HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco gives a speech at the Ocean Risk Summit - Bermuda
Invited to the first Ocean Risk Summit, organised in Bermuda from 8-10 May 2018, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco gave a keynote speech on Thursday 10 May during a morning session devoted to The Ocean in a Time of Change. This summit – sponsored by the (re)insurance company XL Catlin, in partnership with organisations such as the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Ocean Unite - brought together political, economic and environmental leaders alongside insurers in this multi-sector approach to ocean risk.
After 2017, a year particularly marked by climate-related disasters, it appeared even more crucial to identify and anticipate the threats linked to the changes affecting the ocean as well as the world's populations and economies. Covering two-thirds of the Earth’s surface and representing 97% of its biosphere, the ocean is indeed a key issue both with regard to the conservation of the planet and to the emergence of a new era for society.
Global warming, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, marine pollution, habitat destruction, are some of the real dangers that were discussed at the summit. By bringing together governments and businesses to an event where they had space for reflection, the Ocean Risk Summit’s aim was to present them with expert data and analyses, to measure their degree of exposure to risks, and try to find solutions in order to reduce the latter.
During his speech, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco reminded the audience that our civilisation is turned towards the sea, which it used to build its foundations, due to its immediate geographical proximity, but also through the development of maritime trade. Whilst 60% of the world's population lives under 60 km from the coast, and three-quarters of the world’s megacities are located close to the sea, almost 200 million people earn their living from the latter (directly or indirectly). Today, 80% of transcontinental trade is carried out by sea, thanks to freighters that can carry large quantities of heavy goods at a lower cost than air freight. The sea, both its surface and its depths, with the rollout of fibre networks for example, occupies a central position in the economic development of our societies. An exploitation that disturbs the balance of the marine environment, notably through overfishing and pollution, causing serious environmental degradation and depleting ecosystems. This is why, through his Foundation, HSH Prince Albert II actively supports the preservation of marine resources by working to create Marine Protected Areas and to raise the awareness of governments and opinion leaders about marine conservation.
The health of the oceans has thus become precarious. They are undergoing profound changes associated with the effects of climate change, generating tangible risks for both populations and economies. Tornadoes, hurricanes and rising water levels should lead us to take a different view of ocean risk. HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco also highlighted the importance of changing our economic model and moving towards innovative, sustainable solutions that allow for the reconciliation of humanity with the environment. In the past, the greatest advances resulted from serious crises. Therefore, it is up to us to bounce back, by working together to promote a regulated, sustainable, innovative “Blue Economy”, which generates thousands of jobs. The global, multi-sector approach proposed by the Ocean Risk Summit, through the prism of insurance and risk management, is in line with this. It is by sharing our knowledge of the oceans, by engaging in dialogue and exchanging our expertise that we shall fulfil this mission.
Also in attendance at this first summit, alongside HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, were HM Queen Noor of Jordan, the Hon C Walton D Brown Jr – Bermuda’s Minister of Home Affairs, Deputy Premier of the Virgin Islands, Dr the Hon Kedrick D Pickering, the Hon Dominic LeBlanc – Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, José Maria Figueres – Former President of Costa Rica, Sir Richard Branson – Founder of the Virgin Group, and Ambassador Peter Thomson – the United Nations Special Envoy for the Ocean.