Italy: Change of direction needed to implement the 2030 Agenda
Published on Thu, 2016-09-08 20:32
Due to the lasting impact of the international financial crisis and resulting increase in poverty and insecurity, and especially due to the Government’s extensive austerity policies, Italy faces challenges in many of the areas addressed by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development goal.
Even in the one area that has seen a positive trend in recent years, namely, the development of renewable energy, there has been a reversal of the virtuous cycle since 2015. In the absence of a national energy plan, government policies continue to encourage fossil fuels (despite popular opposition), and large infrastructural works with new rules to eliminate environmental controls (introduced through the Stability Law in 2016) and with an increase in soil depletion.
Add to this a very weak and recessive macroeconomic situation, with an excessively high and growing public debt/GNP ratio, which in 2015 reached a peak of 133.1 percent and the “deterioration of competitiveness and of productivity” according to European Commission data. Italy also continues to have among the highest rates of corruption (in 2015 it was next to last in Europe, after Bulgaria, according to Transparency International).
An area that could revive Italy's role in implementing the 2030 Agenda is that of international cooperation, thanks to the recent new law and to a small sign of reverse from previous year declines, with an official development assistance reaching 0.22 percent of GDP in 2015, moving the country from last to fourth to last among European countries. We still need to see how the funds will be used and how civil society will be involved in developing countries. And above all, the effort could be nullified if the policies on arms exports continue. These rose 300 percent in 2015, reaching a record of over 8.2 billion euros in sales since WWII – even to countries at war, despite the national laws explicitly forbid it.
Source: Italy National Report, Social Watch Report 2016.