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Forum PA: The MFA “in the clouds”

The MFA is “in the cloud” to improve the quality of its services for citizens through a new information technology (IT) platform based on cloud computing. The project, entitled “MFA-Cloud”, was presented at the Forum PA during a conference for National G-Cloud Day.

The IT cloud will allow users to access shared online services and thus make it easier and faster for them to find information. The cloud will also enable energy savings. Services available in the cloud include “Safe Travelling”, information on scholarships, reservations for consular services, recruitment competitions and information for companies wishing to invest in a given country.

17 May – Forum PA 2012: Globalisation and the Promotion of Human Rights: the role of the MFA

The MFA’s second day at Forum PA 2012 opened with a conference on “Globalisation and the Promotion of Human Rights: the new technologies and the role of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs

The event also marked the close of the series of seminars on “Promoting Human Rights: from theory to practice” organised by the Inter-Departmental for Human Rights (Italian initials CIDU), which operates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA).

The seminars were designed for students studying international relations at Rome’s principal public and private universities. It was an opportunity for young under-graduates to enrich their academic studies by learning about the more operational and concrete aspects of Italy’s activities in protecting and promoting human rights.

Participants at this last meeting at the Nuova Fiera di Roma were required to submit projects on the subject, for which they were divided into 4 groups, by university: LUISS, La Sapienza and Roma Tre, with the 4th group incorporating Tor Vergata, LUISPIO and LUMSA.

The winning project was submitted by the students of Roma Tre, with a proposal for a portal on the Rom, Sinti and Camminanti communities.

“We noted a great interest from students, and the universities have asked us to repeat the initiative”, declared Minister Plenipotentiary Diego Brasioli, Chair of the CIDU. “This is a useful way to open the doors of the MFA to the world of learning, which represents our country’s future”.

Also attending the conference were leading personalities from the worlds of human rights and the media: Senator Pietro Marcenaro, the Hon. Jean-Lèonard Touadi, Professor Claudio Zanghì, Barbara Terenzi, Minister Plenipotentiary Pasquale Ferrara and the journalist Duilio Gianmaria.

16 May – Forum PA:Euro 2012, an MFA task force to help Italian nationals

A public awareness-raising campaign, plus internal initiatives conducted through close coordination between the Crisis Unit and Italy’s diplomatic missions abroad. This is how the Foreign Ministry is preparing its emergency-prevention measures and assistance for Italian nationals attending the European Football Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

The CFSP/CSDP Portal on Europe’s foreign and defence policy

The new CFSP/CSDP Portal ( is now online, the aim being to provide a complete picture of the European Union’s Common Foreign, Security and Defence Policy. The site, presented at Forum PA, offers a wide selection of legislative provisions, official documents and other information through an instrument that is up-to-date, innovative and easy to consult. The Portal is intended not just for those working in this field but for the growing numbers of people who wish to find out more about the role and political-institutional developments of the EU as a global actor.

Euro 2012 – Travelling safely

The plan, which was presented today at Forum PA by Vito Paganelli, from the Foreign Ministry’s Crisis Unit, also envisages an advert on RAI TV channels. The aim is to underscore to citizens the importance of travelling safely (by registering with the “Where We Are in the World” site) and of using the real-time information provided on the “Safe Travelling” site.

With the Euro 2012 Championships in mind, and the London Olympics which come shortly afterwards, the Crisis Unit has drawn up an “emergency intervention organisation chart”. This uses detailed geo-referencing of the localities concerned to identify potential escape routes and “emergency stations”: the hospitals and police stations nearest to the stadiums where the Italian teams will be playing.

In the Embassies and Consulates located in or near the Euro 2012 cities (in Poland, Italy will be playing in Cracow, Danzig and Poznan during the initial stages) “crisis rooms” have been set up to manage any emergencies. All of this against a background of coordination between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and its European counterparts and, more specifically, with their “crisis command cells”. As Paganelli concluded, the degree of coordination has seen considerable progress in recent years.

One Italy, Many Italies: the MFA recognises 3 young talents

To showcase the creative flair and industriousness of Italians worldwide. That was the aim of the “One Italy, Many Italies” competition promoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Zooppa blogging community. The winners received their prize today at the Forum PA.

The Zooppa competition invited readers to select videos and graphic designs that highlight Italy’s cultural and creative heritage. In 8 weeks, over 800 proposals were uploaded. The 3 winners, chosen by the MFA, received 3000 dollars each for the video “Nel mondo il genio italiano da sempre” and the designs “Un soffio di italianita’ nel mondo” and “l’Italia in movimento”.

This initiative “marries innovation and transparency”, explained Luigi Vignali, from the MFA’s Secretariat General. He underscored that the Ministry “has opened up to citizens and to the ideas of the web community to tell the story of Italian economic diplomacy in a new way”. The prize-winners underscored their appreciation of the fact the Ministry had placed its bets on young “unknowns” rather than on major and well-established advertising agencies.

On-line consulates: all consular services available for Italian nationals living abroad

All consular services will from now on be just a click away, thanks to the SErvizi COnsolari on-LIne (SE.CO.LI) portal presented at Forum PA. The portal will provide Italian citizens living abroad with access to MFA services without needing to visit their Consulate in person: an innovation that will be very useful for those who would otherwise have to travel great distances to do so.

The new IT platform, which has already been piloted in some offices, will enable users to engage in an on-going dialogue with officials, pay for services, check on progress with their procedures, and monitor their information.

The service, which already has over 700,000 users, will be extended to the entire consular network this year, the aim being to extend the active recognition of citizenship rights to Italians living abroad.

A “greener” MFA thanks to a photovoltaic installation for the Ministry’s external lighting

The MFA is showing increasing environmental awareness, with a photovoltaic installation on the roof of the Farnesina Palace for the Ministry’s external lighting. The project, which was presented at Forum PA, will enable a considerable reduction in energy consumption and environmentally harmful emissions. The 184 solar panels, covering 300 square metres, installed on the roof will produce 59,400 kWh of energy. The cost of the installation will be offset in 15 years time, when it will begin to produce profits for the Ministry. The project is a “Green Farnesina” best practice initiative.