Although the Monaco Blue Initiative had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Prince Albert II took the marine life protection event online last week for the first of three virtual workshops.
Both the Initiative and Monaco Ocean Week were due to be held in late March, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 forced their plans to change. The Prince Albert II Foundation and Oceanographic Institute turned Monaco Blue into an online event, with nearly 80 experts and policymakers in attendance at the first workshop.
Held from the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, the event focused on how “marine protected areas (MPAs) and other effective conservation measures can be central to international discussions and act collectively for development.”
In his welcome address, the Prince discussed how COVID-19 has exposed how vulnerable our societies truly are today.
“Over a period of just a few weeks we have seen our world change,” Prince Albert said. “We have also seen our oceans change. We have seen our minds change. This change, however long it lasts, brings about at least one certainty: our world is not sacrosanct. We are even more vulnerable than we even thought.”
The Prince also touched on his hope that the pandemic will help to create a change in marine conservation.
“We are collectively capable of change, including extremely rapid change,” he said. “Consequently, I hope that this rather special edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative will take place under the banner of change. Change in how we work, obviously, but more importantly, a change in our attitude in regards to the marine environment and to marine resources.”
The second online workshop will be held on 9 June and address the question: “What lessons can be learned from community-led initiatives – and more generally by civil society – in the management and preservation of protected areas?”
On 24 June, the third and final event will ask: “How can Blue Economy and sustainable management of the Ocean in the fields of tourism, transport, energy, fishing and aquaculture, be reconciled?”
The Monaco Blue Initiative was created in 2010 by Prince Albert as a platform to discuss the future global challenges of ocean management and conservation.
Co-organised by the Oceanographic Institute, Prince Albert I of Monaco Foundation and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, the Initiative’s members meet annually to promote ideas and exchanges between businesses, scientists, and decision-makers.