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Monaco Blue Initiative 2024: Advancing Ocean Conservation for a Sustainable Future



Press release

The Monaco Blue Initiative (MBI), a pivotal platform for ocean conservation and governance, convened for its 15th edition on March 18, 2024, at the Monaco Oceanographic Museum. This annual event, under the high patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, saw prominent figures from governments, international organizations, civil society, NGOs, the private sector, the scientific community, and the media coming together to deliberate on the pressing challenges facing our oceans and to foster a sustainable blue economy.

The Monaco Blue Initiative, established in 2010 by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, is co-organized by the Oceanographic Institute – Prince Albert I of Monaco Foundation and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. It serves as a platform to promote dialogue, collaboration, and concrete action towards the protection of the marine environment and the development of a truly sustainable blue economy.

This year's MBI featured a dynamic program comprising keynote speeches, panel discussions, and updates on critical international initiatives related to ocean conservation and governance. Notable highlights included keynote addresses from esteemed leaders such as The Hon. Mr Jean-François Ferrari of the Republic of the Seychelles, HE Mr. António Costa Silva of the Republic of Portugal, Ms Charlina Vitcheva of the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs & Fisheries - European Commission, and HE Mr Christos Stylianides of the Hellenic Republic.

Addressing the delegates, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco emphasized, "We are no longer powerless in the face of the degradation of the planet. It is this knowledge, these tools, and these resources we will be talking about today. We will be doing so by examining the prospects offered by the blue economy and through it, the role of the private sector in ocean protection. We will be doing so when discussing the protection of the Mediterranean Sea and the achievement of the 30x30 target, and when looking at the more specific challenges of a future Treaty to combat plastic and the strict regulation of deep-sea mineral exploration."
Robert Calcagno, CEO of the Oceanographic Institute of Monaco, underscored the urgency of promoting a sustainable blue economy, stating, "Promoting a blue economy based on sustainable activity, thereby ensuring the well-being of populations and ecosystems, is absolutely essential. This is especially important given the lack of funding.  For example, among the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, number 14 dedicated to 'Life below water' is vastly underfunded: funding amounts to around 25 billion dollars a year, whereas the needs are estimated at 175 billion dollars a year: seven times more!"
Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, stressed the need for system change, stating, "Developing disruptive business models and blue-finance tools is vital for the transformation of the ocean economy, but the real game-changer is system change. The path towards system change could incorporate a human-centred, equitable and resilient ocean economy that delivers on both sustainability and commercial criteria, a regulatory framework that is clear but also simple enough for thriving ocean business based on pre-competitive data-sharing and collaboration based on trust."

The discussions at MBI 2024 centered around key themes such as ocean protection, governance, the blue economy and the role of the private sector, as well as the role of the Mediterranean in achieving 30x30, success stories, and lessons learned. Additionally, updates were provided on international discussions concerning deep-sea mining, the plastic treaty, fisheries subsidies, and upcoming ocean conferences.

As the world grapples with the urgent need to safeguard our oceans, the Monaco Blue Initiative continues to serve as a beacon of hope, catalyzing action and fostering collaboration towards a more sustainable future for our planet's most precious resource.