Italian MPs take side to defend aid. The Italian budget is in the making right now; the Council of Ministers is expected to endorse the plan early next week, which will have then to go through the scrutiny of the Parliament. The early news does not bode well as it seems that at this stage the ODA budgets managed my the MOFA is likely to slide back from this year’s levels.
The numbers at stake are minimal compared to the ODA targets Italy has endorsed many times in the past; the money this is about won’t change the Italy’s station in the donor community. But the political struggle to defend some minimal ODA increase is nevertheless important. In fact, if ODA budgets go down in 2014, it will be most unlikely to realize the calendar to achieve 0,31% by 2017, which was endorsed officially just a few months back. Secondly, this is also about the power balance within the government: between the ministry of foreign affairs and the treasury, which is always playing ahead of pack and is able to rig-fence the budgets allocations needed to comply with the commitments they manage directly, leaving the other players in the wet.
So, in the face of the sombre news, CSOs and MPs have take action by corralling their camps and joining their forces. They appealed to the prime minister (see the MP letter to the PM Letta: http://bit.ly/1bSgP8P) , asking for commitments to be implemented lest Italy’s credibility reaches new lows. Incidentally, this is taking place in the very same week Italy is getting peer reviewed by DAC, which is exposing Italy’s weaknesses.
The good news is that an Italian ODA constituency has come together. The question is “will be the Goverment listen”?