Italy increases aid contributions but should address working practices, OECD says


11/04/2014 - Italy has raised its foreign aid contributions and its future targets, reversing a trend of falling development assistance, and now needs to improve the way it manages its development programmes, according to a new OECD review.


The latest Peer Review of Italy by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC) finds that the country’s contribution to international development could be more effective with a clearer overall strategy and closer co-ordination across government departments.


The review recommends institutional changes to improve the running, delivery and evaluation of development programmes, including new rules for how different government departments work together in recipient countries. Italy should also make better use of the results of programme evaluations to improve working practices.


Some of these issues may be addressed in a reform bill being examined in Parliament that proposes creating a development co-operation agency.


“Clearer goals would increase Italy’s influence and its contribution to global development,” said DAC Chair Erik Solheim, citing the country’s leadership in food security and sustainable agriculture as an example of what it is capable of. “Global development aid hit a record high in 2013 despite economic pressures. ODA makes a huge difference to the world’s poor and we look forward to Italy being a growing part of this effort.”


Italian Official Development assistance, or ODA, decreased steadily between 2008 and 2012, due in part to pressures from the economic crisis, but it rose in 2013. While it remains far from a longstanding UN target for ODA to equal 0.7% of gross national income (GNI), Italy has committed to raise its ODA/GNI ratio from 0.14% in 2012 to 0.28% - 0.31% in 2017. It has also taken steps to improve the way it communicates its ODA flows to the DAC.


The 2014 review recommends that Italy concentrate on fewer strategic multilateral partners as it focuses on fewer recipient countries.


Of 17 recommendations made in an earlier Peer Review, in 2009, Italy has fully implemented three. Ten others have been partially implemented and four have not been acted upon, including one to overhaul the legal framework for development co-operation.


DAC members are peer reviewed every 4-5 years to monitor their performance and hold them accountable for past commitments. Led by two DAC members, a review typically takes 6-8 months and uses input from the review country government and officials, civil society, the private sector and other donors in developing countries. Read more here.


For further information on the review, journalists should contact Elisabeth Thioleron in the OECD’s Development Co-operation Directorate. For any other queries, or to request a copy of the review, journalists should contact the OECD’s Media Division (+33 1 45 24 97 00).


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