Nino Sergi: «The establishment of a national associative network is a precious and unavoidable opportunity»


Article published on on 16 April 2021

by Nino Sergi, president emeritus of INTERSOS and policy advisor of LINK

Much of the Italian Third Sector has been able to react with commitment and innovative initiatives to the difficulties caused by the pandemic. It responded to social, health and sometimes survival needs where public action was insufficient or non-existent.

The world of solidarity, inserted in the territories and in direct contact with the needs of the people, especially the weakest, has been able to give effective, appreciated and recognized responses . However, without yet that institutional recognition of subsidiarity as a founding principle of the social order; without however overcoming the deleterious tendency to keep the Third Sector in an ancillary position with respect to the public administrations, often unable to know the social realities and their needs as much as the organizations immersed in them; however, without yet their involvement in the deliberative moments.

The exhausting legislative reform of the Third Sector, which still remains incomplete five years after the enabling law, is in any case producing good results: both  in the assessment and strengthening of the various ETS, and in the recognition of the value and representativeness of the national and regional authorities which are also required to participate in the planning and planning of public institutions. A step forward, the latter, which must in any case be conquered so that it is not seen as a concession or a purely formal fulfilment.

If there was still a need,  the pandemic has taught us that “we are all in the same boat”  and that we are required to row together and jointly as much as possible. For civil society organizations engaged in international cooperation and solidarity, the establishment of a national associative network is a precious and inescapable opportunity to strengthen the path of greater aggregation and authoritative representativeness, required even more now in the difficult situation of our country and of the communities in the many partner countries. A unifying path which, by making the most of the variegated richness of existing associative specificities and identities, can decisively contribute to strengthening their meaning, message, capacity for proposal and response and representative weight in the dialogue with the institutions.

It is impressive to observe the repetition over time of the common desire for greater unity  in order to be stronger in representing the values, priorities, experiences and needs of international cooperation…  And equally impressive is the repeated inability to implement this common aspiration to join forces , without wasting them in dispersive rivulets of division.

Among the new associative networks of Third Sector Entities that will arise from the legislative reform, there cannot be but the one representative and inclusive of the whole non-profit world of international cooperation and solidarity. Don’t waste this opportunity. History will judge us. How will the society that surrounds us judge us, which does not understand and cannot bear sterile divisions and false hegemonic aims, in the world of solidarity . The time is now and the coming weeks will be decisive for defining that common path that can give greater meaning, authority, strength to the subjectivity of civil society entities and associations engaged in cooperation, solidarity, international culture for development that is human, shared , sustainable