12th Regional Seapower Symposium (RSS)
Venice, 15-18 October 2019

1. Origins and aims of the Symposium

The need for a maritime forum covering the Mediterranean area aspects emerged at the 1995 edition of the International Seapower Symposium in Newport (ISS), when the Italian Navy was unanimously requested to carry on such an initiative. In October 1996, the Regional Seapower Symposium (RSS) of Venice was the first concrete result. Thenceforth, the event became a traditional meeting for the Mediterranean maritime community, organized in full continuity with the ISS, every other year. Mainly addressed to the Chiefs of the Mediterranean and Black Sea Navies and to the leaders of extra-regional Navies with interests in the area, the Venice Symposium is also dedicated to institutional, political, economic and academic key-players either directly involved or simply interested in the maritime cluster. In its eleven past editions occurred over the last 20 years, the RSS reasserted its primary role of fostering open and constructive exchange of views and ideas, enhancing a comprehensive approach to many sea-related matters, as well as boosting mutual knowledge and trust among participants.


2. 12th RSS main organization features

The RSS took place from the 15th to the 18th October 2019 , in its historical venue of the Venetian Arsenal, based on a schedule including discussions and working sessions as well as meetings and cultural events.

a. Theme and topics

“Shaping our Navies for the Blue Century” – the theme of this edition –  identify the possible future of modern navies, considering both conflicts and threats of the maritime domain and the various opportunities offered by the so-called “Blue Century”. Looking at the future with “blue lenses”, the RSS 19 has highlighted the need to develop a more inclusive and balanced approach within the wider maritime community, in order to widen the maritime cluster and to fight seablindeness in our societies. Safer seas means greater progress and prosperity for our country and for the entire world.

b. Working sessions

The working days were organized into 3 dedicated sessions, chaired by one of the Navy Chiefs.

  • Session 1 (16 October 2019): The international law of the sea: from Montego Bay to a new model? The impact on Navies and others.

Assessment of the legal framework within the maritime domain and discussion about the future of international law at sea with reference to commercial and military advantages and their operational impact for Navies. Definition of limitations and future development of the rule of law at sea. Discussion about inter-agency and cross-sectorial approach to broad the maritime community acting at sea.

  • Session 2 (17 October 2019): Shaping our Navies looking at the Blue Growth. New capabilities and traditional roles; how to find the right balance between low and high end.

Presentation of technological innovations for modern ships, opportunities and challenges behind modularity, multi-purpose platforms and maritime unmanned systems, debate on the balance between high and low end capabilities.

  • Session 3 (17 October 2019): The evolution of the Seapower in the Blue Century: the maritime domain as a key enabler to enhance resilience. Challenges and opportunities.

Discussion about the maritime domain contribution to increase national and collective resilience and to ensure well-being and prosperity of our societies. Underline emerging threats and challenges to draft a new definition of Seapower in the Blue Century.

Since the Symposium’s success lays on the benefit proceeding from the enthusiasm and proactivity of its participants, we encouraged delegations to contribute from this early stage, by both providing suggestions and comments and/or volunteering to act as chairmen or speakers in a given session.