SINGLE COUNTRY PROFILE

Basic Information
Year of approval of the SD strategy and updates

The National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS) was presented to the Council of Ministers and officially approved by the Inter-ministerial Committee for Economic Programming (CIPE) in 2017.

It was prepared by the Italian Ministry of Environment Land and Sea (MoE) in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and all line Ministries, including other national authorities (National Statistical Institute - ISTAT, National Institute for Environmental Research - ISPRA, etc.).

In accordance with the Delibera CIPE 108/2017 the MoE provides a yearly review to be presented to CIPE.

The NSDS timeframe is set at 2030 and the Strategy is periodically updated, every three years.

Type of SD strategy

The NSDS is intended as the overarching strategic framework to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Italy and represents the national reference framework for planning and programming policies and for environmental assessments (SEA, EIA). Policy coherence for sustainable development (PCSD) is one of the guiding principles and tools.

The NSDS is an update of the former Environmental Action Strategy for Sustainable Development (2002-2010) widened to define broad guidelines for economic, social and environmental policies, aiming at achieving the sustainable development goals of the 2030 Agenda.

The NSDS provides for concrete SDGs activities on the five dimensions of the 2030 Agenda: “People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Partnership” as well as a set of “sustainability vectors” – crosscutting, transversal areas of action that are essential to guiding, managing and monitoring the integration of the SDGs into national policies, plans and projects. These vectors include: (i) Common knowledge (ii) Monitoring and evaluating policies, plans and projects; (iii) Institutions, participation and partnerships; (iv) Education, awareness and communication; (v) Modernising public administration and restructuring public expenditure. The NSDS covers both the domestic dimension and the principles and purposes of international cooperation, in line with the Italian Cooperation's three-year Programming Document.

Lead ministry/institution in the SD strategy process

Since its adoption, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers oversees the implementation process of the National Strategy.

The Presidency of the Council of Ministers relies on the support of the Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, respectively for the domestic and the international policy making, as well as of the Ministry of Economy and Finance for creating synergies with formal economic policies and for assessing, on a yearly basis, long-term impacts of the budget on national sustainable well-being.

Link to the SD strategy document

The NSDS (in Italian)

Further information about the SD strategy process

In 2019, a scientific and technical body, called Cabina di Regia Benessere Italia, was established by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers - DPCM - 9th of July 2019) aiming at implementing a coordinating mechanism at the centre of government level. Among its tasks, the Cabina di Regia ensures technical and scientific support to the Prime Minister in the coordination of equitable and sustainable well-being (BES) for national policies and in the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS).

Furthermore, with the aim to follow a more coherent PCSD approach in domestic policies (Decree Law 111 of 14 October 2019), the Inter-ministerial Committee for Economic Programming (CIPE) has been renamed into the Inter-ministerial Committee for Economic Programming for Sustainable Development (CIPESS), as of 1st January 2021. The change in the title foster the mandate of this Committee to steer economic programming towards the National Sustainable Development Strategy objectives in the context of Agenda 2030.

The NSDS is updated every three years. According to Art. 3 of Law 221/2015 and to the CIPE Resolution 108/2017, the MoE holds the initiative to propose to the Government a revised text of the NSDS, building on an institutional consultation process, to be submitted to the Presidency of the Council of Ministry for political endorsement. The first revision, expected for December 2020, will be completed by spring 2021 (due to Covid-19 emergency).

The revision process for the 2020 will benefit from a project financed by the European Commission within the Structural Reform Programme 2017-2020, called “Policy coherence for sustainable development: mainstreaming the SDGs in Italian decision-making process”, submitted by the Ministry of the Environment, in October 2019. The project, carried out in cooperation with the OECD and the DG Reform of the European Commission, aims at identifying a possible roadmap leading to a legislative and structural reform to strengthen policy coherence in achieving the SDGs.

Agenda 2030 Implementation

The NSDS is intended as the overarching strategic framework to guide the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in Italy (for further information see also previous and following sections).

Leading Ministry and respective unit

Since its adoption, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers oversees the implementation process of the National Strategy.

Other ministries involved

The Presidency of the Council of Ministers relies on the support of the Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea and of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, respectively for the domestic and the international policy making, as well as of the Ministry of Economy and Finance for creating synergies with formal economic policies and for assessing, on a yearly basis, long-term impacts of the budget on national sustainable well-being.

Main contact point for the implementation process

Main contact point for the NSDS implementation process:

Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea

Directorate General for sustainable growth and the quality of development

General Director Oliviero Montanaro

email: montanaro.oliviero@minambiente.it

Division II – Strategies for sustainable development

Mara Cossu

email: cossu.mara@minambiente.it

Technical Assistance Sogesid

Anna Bombonato

email: bombonato.anna@minambiente.it 

Links to main websites/documents on national implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs

The NSDS strategy document (in Italian)

Voluntary National Reviews

In July 2017, Italy submitted its first Voluntary National Review (VNR) focused on the National Strategy for Sustainable Development (NSDS).

Vertical Integration

The Government encourages local and regional authorities to be active and to take part in the implementation process. The NSDS, as a matter of fact, has been endorsed at regional and local level, through the adoption of the document in the “State-Regions Conference”, the public representative body that fosters cooperation between State, Regions and Autonomous Provinces. Decree 152/2006 and subsequent amendments calls upon Regions and Autonomous Provinces for approving their own strategies for sustainable development within a year since the adoption of the NSDS. In accordance with the Decree, the MoE activated a coordination mechanism with Regions, Autonomous Provinces and metropolitan cities and signed agreements with them, to increase coherence in the implementation of regional and metropolitan strategies (for further information see the following section “Sub-national activities”).

In addition, Law 125/2014 recognizes local subnational authorities to be an integral part of Italian development cooperation and play an active role in policy definition and planning. Representatives of regional and local governments and of the public and private sectors are allowed to participate to the meetings of the Cabina di Regia Benessere Italia.

EU linkages

Since 2016, Italy has strongly supported a coordinated and concerted effort at EU level to implement the 2030 Agenda in a coherent and effective manner.  The creation of the Working Party on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development  (2030 Agenda WP) under the auspices of the General Affairs Council (GAC), advocated also by Italy, is an essential step forward to further involve the European institutions, including the Council, in the implementation, follow up and review process of the SDGs at EU level. The Council Conclusions[1], adopted by GAC on the 2030 Agenda and developed by the 2030 Agenda WP, reaffirm the commitment of the EU towards the 2030 Agenda, including the need to develop an overarching comprehensive strategy to guide the EU efforts in implementing the 2030 Agenda, also through improved policy coherence and strengthened vertical and horizontal coordination.

In addition, in 2020, the MoE will benefit from the project financed by the European Commission within the Structural Reform Programme 2017-2020, called “Policy coherence for sustainable development: mainstreaming the SDGs in Italian decision-making process”. The project, carried out in cooperation with the OECD and the DG Reform of the European Commission, aims at identifying a possible roadmap leading to a legislative and structural reform to strengthen policy coherence in achieving the sustainable development goals. The EU Green Deal (and the Institutional mechanisms needed for its implementation) together with the reform of the European Semester, that aims at integrating the SDGs, represent an acceleration in the EU action for 2030 Agenda implementation.

[1] “A sustainable European future: The EU response to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (10370/17)”  – Council conclusions (20 June 2017)

“Towards an ever more sustainable Union by 2030 (8286/19) - Council conclusions (9 April 2019)

“Building a sustainable Europe by 2030 – Progress thus far and next steps (14835/19) - Council conclusions (10 December 2019)

Horizontal Integration

Since its adoption, the Presidency of the Council of Ministers oversees the implementation process of the National Strategy, with the support of the Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, as well as of the Ministry of Economy and Finance. The Cabina di Regia Benessere Italia, the scientific and technical body established by the Presidency of the Council of Ministers (Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers - DPCM - 9th of July 2019) in 2019, ensures technical and scientific support to the Prime Minister in the coordination of equitable and sustainable well-being (BES) for national policies and in the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS).

Review

n accordance with the Delibera CIPE 108/2017 the MoE provides a yearly review to be presented to CIPE.

The NSDS timeframe is set at 2030 and the Strategy is updated, every three years. According to Art. 3 of Law 221/2015 and to the CIPE Resolution 108/2017, the Ministry of the Environment, Land and Sea has to propose to the Government a revised text of the NSDS, building on a broad and structured institutional and participatory process, overviewed by the Presidency of the Council of Ministry. By 2021, the Ministry will complete the revision of the Italian NSDS.

Indicators

The National Statistic System (SISTAN), coordinated by the Italian National Istitute for Statistics (Istat), is in charge of guaranteeing statistical coverage to the Inter-agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (UN-IAEG-SDGs indicators) as well as to NSDS monitoring system.

Periodically, ISTAT presents an update and an extension of the set of indicators for measuring sustainable development, monitoring its objectives and published a report that analyses the indicators and their interlinkages: 2020 SDGs Report, Statistical information for 2030 Agenda in Italy. The SDGs indicators consider and integrate the well-being indicators.

Drawing on the collected data, including the yearly reports submitted by the MoE to the CIPE in accordance with art. 2 of the Delibera CIPE 108/2017, an implementation report on the NSDS is published every year.

A first set of indicators for monitoring the implementation of the NSDS has been selected with the support of the National Statistics System (SISTAN) within the framework of UN-IAEG-SDGs indicators and well-being indicators.

Regions and metropolitan cities are currently working within the NSDS proposed indicators framework, in order to deliver their own set of indicators within the regional and local strategies for sustainable development.

An annual progress report outlines the development cooperation activities implemented in the reference year and the results achieved. The Document is prepared by the MAECI and it collects contributions related to the development cooperation activities of public administrations and public entities.

Participation

Following the spirit of the 2030 Agenda, civil society engagement and consultations with public and private institutions were central in defining the NSDS in 2017, from the context analysis measuring the distance to the SDGs achievement to the identification of main strengths and weaknesses to be addressed, leading to the definition of widely shared national objectives.

The Government involved a number of national public research institutes (namely the CNR, ISPRA, ENEA) in the definition and implementation of policies to ensure an approach based on scientifically founded information. More than 400 stakeholders including Universities, research centres and NGOs contributed through their factual and prospective inputs to the NSDS.

To ensure continuity in the engagement of civil society and stakeholders, the MoE, in accordance with Delibera CIPE 108/2017, launched a National Forum for Sustainable Development. The Forum is divided in 5 working groups (People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace and Vectors for sustainability) coordinated by a steering committee composed of representatives of civil society networks. This represents a unique coordination mechanism that gives voice to stakeholders allowing for increased accountability through a strengthened participation in the NSDS implementation and review processes.

The MoE signed an agreement with some Italian Universities that provide technical and scientific support to the implementation process of the SNSVS, in particular to the coordination mechanism of the Forum, in close cooperation with the steering committee and the coordinators of the working groups.

Regions and Autonomous Provinces are currently establishing the Regional Fora for sustainable development in synergy with the National Forum and the consultation activities and mechanisms developed by the metropolitan cities.

In addition, Italian Law 125 provides for a National Conference on Development Cooperation that strongly encourages engagement with civil society and other key stakeholders. The first Conference took place in 2018.

In the 2030 Agenda young people are identified as “critical agents of change” that “will find in the new Goals a platform to channel their infinite capacities for activism into the creation of a better world”. In line with this spirit, young associations have been invited to participate into the steering committee and in the working groups of the National Forum for Sustainable Development. Regional centres for environmental and sustainable development education have been appointed in some regions as sustainability pivot to localize the SDGs and they are actually working with schools and cultural centres to spread sustainability towards young generations.

In addition, in the framework of the COP26 UN climate change conference, Italy, with the support of the MoE, will host the preparatory session "Pre-COP26" and the event dedicated to young people "Youth4Climate: Driving Ambition". The event will offer young people from all over the world the opportunity to develop concrete proposals for Pre-COP26 in Milan and COP26 in Glasgow. 

Subnational Activities

To improve coherence and strengthen vertical coordination, in accordance with art. 34 of Legislative Decree 152/2006, the MoE activated a coordination mechanism with Regions, Autonomous Provinces and metropolitan cities aiming at exchanging experiences and comparing methodological approaches to increase coherence in the implementation of regional and metropolitan strategies. To this aim, the Ministry also signed agreements with each of them, providing financial and technical support. Additional technical support is also provided by the Ministry through the CReIAMO PA Project (Competences and Networks for the Environmental Integration and for the Improvement of the Public Administration Organizations) in the framework of the programming period 2014-2020 of the European Social Fund. This experience aims at accompanying the process of localizing the NSDS and the SDGs at subnational and local level. Find out more here (in Italian).