The Italian parliament has finally passed a new law that sets out an ambitious agenda for a comprehensive reform of Italian aid — and with it, the birth of a new development cooperation agency.
Entered into force last month, the new law provides organizational, regulatory, administrative, budgetary and accounting autonomy to the Italian Cooperation Agency. While details on funding have yet to be deliberated, ICA is confirmed to have a financing facility at its disposal. This facility will be funded by Italians’ postal savings and is meant to improve “access, control and coordination of the financial activities of banks and multilateral funds.”
This move seems to buck the trend for aid agencies being folded into foreign affairs departments, as in the case of Australia and Canada. The Italian agency won’t have complete autonomy, however. It will be supervised by the foreign affairs ministry, which will be renamed Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Development Cooperation. The ministry, through its development cooperation directorate-general, will remain ultimately responsible for Italian foreign aid.
But the expectation is for the ministry to take on an increasingly “strategic and political function,” leaving operations and day-to-day work to the newly formed agency.