On April 12, 2016, the Permanent Mission of Italy hosted a high-level conference on the topic of “Fighting Climate Change: Sharing Italy’s Innovative Technology.” The event gathered representatives from major Italian companies working in the field of innovative and sustainable technologies. During the event, the participants had the opportunity to showcase tips and best practices on how they work to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change, in Italy and around the world.
Because of its geographic heterogeneity, Italy has seen a diverse set of events linked to the recent changes in global climate levels. In some areas, there has been an increase in natural catastrophic events such as landslides in mountainous regions , floods and rising sea levels in areas such as the Venice lagoon, in addition to landslides, desertification and reduced water resources.
This reality has led Italy, at both public and private levels, to take innovative measures aimed at countering these phenomena. The companies and agencies participating at the event—CAE, Consorzio Venezia Nuova, ENEA, ENEL Greenpower, ENI and Telespazio—shared their expertise in developing state-of-the-art concrete solutions to the evolving challenges posed by climate change.
During his opening remarks, Ambassador Sebastiano Cardi of Italy emphasized the practical nature of the event. “We wanted to host an event devoted to tackling climate change, but not limiting ourselves to making statements,” Ambassador Cardi said. “We wanted to actually show what Italy is doing to fight climate change.”
The Consorzio Venezia Nuova that manages the MOSE system in Venice—a specialized engineering structure that maintains stable sea levels in the lagoon area—discussed their approach to countering floods and inundations affecting the city. Following the dramatic floods of November 1966 that severely damaged the lagoon, the Italian government undertook the task to protect the area from similar events in the future. The MOSE system is a vast program of works that tackle the complexity of all the factors at play, including deterioration, tidal movements, and the delicate marine ecosystem in the area.
Accurate data-monitoring is crucial if the multi-faceted effects of climate change are to be effectively tackled. CAE, an Italian company that uses research to develop innovative technologies that can monitor environmental conditions in real time, shared their experience applying their expertise around the world. In Vietnam, CAE partnered with the Italian Cooperation to develop flood forecasting and monitoring systems following the 2009 floods.
The event also helped showcase how the Italian public sector is working to mitigate climate change. ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development, conducts research on energy efficiency, renewables, environmental stability, and safety and health.
During the presentation, the ENEA participants explained how their research helps monitor underwater and coastal ecosystems. Their “robotic fish swarms”—small robots that cruise at seabed level with precise localization systems—help measure salinity, temperatures and streams. These activities enable the detailed acquisition of information and details, that can then be used to take adequate preventive measures to safeguard marine biodiversity.
ENEL, a leading energy provider in Italy, focused their presentation on how to produce clean marine energy. Marine energy can be an effective solution to reduce the dependency of small marine territories on fossil fuels for energy production. Showing examples from ongoing projects, the ENEL representative also explained how clean marine energy is directly linked to at least five of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Climate action is a comprehensive effort that requires multi-faceted solutions. Telespazio, a company working in the field of satellite technology and applications, explained how satellite monitoring can help keep track of environmental information. By observing, identifying and measuring, satellite technology can help find remedies to phenomena such as deforestation, water consumption, soil quality, desertification and droughts.
Finally, ENI highlighted the Italian expertise in designing and developing solar panels. ENI has developed a series of measures aimed at improving Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) that can generate steam and electric energy, a technology that could be potentially implemented in many areas of the world.
The event was moderated by Amir Dossal, President of the Global Partnership Forum. Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, gave welcoming remarks. Selwin Hart, Director of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Change Support Team gave concluding remarks.