From 27 June to 1 July, H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince led a delegation from the Principality to the 2nd United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon.
The Prince was welcomed by H.E. Mr Henrique de Polignac de Barros, Monaco’s Ambassador to Portugal.
The United Nations Ocean Conference or “High-level United Nations Conference to Support the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14” is a landmark outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 (Rio+20). Monaco played an active role in drafting the targets for SDG 14.
This year, the Conference was co-organised by Kenya and Portugal1 on the theme “Scaling up ocean action based on science and innovation for the implementation of Goal 14: stocktaking, partnerships and solutions” and was attended by numerous heads of state and government as well as the United Nations Secretary-General.
In his speech, H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince stressed the urgency of implementing concrete actions to combat the immense damage being inflicted on the seas on a daily basis. He noted that Monaco was fully committed to tackling this issue, including during climate negotiations as part of the Intergovernmental Conference on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) or during dedicated scientific forums.
H.S.H. the Prince highlighted the importance of taking action through practical, effective and quick projects, regardless of their scale or location. He mentioned achievements such as the Medfund, launched in 2015 in collaboration with France and Tunisia, BeMed, to support projects combatting plastic pollution in the Mediterranean, and the Monk Seal Alliance, which works to conserve this Mediterranean species.
H.S.H. the Prince also participated in an interactive dialogue on managing, protecting, preserving and restoring ecosystems, and stressed the need to identify best practices, even at the most local level, and to take a comprehensive view in order to compare expertise and approaches. He illustrated this point by noting the development of marine protected areas, which offer an enormous variety of opportunities and the shared responsibility to conserve coastal and marine ecosystems.
The Sovereign Prince also took part in a number of parallel events on the polar regions, corals and innovative investment.
Ms Isabelle Berro-Amadei, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, attended various events devoted to the target of protecting 30% of the ocean by 2030, organised by the Blue Leaders, to restoring mangrove swamps, organised by Colombia, to ocean acidification, organised by the IAEA Environment Laboratories based in Monaco, and to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science to promote sustainable development, organised by UNESCO.
During the Blue Leaders2 side event, Ms Isabelle Berro-Amadei stressed the vital importance of protecting the oceans and their biodiversity, ecosystems and marine habitats. She noted the High Seas Online Dialogues, jointly organised by Monaco, Belgium, Costa Rica, the International Center for Dialogue and Peacebuilding and the High Seas Alliance (HSA) to maintain international mobilisation with a view to resuming official negotiations as part of the BBNJ Agreement.3
In addition, the Minister welcomed the organisation of a discussion on ocean acidification, which was fully in line with Monaco’s international actions to mitigate the impact of this phenomenon. She reiterated the Principality’s support for the IAEA Environment Laboratories, as well as specialised United Nations agencies working to mitigate the socioeconomic impact of ocean acidification on livelihoods, trade and food security.
For her part, H.E. Ms Isabelle Picco, the Principality of Monaco’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Organisation in New York, attended an event focusing on plastic pollution of marine environments, organised by the IUCN, and another organised by Portugal, France and the European Union to promote the BBNJ Agreement negotiations.
Monegasque institutions were also in attendance throughout the week. The Prince Albert II Foundation and the Oceanographic Institute, Albert I Foundation set themselves apart by organising the only event devoted to the polar regions.
The Conference concluded with the adoption of a political declaration entitled Our Ocean, Our Future, Our Responsibility, which calls on all states to help implement the emergency measures associated with the seven targets under SDG 14:
• Protect 30% or more of national maritime areas by 2030
• Achieve carbon neutrality by 2040
• Reduce plastic pollution
• Increase the use of renewable energy
• Allocate significant funding to ocean acidification research, climate resilience projects, and monitoring, oversight and surveillance.
Monaco contributed to drafting this declaration, and references to plastic pollution, marine scientific research, ocean acidification and the threats posed by human activities, all issues that the Principality regularly stands up for during negotiations, were included.
1 The first Conference, held from 5 to 9 June 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, was organised by Fiji and Sweden.
2 Blue Leaders is a Belgian initiative. It is an informal group of 19 countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Belgium, Belize, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Fiji, Finland, Gabon, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Portugal, Seychelles, Spain). The aim of the Blue Leaders is to take action to protect the oceans from climate change, overfishing and pollution. Their actions include an international target of protecting at least 30% of the oceans through a network of “highly and fully protected” marine areas by 2030 (30 x 30).
3 This conference, originally planned for March 2020, was postponed indefinitely as a result of the international measures taken to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. Work resumed in March 2022.