3 questions for H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco
How is the Principality of Monaco a recognised and legitimate actor in terms of encouraging ocean preservation actions?
Monaco is highly committed to marine environment issues on an international level. Clearly, Monaco’s message is heard today due to the strength and perseverance of its commitment.
The Principality of Monaco’s dedication to marine ecosystem conservation is deeply rooted in its history: from the inauguration of the Institute of Oceanography by my great-great grandfather, the Prince Albert I of Monaco, in 1911; the creation of the Monaco International Hydrographic Organization in 1921; and the signature of the RAMOGE agreement – an instrument adopted by France, Monaci and Italy to create a pilot prevention zone and to fight against marine pollution. The Principality of Monaco was also one of the first signatory States of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982.
Today, we are continuing to develop our pioneering commitments through my Foundation which was created in 2006. The Foundation has initiated a multitude of actions and positions such as: the 2008 appeal to stop bluefin tuna[JJO1] consumption; the 2009 Monaco declaration on ocean acidification in cooperation with 150 scientists from 26 countries and the creation of the Monegasque Association on Ocean Acidification (AMAO); the launch of the Monaco Blue Initiative (MBI) in 2010 – a yearly thinktank during which MBI members reflect on current and future global challenges and ocean management and conservation; and, more recently, our COP21 and COP22 participation to ensure that the link between oceans and climate becomes a global primary concern.
What is the aim of the Monaco Ocean Week?
During the last COP in Marrakech I presented three approaches which should be central to our goal of preserving oceans and, therefore, mitigating climate change.
The first approach was the vital need to be coherent in how we perceive oceans. Oceans are so vast and complex that it is often difficult to apply a global approach to them; we justifiably tend to treat them as separate entities. However, understanding and managing oceans, in the same manner as the climate or the atmosphere, can only be achieved using a comprehensive approach.
The second approach was the need to improve data sharing and to work in a more concerted and connected manner. This entails, of course, information and technology transfer, improved cooperation in how programmes are run in different parts of the world and the creation of Marine Protected Area networks.
Lastly, the third approach was the use of marine resources for decarbonated development; this century’s key ambition. Sustainably managed resources such as renewable marine energy and other highly potential solutions for the food, health and industrial sectors will enable us to build a new, decarbonated model.
The Monaco Ocean Week is the fruit of this reflection and will bring together key Monegasque and international marine specialists who are committed to preserving ocean sustainability. It is the next logical step in experience-sharing between Monaco Blue Initiative scientific and socio-economic experts. The 2017 Monaco Blue Initiative will be held in Monaco during the Monaco Ocean Week: more than 80 marine experts from various sectors will share their analysis and vision of key marine conservation issues.
Could the Mediterranean be a model for other oceans?
The Mediterranean is virtually an entirely closed-off sea; its particular shape encompasses the entire range of marine issues and not only directly reflects the effects of human activity on marine ecosystems but also the benefits reaped from conservation actions.
With sixty per cent of urban waste water still being directly discharged into the Mediterranean without prior treatment, plastic waste pollution is becoming increasingly visible and the biodiversity increasingly endangered, the Mediterranean should, on the contrary, serve as an initiatives laboratory for all marine ecosystems.
We are working towards this. The many actions which we support in the Mediterranean will be presented during the Monaco Ocean Week, for example: Marine Protected Area development and the protection of marine mammals at the Pelagos sanctuary; the development of carbon capture and sequestration systems such as Posidonia meadows; and the Beyond Plastic Med initiative which supports innovative solutions in partnership with the private sector, NGOs and the scientific community.
Interaction and experience-sharing between local and international actors will lead to the development of the most efficient approaches and the improvement of our own ocean preservation actions on a local scale.