Minister Di Maio in Pakistan pulls the strings of 40 years of cooperation

The Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, recently concluded his mission in the countries of the region and in Qatar, with a day in Pakistan, where he met the national authorities in order to evaluate forms of collaboration and support from Italy, regarding the possible humanitarian emergency that puts refugees from Afghanistan at the center of attention.

The start of the Italian development cooperation with Pakistan coincides in fact with the beginning of the exodus from Afghanistan 40 years ago. Over the years, a solid relationship has been achieved with Pakistani institutions for the development of remote communities as well as their support in the event of natural disasters even beyond the Afghan crises and a growing bridge between the academic and business realities of the two countries based on the great human and technological.

Italy, much loved in Pakistan, is hosting  one of the most numerous Pakistani diasporas in the European Union.

The visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs will give further impetus to the close collaboration between the two countries to strengthen mutual coordination on regional and international issues and in the field of development cooperation, initiatives and exchanges between the two countries at university and entrepreneurial and individual levels, intensifying trade and investment.

During the meeting held at the Italian Embassy, Emanuela Benini, director of the Islamabad office, introduced the Italian colleagues involved in the refugee issue in the presence of Ambassador Andreas Ferrarese and the rest of the delegation. At the moment, the flows of civilians moving to the neighboring countries of Afghanistan are manageable. “Everything, however, risks degenerating in the coming months due to a possible food and economic crisis.”, Highlighted Minister Luigi Di Maio.

The Cooperation between Pakistan and Italy is characterized by projects in the sectors of the Environment, Agrifood with a focus on olive growing, university training and entrepreneurial connections for youth employability, internal and sustainable tourism as income for remote communities, the precious cultural and natural heritage, possibly through an Italian-Pakistani network, companies and institutions.

This framework is open to the possibility of working, as already done, in areas where people from Afghanistan pre-exist or will concentrate. “Italy is there and will make its contribution felt also thanks to the Italian Plan for the Afghan people, which we are carrying out at the MAECI in coordination with the other ministries involved. We cannot leave anything to chance. ”, the Minister said.

Furthermore, addressing the director during the visit to the embassy offices, Minister Di Maio wanted to underline the fundamental role of Development Cooperation in the country. The minister also met with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his counterpart Shah Mahmood Qureshi, who reiterated that the international community should remain committed to Afghanistan to prevent economic collapse and a terrible humanitarian crisis. “In view of the evolving situation in Afghanistan, the international community has a responsibility to show solidarity with the Afghans,” Minister Qureshi said. Minister Di Maio thanked Pakistan for the role it played in the evacuation of Italian citizens from Afghanistan.

Planting of 40 olive trees to launch the ASviS Festival in Pakistan

The Italian Embassy and AICS Islamabad with the Pakistani authorities competent for Youth and Olive, have organized on September 29, 2021 an olive tree planting ceremony in Islamabad, on the same day of 2020, within the same framework of the Italian Global Festival on Sustainable Development they led with PPAF a Workshop on Remote Communities Self-Development.

The ceremony has taken place this year at the Islamabad Fatima Jinnah Park, in the presence of both Mr. Usman Dar, Special Adviser to the Prime Minister on Youth Affairs and Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme, and the Ambassador of Italy to Pakistan, Mr. Andreas Ferrarese, together with Ms. Emanuela Benini, Director of the Italian Agency Office for Development Cooperation, AICS, in Islamabad.

The master of ceremonies was Dr. Tariq Muhammad, National Project Director of the National PakOlive growing Programme of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, who donated the 40 olive trees and organized the planting session in the garden of the Capital Development Agency’ Environment Directorate in the same F-9 Park.

The ceremony was planned in the wake of the launch of the OliveCulture Project, an Holistic and Multi-professional Mechanism for a Pakistani Olive Oil Value Chain, that the government of Italy is funding with a grant through CIHEAM the “Mediterranean Agronomic Institute” of Bari, Italy, and promoting closely with the Pakistani Government, through the newly instituted Pakistan Oilseed Department of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research, whose Managing Director, Mr. Khair Muhammad Kakar, was part of the ceremony and a tree bears his name.

The event was the occasion for AICS to gather all representatives of Olive-oriented past, future and ongoing projects, as mentioned above. Were also participating the representatives of the Italy-funded Pakistan Poverty Reduction Programme PPR, whose Olive products component is ongoing: Qazi Azmat Isa, CEO of the executing agency Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and the PPR Manager Shams Badruddin and Muhammad Ashraf Programme Officer. In the framework of the PPR part of the participants had attended the PPR Olive December 2019 Workshop at the CIHEAM in Bari, organized by the Rome-based LUISS Business School.


PPR had also carried out with LUISS a special training for Young Communicators for Development YCD from five universities of Balochistan and KPK, under the coordination of prof. Saira Ahmed, Director Sustainability & Environment, Capital University of Science and Technology, who was participating in the ceremony and by interacting with the NYC members the event had as its main fruit to pave the way for a convergence of purposes between NYC and YCD.

Other strong actors in the Olive Projects are the Commission for Vocational Training at the federal and the provincial levels and two trees were named after the National Executive Director, Chairman Mr. Javed Hassan and the National tive Director of NAVTTC.

The former Ambassador of Pakistan to Rome, Mr Riyaz Nadeem, participated as President of the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) who shall host the event of the 13 October on “Biodiversity & Circular Economy in Pakistan towards “Well-being in Green” Could Youth bridge the gaps?” within the framework of the Italian Global Sustainable Development 2021 Festival. The tree planting the ceremony was the actual field activity preceding such event.