Focus 2030
Subscribe to our newsletter  |  en  |   | 

Building back forward: the future of Italy’s development cooperation

Published 14 February 2023 in News

The project Building back forward: the future of Italy’s development cooperation is led by the Italian think tank Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), one of the leading think tanks in Italy.

Focus 2030 Grant

Name of the Project: « Building back forward: the future of Italy’s development cooperation.»

Timing: September 2022 – June 2023

Main objective: Promote a renewed narrative in favor of an ambitious Italian development cooperation policy and the modernization of development instruments contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


After a new political coalition came to power in September 2022, in a global context disrupted by multiple ongoing crises (Covid-19, Ukraine, climate change...), it is essential for Italian NGOs to raise awareness among newly appointed parliamentarians and ministers, as well as citizens, on issues of international solidarity and development cooperation. This is the work carried out by the think tank IAI through this project, supported by Focus 2030.

First activities and results

  • Creating synergies. Meetings between Italian civil society organizations to coordinate actions on international cooperation.
  • Organizations of an event. Organization of a roundtable on international cooperation in December 2022 in the presence of the President of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defense, of representatives of the Italian government, and leaders of the campaign led by Italian NGOs to promote the goal of allocating 0.7% of GNI to official development assistance (ODA).

During the roundtable, the Deputy Minister for Cooperation pledged that Italy’s official development assistance would reach the international target of 0.7% of the country’s GNI by 2030.

  • Measuring public perceptions and support for Italian development assistance policies. Implementation of an opinion survey (the report in English can be downloaded here) among a representative sample of the population, in partnership with the Center for the Study of Political Change at the University of Siena.
  • The results were presented at the roundtable:
    • 66% of Italians surveyed in September 2022 declare they do not know the percentage of GNI that Italy allocates to Official Development Assistance (ODA). Approximately 8% chose the correct answer.
    • 54% of respondents can correctly define the Sustainable Development Goals from a list of proposed items.
    • A relative majority of respondents (around 40%) declare that ODA levels should remain stable; and slightly less than 40% favor increasing them. Among center and left-leaning voters, a majority declares support for an increase in ODA; among right-leaning voters, those in favor of maintaining the status quo prevail.
    • ODA is viewed positively by the public, who declares that it helps the economies of recipient countries, increases their self-sufficiency, and supports the most vulnerable groups. There are doubts, however, about its effectiveness, with regard to the management of aid by partner governments.
    • For 41% of respondents, Italy’s international image would benefit from increased spending on international cooperation. In comparison, 31% estimate that the same could be said of an increase in defense spending.
    • One-third of respondents have participated in more than one act of solidarity towards developing countries in the past year and 28% acted once. Among those who have, donations, purchasing fair trade products, and petitions are the main actions taken. These individuals report higher levels of support for official development assistance.