In 2001, starting from the experience of decentralised and networked reception activities, performed between 1999 and 2000 by associations and NGOs, the Ministry of Interior – Department of Immigration and Civil Liberties, the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Unhcr) signed an agreement for the establishment of the “National Asylum Programme”.

That is how the first national system for the reception of asylum seekers and refugees was born. It was widespread along the Italian territory, with the engagement of central and local institutions, according to a sharing of liability between the Ministry of Interior and local authorities.

Law No.189/2002 later made official those organized reception measures, by providing for the creation of the System of protection for asylum seekers and refugees (Sprar). By the same Law, the Ministry of Interiors established the coordinating organization of the system – the Central Service for Information, Promotion, Advice, Monitoring and Support to Local Bodies – by entrusting ANCI of its management.