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The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation present at COP21


Following COP21, which took place in Paris from 30th November to 11th December 2015, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has welcomed the successful outcome of the conference with the adoption of the text of the Paris Agreement by 195 States of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

This universal and ambitious agreement marks a historic milestone in climate negotiations.  It marks a new and positive phase in the fight against global warming.  For the first time ever, all the countries of the world gathered together to address the challenges of climate change and collectively meet their present and future responsibilities.  Well balanced, this agreement takes climate justice into consideration, sets a limit and lays solid foundations for the development of a carbon-free economy, and for the implementation of measures to adapt to the effects of climate change, in particular for the most vulnerable countries.

The Foundation noted with satisfaction that the ocean appeared in the preamble to the final text, thus underlining the necessary awareness of the ocean’s key role in the climate system and the consequences of climate change on the ocean and its ecosystems.

During the opening session of COP21 which brought together over 150 Heads of State in order to give "political impetus" to the negotiations, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco reiterated the Principality's commitment to combat climate change, pointing out that "at the end of the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol,   Monaco had reduced its emissions beyond the targets it had committed to. [...] Monaco will make its contribution to the Green Climate Fund.   Today, it is not possible to be content with an estimated global warming of 2.7°C, because it is not acceptable to build our prosperity to the detriment of future generations. [...] We have to admit that each one of our actions has an ecological and climate cost. We must do what is necessary and not leave this burden for our children and future generations."

Over the two-week period of COP21, Prince Albert II of Monaco and his Foundation co-organised or took part in several events, thus emphasising their concerns with regard to climate change issues:  the ocean, renewable energies, water resources and health.

On the eve of the official opening of COP21, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and the representatives of 10 states met in Paris to sign the declaration "Because the Ocean". The result of a partnership between the Chilean Government, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Global Ocean Commission, the French Government, IDDRI, and Tara Expedition, it urges the international community to implement measures to reinforce the resilience of the Ocean faced with the impacts of CO2 emissions and climate change. These countries affirmed their commitment to support the request put forward by Monaco for a Special Report on the ocean by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to achieve Sustainable Development Goal n° 14 dedicated to the ocean and marine resources and finally to promote an action plan for the ocean within the UNFCCC framework. Over the course of COP21 other counties signed this declaration bringing the total number of signatories to 22, including Chile, France, Morocco, Australia, Canada, Mexico, Madagascar, Colombia, Fiji, Kiribati, Palau, Senegal and Sweden.

©Kashfi Halford

In anticipation of COP21, the Foundation put a lot of effort for over a year into the Ocean and Climate Platform which collected more than 30,000 signatures for the "Ocean Appeal for the Climate" and organised over 70 events in Paris and the Bourget, with days devoted to the Ocean during COP in the Generation Climate Areas and the Blue Zone, including the ocean session by the Lima-Paris Action Plan in the United Nations area, the Ocean and Climate Forum on 3rd December and Oceans Day at COP21 with the World Ocean Forum and UNESCO's Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. 

During Ocean Days, the Sovereign Prince stressed that the ocean was severely affected by the effects of climate change, but also pointed out that the ocean provided solutions for the climate, in terms of mitigation with renewable marine energies and blue carbon, and in terms of adaptation with ecosystem-based solutions.

AMAO (Monegasque Association on Ocean Acidification) and its President, Jean-Pierre Gattuso organised a high-level scientific event with speeches, amongst others, by Denis Allemand and Laurent Bopp, both members of the Foundation's Scientific and Technical Committee, and Hans Otto Portner, Co-President of the IPCC Task Force II.  They reiterated the urgency of reducing CO2 emissions in order to limit the already visible impacts on the ocean.

The Foundation took part in several events in the scientific sector organised by Tara Expedition and UNESCO IOC.  This provided an opportunity to present the rationale and issues of the proposal put forward by Monaco to the IPCC for a special report on the ocean.  The Foundation also responded to the invitation extended by Margaret Lienen, Director General of the SCRIPPS Institution of Oceanography, a key scientific partner. 

By attending two events organised by IUCN, one on Marine Protected Areas and climate change, and the other on nature-based solutions, jointly organised with Conservation International and the Nature Conservancy, in the presence of Ms Inger Andersen, Director General of IUCN, the Sovereign Prince was keen to point out the importance he places on the need to maintain the ecosystems in good health, to strengthen the resilience of the oceans and their ability to store carbon. 

With regard to MPAs, COP21 provided the Foundation with the opportunity to lay the groundwork for a partnership which will soon be established with Rapa Nui representatives on Easter Island. 

In the presence of Kiribati’s President, Mr Anote Tong, Mr Enele Sopoanga, Tuvalu’s Prime Minister, members of the Coalition of Atoll Nations on Climate Change, and Ms Mary Robinson, Prince Albert II of Monaco took part in a press conference focused on the imminent threats hanging over small island states and presenting what they call a “Marshall Plan” for the island states. 

The event “Mitigation methane solutions: from science to initiative solutions” co-organised by the Veolia Institute and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation drew attention to the key role – and up until now underestimated – of methane as another greenhouse gas. It put forward solutions to limit the main emissions of methane in the waste and oil and gas industries. 

In the water sector, the Foundation took part in the “Lima-Paris Resilience Action Plan Day on Climate Change – Water section” which was held in the Blue Area, in the presence of Mrs Mme Ségolène Royale, the French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy, and Mr Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, Peru’s Minister of Environment and President of COP20.  The International Network of Basin Organisations presented the “Paris Pact on Water and Climate Change Adaptation in river basins, lakes and water systems”, an initiative supported by the Foundation. 

Upon the invitation of Mrs Charafat Afilal, Minister Delegate to the Moroccan Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment in charge of water, the Foundation attended the side event which took place at the Moroccan Pavilion and presented the water sector in Morocco in relation to climate change adaptation.  This event was held in the presence of Mrs Hakima El Haïle, Moroccan Minister Delegate in charge of Environment who will hold the presidency of COP22, and Mr Loïc Fauchon, Honorary President of the World Water Council, and the recipient of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Water Award 2015.

Under the aegis and with the support of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Raphaël Domjan, Gildo Pallanca Pastor and Bertrand Picard announced at the Grand Palais, in the presence of H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince, the creation of the Eco Explorers Society. The aim of the association, based in the Principality of Monaco, is to implement innovative and sustainable development projects for the exploration of the sea, land and sky.  It reconciles sustainable ecosystems management, the conservation of the goods and services they produce and the creation of economic wealth for the people living there. 

© Igor Lubinetsky-Hopscotch-Photoproevent

During the event organised by the Scientific Centre of Monaco, in the presence of Mr Michel Jarraud, Secretary General of the World Meteorological Organisation, and facilitated by its President, Mr Patrick Rampal, the Sovereign Prince stressed the impact of climate change on health and malnutrition.

Finally, the Prince took part in the opening of the conference organised by the European Climate Foundation which turned the spotlight on the increasing role of foundations and the philanthropic sector to combat global warming and to implement adaptation measures tailored to the needs of the most vulnerable populations.