In his general policy speech, given on 1 November 2017 on the occasion of the 39th session of the UNESCO General Conference, Mr. Gilles Tonelli, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, announced the signing of a collaboration agreement with UNESCO to strengthen the activities of the World Heritage Marine Programme.
The World Heritage List now includes 49 marine sites in 37 countries, which are recognised for the uniqueness of their marine biodiversity, the singularity of their ecosystems, the originality of their geological processes or their incomparable beauty.
This partnership is part of H.S.H. Prince Albert II’s exploration campaign, Missions of the Yersin. The main aim of this campaign is to implement research programmes to provide new, concrete elements to substantiate alert messages and contribute to awareness-raising and education in protecting the ocean. For three years, the Yersin, an ecological ship that has been transformed into a floating research laboratory, will be host to eminent scientists and researchers, who, in particular, while on board, will study corals and marine species during the 20 phases of this round-the-world tour from tropic to tropic. The World Heritage Marine Programme will provide support and expertise to the Monaco Explorations campaign during each of its stopovers at World Heritage marine sites.
In addition, UNESCO – which has a mandate to monitor the state of conservation of these precious places to ensure their conservation and prosperity for future generations – will also benefit from the new scientific information and data that the campaign should reveal throughout its voyage. Also, by increasing awareness of the global protection of the ocean, the explorations should strengthen UNESCO’s decision-making and its activities at World Heritage sites.
The meeting between Mr. Tonelli and H.E. Ms Yvette Lambin-Berti, Ambassador to UNESCO, with Ms. Mechtild Rössler, Director of the World Heritage Centre, was also an opportunity to discuss all of the Principality’s priority topics in the field of World Heritage and the preservation of biodiversity.