacopo Viciani

    Iacopo is an advocacy and policy analyst with experience in aid financing, effectiveness and emergencies. He currently serves as a policy analyst on aid effectiveness and accountability for ActionAid Italy. As part of his work for the NGO, he was seconded to the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs international cooperation department in 2009.