Italy’s WGA tends to be pragmatic and based on a case-by-case approach with a limited conceptual basis. Despite some institutional weaknesses, it has been successful in ensuring greater policy coherence between different ministries and departments as well as in building mutual trust and confidence through the real-world cooperation of military and civilian personnel.
In terms of its success factors, one can say that dialogue and cooperation with and ownership by the local authorities (at all levels) play a central role. Another factor is the role de facto entrusted with the embassy/ambassador in the country concerned, which continues to be crucial when it comes to designing a vision for Italy’s engagement and to bringing various national and local actors together.
Since the political and institutional system does not provide for clear and permanent leadership or guidance, the role of individual personalities (both members of the government and civil servants) matters more than formal coordination mechanisms in the decision-making process. When the right network of the right people has been in place, the guidance provided has been effective in enabling a WGA, despite the fact that a lot of follow-up work has remained to be done at the administrative and working levels.
Owing to the absence of national documents, guidelines and procedures, almost every initiative requires additional efforts to be designed and implemented as well as daily monitoring to ensure that coordination continues to be practiced by all actors involved. Once put in motion, the push for a WGA is usually sustained over time, even when there are subsequent changes in the political leadership.
Since the EU played a significant role in raising Italy’s awareness about the WGA as well as in influencing and shaping Italy’s WGA-related activities, Italy has high expectations of the EU and it has been consistently pushing for an EU WGA in Libya, on migration issues, and in the Horn of Africa. Regarding Libya and the migration issue, Italy has provided inputs and leadership to the relevant EU CSDP initiatives. What’s more, via the so-called ‘Global Compact for Migration’, Italy has made a written contribution to a comprehensive and long-term strategy for EU external action on migration, which has influenced subsequent European Council conclusions and European Commission proposals in this field.
A WGA approach also characterises Italy’s participation in the Global Coalition Against Daesh. Italy supported a multidimensional approach identified in the coalition’s different lines of action (military progress, stabilisation, counter-financing, preventing the movement of foreign terrorist fighters, and countering propaganda) and the subsequent involvement of a multitude of actors at the national level. Italy is also among the top contributors to the Global Coalition in Iraq, supporting its efforts in all lines of action and developing a multi-dimensional strategy that integrates international and national engagement in order to maximise effectiveness and coherence.