The Office in Hanoi of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation
The Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS in its Italian acronym) contributes to international efforts to alleviate poverty worldwide and supports developing countries in their path towards Sustainable Development. AICS is one of the key innovations established by the Italian Law on International Cooperation (Law No. 125/2014). The Agency began operating in January 2016, with the aim of aligning Italy with its main European and global partners. Its basic model reflects the one used in other European countries, complying with the demand for more professional and innovative forms of cooperation and involving the methodological flexibility necessary in a continuously evolving scenario.
The Agency headquarters are in Rome. AICS runs another base in Florence and 20 field offices worldwide. These are in charge of assessing local needs, implementing development initiatives, monitoring results and building partnerships on the ground. For Italy, international cooperation is not only “an integral and qualifying aspect of Italy’s foreign policy” (article 1 of Law 125), but also almost a new and more modern form of foreign policy. According to the Law, the Agency’s mission is to "perform technical and operational activities associated with the examination, development, financing, management and control of the cooperation initiatives", with the goals of eradicating poverty, reducing inequalities, protecting of civil rights and personal dignity – including gender equality and equal opportunity – as well as preventing conflict and supporting peace processes. In other words, development is not framed as an "economic agenda" but a program of human promotion. The key themes of the future are a more equal distribution of wealth, guaranteed access to quality healthcare and education, and environmental sustainability. These are the challenges that cooperation should tackle and engage with, demonstrating a new “economy of human promotion”, conceived to involve public and private agents, uniting culture, education, employment, rights, business and community, and inspired by European and Italian models. Moreover, international cooperation should provide concrete answers to the men, women and children that flee from war and poverty. Humanitarian aid and emergency activities also come under the scope of cooperation development actors. The ownership of development processes by partner countries is indicated by the Law 125 as one of the cornerstones of all aid projects.
The Italian Development Cooperation has been present in Vietnam since 1990, when the first Financial Technical Cooperation Agreement between the two Countries was signed. Since 1998 the Italian Development Cooperation has an office in Hanoi, which since 2007 is also responsible for cooperation activities in Cambodia and Laos. Starting from January 2016 – as a result of the reform of the Italian Development Cooperation (Law 125/2014) – the office in Hanoi has become part of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS), with financial and administrative autonomy.
Italy supports Vietnam in its new challenges as Lower Middle Income Country with a cooperation programme of 11 ongoing initiatives and 5 in pipeline, for a total amount of more than 110 million Euro. Most programmes and projects are run by local entities, to allow a stronger link between funding and executing agencies, thus improving effectiveness and ensuring sustainability. On one hand, Italy’s support to Vietnam reflects Vietnam’s priorities of balancing the need for sustained economic development with the social and environmental pillars of Sustainable Development, as outlined in the Vietnam Government’s 2016-2021 Social Economic Development Plan (SEDP). On the other hand, it is also aligned with the Strategic Planning Document 2016-2018 of AICS, which highlights the emerging focus on Human Resources Development, Health, Water and Sanitation, Environment and the cross-cutting theme of Inequalities, but also on the opening of new areas where Italy can offer its expertise, such as in the field of Sustainable Energy.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are key guidelines for the economic and social development policies promoted by the Italian Cooperation, both at the global level and in Vietnam.
Martino was appointed Director of AICS Office in Hanoi in July 2016, taking up his position from November of the same year. He was previously working in AICS Rome as Senior Evaluation & Program Planning Officer, specialized in Environment, Sustainable Energy and sustainable management of Natural Resources. Martino has been working in the area of development co-operation for more than 30 years. During this period he served as Development Expert in several geographic areas such as the Near and Far East, Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. Martino holds a Doctorate in Plant Physiology and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Bologna.
Nguyen Quoc Dung
Senior Programme Coordinator
Dung joined AICS Hanoi as Project Officer in May 2005. With over 20 years of experience in formulation, coordination and implementation of ODA projects financed by various partner countries, he oversees projects in the Water, Environment and Sanitation sectors.
Daniele graduated in Development Cooperation and holds a Master’s Degree in Energy and Sustainability from Bocconi University. Previously, he worked for two years at Twins International and then RES4Africa in Sub-Saharan Africa. Thanks to this experience, he has specialized knowledge about energy sustainability and policy development. From January 2019, Daniele moved to Vietnam starting the fellowship with UN-Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Currently, he is working as Project Officer in the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) in Hanoi.
Nguyen Thanh Mai
Mai joined AICS Hanoi covering the Administrative Accountant function in June 2017. From 2008 to 2011 she worked with the Italian NGO Cooperazione e Sviluppo Onlus (CESVI Onlus) in the same position. Mai holds a Bachelor’s degree in Italian and English languages from the University of Hanoi. She loves travelling and photography.
Dao Phuong Anh
Phuong Anh joined AICS Hanoi as Secretary and Communications Officer in September 2017. Previously, she worked as Assistant to CEO at one of the most prominent Italian companies in Vietnam, as Trade Analyst at the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, and as volunteer Liaison Officer cum Assistant to National Secretariat for IPU-132 Assembly and related events at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam. She is one of the top graduates of Hanoi University (2011-2015) and fluent in both English and Italian.
Ha Quoc Binh
Binh joined AICS Hanoi as Driver in October 2017. Previously, he worked as Administrative clerk, Finance Assistant and Driver at ILO office in Hanoi. Binh graduated from Hanoi University of Foreign Studies.