The activities of Science Diplomacy and Environmental Diplomacy of the OGS are focused on the Mediterranean, Central European and Balkan regions, the Black Sea, Latin America, the polar regions and more recently Central Asia.
The Mediterranean area is a hot spot in relation to climate change and one of the most vulnerable areas of the planet in terms of geological hazards and environmental risks, measured in terms of loss of assets and ecosystem services.
In addition, Italy's geographical position is able to promote and accelerate the activation of scientific exchanges with the countries bordering the southern shore of the Mediterranean.
OGS has been participating for decades in major international projects on the Mediterranean Sea, with recognised roles of scientific leadership, especially in the fields of geology/geophysics, experimental oceanography, numerical modelling, and database management.
By Ministry for University and Research (MUR) delegation, OGS hosts the General Secretariat of the 5+5 Dialogue, the Western Mediterranean geopolitical forum for Research, Innovation and Higher Education. In this framework, important initiatives of higher education and circulation of talent are organised to support the creation of new careers in the marine and maritime sectors in line with the regional priorities and policies of the European Union or the Union for the Mediterranean for a sustainable blue economy.
The OGS initiative for a sustainable blue economy in the Mediterranean and Black Sea called "Blue Skills" is in fact an important part of a general strategy that aims to support economic development and growth, also by improving collaborations between Italy, the other Mediterranean countries and those in the Black Sea area. This, with the conviction that it is essential to invest in multidisciplinary training of future researchers, to promote innovation, growth, competitiveness, respect and enhancement of natural resources, and to create a network of peaceful cooperation through the instrument of scientific diplomacy.
Central European and Balkan areas
The geographical position of OGS is certainly strategic for relations with the Balkan area, thanks to the presence in Trieste of important international scientific institutions and the geopolitical role of Friuli-Venezia Giulia with respect to Central Eastern Europe and the Balkan regions.
OGS has always developed and consolidated a close collaboration with research institutions, universities and international bodies in the Balkan area. The main areas of cooperation are in the seismological and oceanographic/biological fields, aimed at cross-border monitoring and protection actions.
Using the significant capacity of the area to attract and retain talent from the Central European and Balkan region, OGS promotes the participation of researchers from these countries in European projects of mutual interest. It does so by implementing capacity building initiatives, through targeted training courses and mobility activities, in accordance with the Central European Initiative (CEI).
Black Sea area
The Black Sea area is one of the areas where the Institute has traditionally carried out scientific and institutional research in both its thematic areas of expertise: geophysics and oceanography. In fact, OGS is part of EMODnet Chemistry, which also operates in this area and is mainly concerned with providing access to data to those responsible for assessing the state of health of marine ecosystems, as well as to the international scientific community.
Of particular importance in this area is the planning of the deployment of instrumentation and the collection, storage and distribution of real-time data, in collaboration with other European scientific bodies. Assessing the state of the seas, which is the responsibility of the various Ministries of the Environment, is fundamental because the state of the environment depends on actions and policies to reduce impacts, such as reducing or taxing the use of plastic bags or increasing purification systems.
Thanks to this type of initiative, the institutes involved carry out scientific and environmental diplomacy by promoting cooperation between EU and non-EU countries for the protection of the marine environment and the harmonised and shared management of marine data.
The countries of the Black Sea area are involved in the activities of the Blue Skills initiative focused mainly on the Mediterranean.
Latin America Area
With regard to Latin American countries, the OGS has established substantial international collaborations supported by the Italian Government in the field of scientific and technological research. The institute contributes to the development of knowledge for the governance of the environment, energy resources and security with respect to climate change and natural disasters.
OGS continues its commitment in the TRIL - Training and Research in Italian Laboratories programme of ICTP (International Centre for Theoretical Physics) with Cuba, in bilateral projects funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) in Central and South America, in collaboration agreements mainly aimed at cultural exchanges and the training of new professional and academic profiles.
OGS has established itself as an essential institutional reference for operations, research and scientific diplomacy in the field of marine and geophysical sciences in polar areas, contributing to defining strategies and creating opportunities for the entire sector of both public and private stakeholders.
The polar areas represent one of the missions of OGS and, for this research sector, the Institution offers inextricably linked multidisciplinary skills that, in addition to physical oceanography, biological chemistry and geology, include polar geophysics.
The Institute has installed and manages in cooperation with the Dirección Nacional del Antártico (DNA) - Instituto Antártico Argentino (IAA) the Antarctic Seismographic Argentinian Italian Network (ASAIN), the seismological network in the Antarctic Peninsula and the Tierra del Fuego.
OGS also manages the worldwide multichannel seismic data library (Antarctic Seismic Data Library System, SDLS) in collaboration with the USGS (United States Geological Survey). Together, such expertise contributes to polar scientific research in synergy with other Italian scientific institutions within the framework of the National Programme for Research in Antarctica (PNRA).
The countries of Central Asia, more specifically Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, are known to be highly exposed to natural disasters, especially earthquakes and landslides.
In this respect, the European Union has initiated the programme Strengthening Financial Resilience and Accelerating Risk Reduction in Central Asia (SFRARR) in cooperation with the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR). The aim of the programme is to improve financial resilience and risk-aware economic planning so as to reduce the risks associated with climate change and natural disasters in the region.
In such context, OGS, thanks to the experience of its researchers in the specific topics and in the geographical area of interest, is a partner in a project commissioned by the World Bank, which sees it as an actor with a series of public and private national and international partners, with the aim of assessing the seismic and flood risk in a harmonized way and evaluating scenarios of the impact of landslides. This initiative allows OGS to highlight its multidisciplinary nature and to establish a series of institutional contacts in an area where various research opportunities may open up.