The Italian Foreign Ministry, together with the Ministry of the Environment (MATTM) and the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE), as well as the scientific community and the private sector, has drafted a first version of Italy’s Strategy for the Arctic.
This paper summarises the origins, evolution and objectives of Italy’s presence in a region increasingly at the centre of the international community’s attention.
Italy is preparing to celebrate the centenary of its presence in the Arctic, acknowledged in 2013 when it was admitted to attend the work of the Arctic Council as an Observer State. Our imprint, inaugurated by the expeditions of the Duke of the Abruzzi and Commander Nobile, has become progressively consolidated thanks to the quality and breadth of the activities of Italian centres of excellence and business.
Italy intends to analyse in depth all aspects of cooperation, both in multilateral contexts (in the Arctic Council and other fora) and at a bilateral level with individual Arctic countries. At a national level, the Italian government will continue to support national research centres working in the Arctic and is committed to increasing the sensitisation of civil society within the framework of total readiness to cooperate with citizens and organizations interested in acquiring greater knowledge and in-depth information about the Arctic.
All this will take place on the basis of the principles and objectives of the European Union’s environmental policy, with particular reference to issues linked to sustainable development; hence compatibility and synergy between safeguarding the environment, economic development and the specific needs of indigenous populations. Italy’s capacity to take on pioneering challenges and merge high technology with attention to defending cultural and environmental heritage, is the added value of the contribution Italy can provide to the Arctic region’s sustainable development and economic growth.
Italy is profoundly committed to studying climate change through the work undertaken by its research groups in the Arctic. Over the coming years, the Italian scientific community will be committed to promoting Italy’s participation in research in the Arctic as one of the country’s scientific and technological “excellences”. This will come about by increasing Italy’s presence in the pan-Arctic observation system, consolidating internationalisation, participating in the strengthening of the European Arctic’s infrastructure as promoted by the European Commission, by the Arctic nations as well as by other Mediterranean countries, promoting and strengthening cooperation between the various subjects interested at a national level, concentrating on innovation and technological experimentation – especially in the field of marine (USV, ROV) and satellite atmospheric observation (UAV, monitoring systems in extreme environments, monitoring systems for the air-sea-ice interface).
Italy is already able to answer the needs for infrastructures and services created to match the requirements of the region, through the technological excellence of its companies, especially as far as specialised services are concerned, such as satellite observation and offshore engineering as well as the energy, maritime and construction sectors. Italy has a long tradition in the research and development of offshore hydrocarbons. At the same time, Italy is characterised by the high value of its cultural and environmental heritage, which is unique in the world. Italian businesses are therefore especially sensitive to the environmental compatibility of extractive operations and have developed significant competence guaranteeing high levels of safety.
Italian institutions make available to the Arctic states all their acquired competences, cooperating within the Arctic Council’s working groups so as to address and resolve criticalities linked to increased anthropic and industrial activity in the Arctic.