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Monaco Ocean Week – 3 questions for H.E. Mr Bernard Fautrier, Vice President of the Prince Albert II Foundation

S.E. M. Bernard Fautrier Vice-Président de la Fondation Prince Albert II

What is the aim of this week dedicated to the major issues facing our oceans?

  • The idea of holding a week of meetings, debates and activities on the oceans results from an obvious fact: there is a need for key stakeholders in this area to share their views on how to address the major issues associated with preserving the marine environment, and to work together to improve the way in which the oceans are managed.
  • Ocean Week will also provide an opportunity for local stakeholders and international organisations based in Monaco to share their experience, deepen their thinking and even take action to develop a sustainable “blue” economy.
  • The Principality’s commitment to marine ecosystems has been an integral part of its history since Prince Albert I of Monaco founded the Institute of Oceanography in 1911 and continuing through to the creation of the Prince Albert II Foundation in 2006.

What will be the main events taking place during Ocean Week?

Ocean Week will feature a packed schedule with no less than 20 events taking place. I’ll mention just three to give you an idea of what’s happening:

  •  To open Monaco Ocean Week, the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco will this year host the 10th Monaco Blue Initiative, devoted to the development of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). There are still not enough MPAs – they account for just 7.44% of the surface of the World Ocean. More need to be established and they must be better managed.
  •  Results of the first-ever Mediterranean-wide campaign to observe marine megafauna (Wednesday 27 March, 6 pm to 8 pm at the Yacht Club de Monaco)

 This conference will focus on an extraordinary initiative conducted by the Agreement on the Conservation of Cetaceans of the Black Sea, Mediterranean Sea and Contiguous Atlantic Area: the ACCOBAMS Survey Initiative (ASI). The ASI is the first-ever Mediterranean-wide campaign to observe marine megafauna and provides a comprehensive overview of whale, dolphin and other megafauna populations, as well as the impact of human activity.

The information collected will contribute to the introduction of more effective measures to preserve biodiversity in the Mediterranean Sea, and to raising everyone’s awareness of the need for urgent action at all levels, including on a daily basis, by adopting responsible behaviour.

  •  International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI): the urgent need to act to save coral reefs from extinction (Tuesday 26 March, 8.30 am to 10 am at the Oceanographic Museum)

 Corals – habitats that are critical to marine biodiversity – are threatened with extinction by 2050. Members of the ICRI, which Monaco is co-chairing with Australia and Indonesia until 2020, will meet for the first time in the Principality. The aim of the meeting is to draw up a list of priority actions to achieve one of the Aichi targets on preserving coral reefs.

HIGHLY PRACTICAL INITIATIVES TO COMBAT PLASTIC POLLUTION

  •  Biomarine Blue Bioplastic workshop, or how to speed up production of bioplastics (Sunday 24 March, 2pm to 5pm at Novotel Monaco)

 Eighty percent of plastics currently end up in the oceans. This amounts to between 8 and 12 million tonnes every year, affecting thousands of marine areas, and yet bioplastics account for barely 1% of global polymer production today. The aim of this workshop is to adopt specific measures and to forge partnerships between the seafood industry, technology suppliers, and major companies.

  •  BeMed 2019 winners’ presentations. Micro initiatives to combat plastic pollution in the Mediterranean (Wednesday 27 March, 2 pm to 8 pm, Novotel Monaco)

 Plastic pollution in the oceans is one of the most worrying environmental disasters for our future. Once discarded into the natural environment, plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose. At this event, the new winners, drawn from all Mediterranean countries, will give three-minute presentations on their projects, and will engage in discussions with those behind the winning projects in 2018.

Which stakeholders will be participating in this unifying event?

In addition to the co-organisers – the Prince’s Government, the Prince Albert II Foundation, the Yacht Club de Monaco, the Monaco Scientific Centre and the Institute of Oceanography – Monaco Ocean Week will provide an opportunity to meet international experts in the marine environment, economic stakeholders and government representatives.

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