Recently, H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince led the Principality’s delegation to the Second United Nations Conference on the Ocean, which was held in Lisbon. On this occasion, he was welcomed by H.E. Mr Henrique de Polignac de Barros, Monaco’s Ambassador to Portugal.
The United Nations Ocean Conference, or “UN High-Level Conference in support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14”, is the emblematic outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which took place in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 (Rio+20). Monaco was actively involved in the drafting of the “targets” of SDG 14.
This year, the Conference was co-organised by Kenya and Portugal on the theme “Oceans: Scaling up science and innovation for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14: Stocktaking, partnerships and solutions” and was attended also by the Secretary General of the United Nations.
In His speech, H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince stressed the urgency of implementing concrete actions to combat the multiple forms of damage inflicted on the seas on a daily basis. He recalled that Monaco is fully committed to this, notably during the climate negotiations, within the framework of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction or within the framework of dedicated scientific forums.
H.S.H. the Prince stressed the importance of acting through concrete, effective and rapid projects, whatever their scale or location. In this respect, he mentioned achievements such as the “Medfund”, launched in 2015 in collaboration with France and Tunisia, “BeMed” to support projects to combat plastic pollution in the Mediterranean, or the “Monk Seal Alliance” in favour of the preservation of this Mediterranean species.
The Prince of Monaco also took part in the interactive dialogue on the management, protection, conservation and restoration of ecosystems and insisted on the need to identify good practices, even the most local ones, and to have a global vision by comparing expertise and approaches. He illustrated his remarks by mentioning the development of marine protected areas which offer an immense variety of opportunities and the shared responsibility for the conservation of coastal and marine ecosystems. Prince Albert II also participated in various events on polar regions, corals and innovative investments.
Mrs Isabelle Berro-Amadei, government counsellor-minister for External Relations and Cooperation, attended various events dedicated to the objective of protecting 30% of the Ocean by 2030, organised by the “Blue Leaders”, mangrove restoration, organised by Colombia, ocean acidification, organised by the A.I.E.A. Environmental Laboratories, based in Monaco, and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development, organised by U.N.E.S.C.O.
During the “Blue Leaders” event, she stressed the vital need to protect the oceans and their biodiversity, ecosystems and marine habitats. She mentioned the “High Seas online Dialogues” organised jointly by Monaco, Belgium, Costa Rica, the International Centre for Dialogue and Peacebuilding and the High Seas Alliance (HSA) to maintain international mobilisation.
Furthermore, the government counsellor-minister welcomed the organisation of the reflection on ocean acidification, which is fully in line with Monaco’s international actions to mitigate the effects of this phenomenon. On this occasion, she reiterated the Principality’s support for the IEA’s Environmental Laboratories as well as for the United Nations Specialised Agencies whose objective is to mitigate the social and economic impacts of ocean acidification on livelihoods, trade and food security.
For her part, H.E. Mrs Isabelle Picco, ambassador, Permanent Representative of the Principality of Monaco to the United Nations in New York, attended the event dedicated to marine pollution by plastic waste, organised by the ICNU, as well as the event organised by Portugal, France and the European Union on the promotion of negotiations on the BBNJ Agreement.
Monegasque institutions were also present throughout the week. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and the Oceanographic Institute – Albert I Foundation, in particular, distinguished themselves by organising the only event dedicated to the polar regions.
The Conference ended with the adoption of a political declaration entitled “Our Ocean, Our Future, Our Responsibility”, which calls on all States to contribute to the achievement of the urgent measures related to the 7 targets of SDG 14:
– Protect 30% or more of national marine areas by 2030,
– Achieve carbon neutrality by 2040,
– Reduce plastic pollution,
– Increase the use of renewable energy,
– Allocate substantial funds to ocean acidification research, climate resilience projects and monitoring, control and surveillance.
Monaco participated in the drafting of this declaration and the clauses relating to plastic pollution, marine scientific research and ocean acidification. Threats arising from human activities, regularly highlighted by the Principality during the negotiations, were taken into account.