Italy is back at the European Development Days

Brussels – The 11th edition of the European Development Days will be held in Brussels on June 7 and 8. Organised by the European Commission, the EDD bring the development community together each year to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges. This year, the Italian delegation will be led by the Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mario Giro, and the Director of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), Laura Frigenti.

Each year, the EDD attract over 5 000 participants from over 140 countries, representing 1 200 organisations from the fields of development cooperation, human rights and humanitarian aid. The EU also engages political leaders, development practitioners, the private sector and civil society in shaping the EU’s policies for tackling poverty worldwide. In its Global Village, composed of up to 76 stands, development actors will to demonstrate the benefits of the European Union’s international cooperation. They communicate results and share their experience about “innovative projects and research initiatives”.

Following the approval of a new reform on the Italian international cooperation system in August 2014, its implementation symbolised by the launch of the Italian Agency for Development cooperation (AICS) in January 2016, the Italian Development Cooperation will attend EDD with an important delegation led by the Deputy ministry for Foreign Affairs, Mario Giro, and the Director of AICS, Laura Frigenti.

Mario Giro will attend the first High Level panel of EDD on June 7 – “Investing in creativity, the future is now: from human development to inclusive growth and sustainable societies” – , co-organized by AICS with the British Council, Goethe Institut and other ten European associations.

Since 2008, creative sectors are among the fastest-growing worldwide. Copyright industries contribute to GDP an average 5.2 %, sometimes exceeding 10 %. Similar trends are observed for CCIs contribution to national employment; an average 5.36 % worldwide. Culture’s social impacts enhance also important indirect economic impacts. Investments in cultural participation empower citizens and communities, develop connectedness, well-being, identity formation, social cohesion, value and behaviour change. The digital evolution opens up new opportunities for business development, including in remote areas. During this session, Mario Giro and other speakers (including Firmin Edouard Matoko from Unesco, the singer Rokia Traoré and Felwine Sarr from the University Gaston Bergé in Senegal) will raise awareness about the contribution of creativity to sustainable growth and employment, notably for youth. Also on the agenda are local development, cultural tourism, and trade of cultural goods and services.

In the afternoon of the same day will be the turn of the workshop on “Inclusive Business and the Creation of Development Ecosystems“, organised with De Lab and Inclusive Business Action Network, which will see the participation of the Director of the AICS, Laura Frigenti, together with Lucia del Negro of DeLab and Christian Jahn, Executive Director of IBAN. In this session, speakers will talk about sectoral cross-sectoral partnerships and development-impact innovations. To expand the networks of people involved in international co-operation and to promote innovation in methods and content, the Italian Development Cooperation Agency intends to involve profit organizations and will do so for the first time in 2017 with a dedicated call that will allocate 5 million euros for initiatives proposed by private profit or social enterprises.

This is an absolute novelty, however, provided by the reform adopted in 2014 which includes in the new subjects of cooperation the Italian private sector. Finally, AICS will be present at the Global Village with a stand (“Awakening Beauty”) that will showcase the support of Italian talent in cooperative initiatives to protect the cultural heritage at risk, along with the colors and richness of the stories of cultural businesses supported by the Italian development cooperation.

For more information please visit AICS and EDD17 websites.

By Joshua Massarenti.

Sources: Aics, EDD 2017.