€100 million for climate change. On Friday, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni announced that Rome would pour such a sum into the “loss and damage” fund – which is being set up by richer participants at the COP28 climate conference to aid developing countries in coping with the consequences of climate change.
- She also added that 70% of Italy’s own €4.2 billion Climate Fund – itself part of another global fund to finance the poorer countries’ green transition – would go to African States, which have been her foreign policy priority since she took office.
Food security in focus. The Italian government’s ongoing expansion of efforts and ties with Africa (much of which will happen through the upcoming Mattei Plan) encompasses green finance and cooperation in various fields, especially energy and agriculture. Global food security is also among her foreign policy priorities, she said at COP28, noting that Rome intends to help Africa develop its alimentary production system.
- Italy is engaged in “ensuring disease-resistant crops resilient to climate change” and “devising ever more modern and innovative agricultural techniques that can improve both the quality and quantity of production and reduce negative externalities such as excessive water consumption.”
- Research “can help optimise the link between food and land,” added PM Meloni.
- The premise of all this is “equal cooperation,” she stressed, as Africa “does not need charity” but rather “the opportunity to compete on equal terms. We must make Africa prosperous with its own resources to guarantee sufficient food production and economic growth.”
- United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who spoke later, quoted her saying that “this is food not just to survive, but to thrive.”
Follow the trajectory. All these elements are part of the wider discussion Italy intends to foster in 2024 as head of the G-7. Government officials already indicated that the Global South will be a key priority, and the Italian PM reiterated as much at COP28, noting that the agriculture and climate challenges will be “at the centre of the Italian G-7 presidency,” through which Italy intends to “promote innovative tools, starting from the results achieved at COP28.”
- She explicitly mentioned the Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action signed by the leaders of 134 countries during the summit.
On the sidelines: beyond a brief meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog, PM Meloni also met with her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi – he later wrote on X that he “[trusts] in the joint efforts of India and Italy for a prosperous and sustainable future,” having cooperated with her on bringing the African Union within the G-20. She also spoke with Lebanese PM Najib Miqati about the crisis in Gaza and the situation on Lebanon’s Southern border and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the importance of finding a political solution (as well as the “excellent” bilateral ties).