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 Agreement of Cooperation between the two Countries was signed. Since 1998 the Italian development cooperation has an office in Hanoi, which since 2007 is responsible for cooperation activities also in Cambodia and Laos. Starting from January 2016 – as a result of the reform of Italian development cooperation (Law 125/2014) – the office in Hanoi has become part of the Italian Development Cooperation Agency (AICS), with financial and administrative autonomy.
Italy supports Vietnam in its new challenges as Lower Middle Income Country with a cooperation programme of 10 ongoing initiatives and 3 in pipeline, for a total amount of more than 100 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 nominated Director of the Regional AICS Office based in Hanoi in July 2016, assuming his position from November of the same year. He arrived from AICS HQ where he was assigned as Senior Evaluation & Program Planning Officer, focusing on 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 has a Doctorate in Crop Physiology and a Master’s degree in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Bologna.
Claudio initially joined AICS Hanoi in January 2015 as a UN Fellow and was then hired as a Programme Officer in December 2015. Bringing in project management expertise, he provides technical support in project formulation, implementation and monitoring, especially for projects in the sectors of SME Development, Environment Protection and Sustainable Energy. In his capacity, he also assists the Regional Director in defining and implementing the development strategy of AICS Hanoi, and supports him in management matters. Claudio earned his MSc in Development Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies - University of London.
Niccolo’ joined AICS Hanoi as UN Fellow in January 2016. In December 2016, once terminated the programme, he decided to continue working with us as Programme Officer. With a focus on programme management, he provides technical support to the formulation, implementation and management of projects in Private Sector Development. In particular, he follows the programs regarding SMEs, Vocational Education and Training and Inclusive Development. Niccolo’ earned his Master’s degree in Economics and Management of Public Administration and International Organizations from Bocconi University in Milan.
Tran Thu Hang
Hang joined AICS Hanoi as National Programme Coordinator in July 2017. With a focus on stakeholder management, she provides technical support to the management of projects, and policy updates in the fields of (SMEs), Vocational Education and Training and Sustainable Energy. Hang has 15 year experiences working in ODA project development and management. She has also worked on the cross-cutting themes of Gender and Governance. Hang earned her Master’s degree in Applied Anthropology and Development from the Australian National University (ANU). She believes that everyone deserves to benefit from globalization and enjoy their rights.
Nguyen Quoc Dung
Dung joined AICS Hanoi as Project Officer in May 2005. Bringing more than 20 year experience in formulation, coordination and implementation of Water and Environmental ODA projects financed by various donor governments, he oversees AICS Hanoi projects in the Water, Environment and Health sectors. Dung holds a Master’s degree in Hydraulic Engineering.
Programme Assitant (UN Fellowship Program)
Nicolò joined AICS Hanoi in January 2017 as Programme Assistant through the Italian Fellowship Programme, a programme sponsored by the Government of Italy and implemented by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA). As Programme Assistant, his role includes project cycle management on projects financed by the Italian Government in Vietnam and the identification of new project proposals, in particular in the Sustainable Energy sector. Before joining AICS, Nicolò worked for RES4MED and for UNIDO Country Office in Vietnam. He holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Management of Public Administration and International Organizations from Bocconi University in Milan.
Nguyen Thanh Mai
Mai joined AICS Hanoi covering the Admin-Accountant function in June 2017. From 2008 to 2011 she worked with Cooperazione e Sviluppo Onlus (CESVI Onlus) in the same position. Mai earned her Bachelor 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 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 a top graduate of Hanoi University (2011-2015) and fluent in both English and Italian.
Bui Quang Chung
Chung joined AICS Hanoi as Driver and Office Assistant in February 2007. Previously, Chung worked as driver for the General Director of a joint venture company and for other firms. Chung graduated from Hanoi University of Economics. He enjoys working with foreign organizations.