by Enrica Guidotti
MONACO. In June 2006, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco decided to create his Foundation to respond to a worrying environmental situation of our planet. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation undertakes actions for the protection of the environment at a global level, in the field of climate change, conservation of biodiversity and water management.
Hereby the list ordered per year of funding of the 9 branches of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation already established around the world in France, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States, Singapore, Germany, Italy, Canada, and Spain. Moreover, in october 2017 in Monaco Sweden and Monaco joined forces for ocean protection and sustainable shipping in the Baltic and the Mediterranean. Undertakings to improve the situation in these two seas have led Monaco and Sweden to develop research devoted to this issue, as well as cooperation involving stakeholders at various levels: governments, local authorities, universities and businesses.
FRANCE – Since 2008, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has been expanding its message and mission internationally, with the creation of its French branch. The French Committee for the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is chaired by Mme Annabelle Jaeger and overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors composed of recognized scientists and personalities who share a passion for preserving the environment. Of course, the Paris COP21 has represented a key time for the Foundation and for its French Branch. The commitments to the planet made during COP21 went into effect on 4 November 2016. The Paris Agreement was certainly long-awaited, and France pulled out all the stops to ensure the success of the Paris Climate Conference. Never before had an issue brought together so many Heads of State and Government or involved so many national contributions. The Paris Agreement is historic and should help limit the increase in temperatures to 2 degrees overall and 1.5 degrees by the end of the century, with a clause introduced to review these commitments. France decided to take things even further by committing to revising its commitments by 2020 at the latest and will offer those countries that wish to follow its example the opportunity to form a coalition to set a carbon price that will help redirect investment.
SWITZERLAND – On Friday 20th June 2008 at the President Wilson Hotel in Geneva, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco launched the Swiss branch of his Foundation. During his address on this occasion, the Sovereign Prince highlighted how «it was very urgent for the populations, economic players and political leaders to become more aware of the seriousness of the environmental challenges […]. In order to develop its activities, my Foundation has made a commitment to set up foreign branches; I was keen that Switzerland be one of the first…» Mr François Rumpf, Consul of Monaco in Geneva and President of the Swiss Foundation presented his objectives; H.E. Mr Bernard Fautrier spoke of the Foundation’s international development in the presence of their Swiss guests who included: Bertrand Piccard, explorer and member of the Scientific and Technical Committee, Doctor Philippe Roch, former Secretary of State and Director of the Swiss Agency for the Environment, Mr Nicolas Frizon de Lamotte, administrator of UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training & Research), H.E. Mr Robert Fillon, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. The Swiss branch, the “Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation-Switzerland” includes among its Board of Directors Mr François Rumpf, Mr Eric de Graffenried, Consul General of Monaco in Bern and Mr Lionel Schutz, Director of Development for the Foundation in Monaco. This new branch of the Foundation is lending support to projects and develop initiatives from various organisations working on environmental issues in Switzerland. It will be an additional driving force within the framework of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
UNITED STATES – During the reception organised for the launch of the American branch of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation in New York on 17th September 2008, Jeffrey Sachs, eminent professor of economics at the Columbia University declared: “you’ve got it right, it is urgent that we all work together”, in reference to H.S.H. Prince Albert II’s commitment and the international action of his Foundation for environmental protection. Organised by Maguy Maccario Doyle, the Consul General of Monaco and Director of the Monaco Government Tourist Office in New York, the evening brought together over 130 guests. The event was presided over by H.E. Bernard Fautrier, Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, representing H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince and by John B. Kelly III, President of the new U.S. arm. Ms. Samantha Smith, member of the Foundation’s Technical and Scientific Committee, also addressed the gathering with anecdotes of her participation in the 2006 fact-finding expedition to the North Pole conducted by the Sovereign Prince of Monaco.
“On a day when we are a bit shell-shocked, it should make us think about our responsibility to the planet. There may be a recovery, but only if we stop making the same mistakes. That is why the action undertaken and the message issued by the Prince Albert II Foundation are so important,” said Professor J. Sachs.
“Climate change, loss of biodiversity and water are areas under profound stress. The Foundation has picked its issues wisely. It is a true honor to partner with the Foundation. They are on the right path. They’ve got it right.» he concluded.
Mr John B. Kelly said: “The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is different from other environmental Foundations in three unique ways: the three-fold focus of its fields of action, its President’s status as Head of State, and a long family history of environmental protection.” As he introduced a welcome video message from H.S.H. Prince Albert II, Mr Fautrier said that to date the Foundation had awarded more than 11 million euros to support more than 70 projects around the world dedicated to climate change, preservation of biodiversity, the management of water resources and the fight against desertification. He also pointed out that 100% of the donations made to the Foundation are exclusively used to fund these projects. We report two key-events that took place in the USA, in March 2015 the High-level International Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Plastic in the Marine Environment at the important joint conference of the International Sustainability Unit and the Global Ocean Commission. The goal of this 2-day symposium titled “Plastic in the Mediterranean Sea: beyond mere observations, what are the solutions?” was to explore and discuss immediate actions to counteract the negative effects that plastic waste has on the ocean environments. It was attended by more than 200 participants from 16 Mediterranean countries. On 9 July 2018 HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco travelled to Woods Hole, Massachusetts, to visit two institutes devoted to ocean research: the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Alongside his Monegasque delegation, the Sovereign Prince met scientists from both organisations, with whom he shares the same deep interest in marine biodiversity, exploration and protection. The announcement of an agreement between his Foundation and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts was made by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, as soon as it was approved at the Foundation’s last Board of Directors meeting on 22 June 2018 in Monaco. The Building SeaBase: a Bioinformatic Infrastructure for Marine Genomes initiative is part of the MBL’s ongoing research into the anthropomorphic issues and other challenges facing ocean health. The project will be jointly funded by the Foundation’s headquarters in Monaco and its United States branch. An exhibition of historical photos and archival material from the MBLWHOI Library documenting the polar expeditions led by the Prince Albert II of Monaco’s great-great-grandfather, Prince Albert I, concluded the day.
UNITED KINGDOM – The English branch of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation (GB) is located in the Consulate of Monaco’s office in the 2008, after the second meeting of his Foundation’s Board of Directors held on 3rd October 2007 in London. H.S.H. Prince Albert II presided over the meeting and welcomed two new members, Mr John Gummer, former UK Secretary of State for the Environment and Chairman of Sancroft International Ltd, an environmental consultancy company and Mr Otto Steinmetz, a member of the Board of the Dresdner Bank and the bank’s Chief Risk Officer. In 2010, Professor David Munro, Honorary Professor of the University of Dundee and Honorary Research Fellow in the School of GeoSciences at the University of Edinburgh, geographical advisor to the publishers of the Times Atlas of the World, former Director of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, joined the board of the English Foundation. On October 16 2012, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which decamped to London for its annual awards ceremony, used the occasion to hold a meeting of the presidents of its various international branches. At its thirteenth Board Meeting, the Foundation took stock of ongoing work and considered possible synergies between the different countries where it is based. In March 2015 H.R.H.the Prince of Wales, who was in Washington to receive the International Conservation Caucus Foundation’s prestigious “Teddy Roosevelt International Conservation Award”, acknowledging his exceptional contribution to preserving the environment, attended the High-level International Meeting in Washington, D.C. on Plastic in the Marine Environment at the important joint conference of the International Sustainability Unit and the Global Ocean Commission. The same Award was given to H.S.H. Prince Albert II in 2009.
SINGAPORE – Since 2008, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation has been expanding its message and mission internationally, with the creation of its Singaporian branch. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation Asia is chaired by Mme Jacqueline Deromedi and overseen by a volunteer Board of Directors composed of recognized scientists and personalities who share a passion for preserving the environment. On 25 November 2016 Singapore hosted the most awaited gala ball among the many held throughout the year, the prestigious Monaco Ball. The Prince Albert II Foundation Charity Gala is held biannually and is hosted by Marina Bay Sands for the past few editions. Of course, leading the delegation was Prince Albert II the reigning head of state of Monaco. The proceeds from the charity auction, kindly sponsored by famous international brands and artists, will go into research and project executions. So while the ball was exceptionally grand and posh, what’s important to note is that everything was for a good cause.
GERMANY – H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco visited Düsseldorf on Monday 2nd February 2009 to attend the opening of the German branch of the Prince Albert II Foundation.In the late afternoon, the members of the Foundation’s Executive Board shared a privileged moment with H.S.H. the Prince before joining the inauguration evening at Düsseldorf’s Museum of Contemporary Art, the K21. On this occasion, H.S.H. Prince Albert gave an address followed by Mr Topfer, former Minister of the Environment and Mr Kunth, President of the German branch of the Foundation. On May 29th, 2015, the German branch of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation organised in Sylt, Germany’s north most island, a conference on climate change and its impact on sea levels, punctuated by the intervention of experts. In the last century, global sea level rose by 0.2 meters due to global warming and the rise continues today even faster, with risks of severe storm surges as well as the erosion of beaches and cliffs. At the same time, coastal areas are threatened by flooding. By absorbing carbon dioxide from the warmed up atmosphere of the earth, oceans become more and more acid. Ocean acidification has devastating consequences on the living conditions of many species, including coral reefs and shellfish in particular, and in the long term could negatively impact the balance of all the marine ecosystems. In his keynote address, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco highlighted that “At a time when 40% of the global population lives less than 60 kilometres from the shore, when already eight of the world’s largest urban areas are located along the coastline, when close to 80% of all transcontinental trade is by sea, when the development of marine resources is necessary to meet the needs of a growing world population, oceans represent a global challenge now more than ever before”.
ITALY – As for Italy, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, H.E. Mr Bernard Fautrier, Vice President and CEO of the Foundation presided over the opening of the Italian branch on 15th October 2009 in the presence of its administrators. This new Italian branch of the Foundation lends support to projects and develops initiatives conducted by various organisations working on environmental issues in Italy. It constitutes an additional driving force for the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation. The official announcement for the opening of the Italian branch of the Prince Albert II Foundation was made during the opening of the exhibition “The Grace Kelly Years, Princess of Monaco”. On the instigation of the Memmo Foundation, in the magnificent setting of the Ruspoli Palace located just a few steps away from the Spanish Square in the heart of the Italian capital, H.S.H. Prince Albert II officially opened the exhibition in the presence of many Monegasque and Italian personalities. Since the foundation of th Italian Branch, , the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation offered its support to various projects, as in 2012, when an eventful day for the Italian branch of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation took place in Milan on March 6th. when H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco’s visited on the occasion of a fundraising evening. The Onlus Italian Association of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which has been active in Italy since March 2009 – hosted a gala dinner at the Palazzo Mezzanotte, during which a silent auction took place, the proceeds of which have been used to finance the projects supported by the Foundation worldwide. His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco was welcomed with extreme enthusiasm during his visit to Milan to promote the projects of his Foundation. In 2013 H.S.H received the “Humatarian Taormina Award”, and the signing of the accord about the Monaco participation to the Milan 2015 International Expo was made that same year 2013. In October 2013 in Siena a day dedicated to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation ended with the participation of the princely couple at the Charity Dinner – Fund Raising organized by the Associazione Italiana of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation onlus near in the Relais & Chateaux Borgo San Felice. The evening also saw the running of a lottery whose profit was in favor of the Foundation and its Italian branch as support for any project that they follow in Italy and in the world.On October 25 2014, His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco has been awarded an honorary degree in marine sciences by the University of Genoa during a lectio magistralis entitled “The Mediterranean and its environmental conditions: between hope and concern”. H.S.H. also attended a charity evening “Dedicated to Planet Earth” at Palazzo San Giorgio, an evening organised on the initiative of the Italian non-profit branch thanks to the contribution of prominent sponsors such as MSC Cruises, GIP (Port Investment Group) and Rossignotti 1840 Association. On June 11, 2016 in the Elba Island, H.S.H. was guest of honor at the event organized by the Honorary Consulate of the Principality of Monaco in Florence together with and in favor of the Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco Italian branch. Prince Albert II spoke at the conference “The Mediterranean in 2050. Risks for biodiversity. Solutions for governance”. The choice of Elba for this scientific event was not accidental, as it is in fact a privileged point of observation on the Pelagos Sanctuary, a protected area that involves Italy, France and the Principality of Monaco. The marine reserve area boasts such Cetacean species as the fin whale, Balaenoptera physalus; sperm whale, Physeter macrocephalus; striped dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba; bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops truncatus; short-beaked common dolphin, Delphinus delphis; Risso’s dolphin, Grampus griseus; long-finned pilot whale, Globicephala melas; Cuvier’s beaked whale, Ziphius cavirostris; and at times also the minke whale, Balaenoptera acutorostrata; humpback whales, Megaptera novaeangliae; orcas, Orcinus orca; false killer whales, Pseudorca crassidens and the rough-toothed dolphin, Steno bredanensis. The day ended with a Gala Dinner whose proceeds were allocated to the Fondation. In 2017 and for the second year running the Aquafilm Festival which took place in Portoferraio on the Island of Elba featured several short films focused on water, as well as workshops and cultural and scientific meetings. Highlight of the event was the screening of l’Odyssée, produced by Jérôme Salle about Jacques-Yves Cousteau, of “Retour aux sources”, filmed by Monaco’s Communications Office about the water in the Monegasque territory and a documentary on the 1966 floods in Florence presented by Mr Alessandro Antonio Giusti, Honorary Consul of the Principality of Monaco in Florence, who himself was involved in the chain of solidarity implemented during that dramatic episode. Finally, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation presented a “Special Mention, Water and Environment” award to Alvaro Ron, for his short film entitled “Swimming in the desert”. The award consisted of a blown glass trophy created by the artist Jean-Claude Novaro.
CANADA – Since 2009 the “Canadian branch” of the Foundation) of http://www.fpa2.org/canada-en.html the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is focused on projects that are situated in or engaged with the Canadian Arctic and sub-Arctic regions. Also, proposals with a lower-latitude focus are considered, as long as they operate primarily within Canada as long as they have an important Canadian component. The Eligible projects for the funding of the Canadian branch of the Foundation should have a field, observational and educational component. Studies that are primarily theoretical and that use modeling will not be considered. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches will be considered. Eligible disciplines include physical science, social science, and art. Proposals by or that engage with members of Canada’s First Nations are encouraged. Projects with their primary focus in philosophy and history will not be considered. considered. The Canadian branch of the Foundation selects up to two or three projects ranging between $50,000 to $100,000 per year, at their discretion. Notwithstanding any other stipulations of the project selection policy (including the abovementioned admissibility criteria) the Canadian branch of the Foundation reserves the right, under special circumstances and at their discretion, to fund, in collaboration with Monaco or other branches of the Foundation, International projects taking place on Canadian territories or addressing an issue of importance for Canadians, if approved by the project committee of the Canadian branch. At the moment the three main projects selected are: The Narwhal Translational Technologies Expedition that is analysing this elusive species evolution and adaptation in the Polar Regions. Previous research has uncovered the unusual sensory characteristics of the narwhal. They may indeed give valuable information about our changing climate, and nature’s ability to adapt or suffer as a consequence; The Health statu for Saint-Laurent’s belugas that aims to identifying the factors influencing the growth of belugas, hopes to be able to identify solutions to protect belugas and prevent their disappearance and, since 2010, Students on Ice that offers to young students from all over the world the opportunity to take part in an awareness trip to the polar regions, accompanied by educators and scientists. Every year, the Prince Albert II Foundation, in partnership with Monaco’s National Youth Education and Sports, supports the competition “A Student in the Arctic”, open to all Grade 12 students in the Principality. The winners of the two categories – photography and written expression – join the association’s “Students on Ice” group for a 15-day trip to the Arctic. This experience offers the students, accompanied by teachers and scientists, the opportunity to gain a better understanding of our planet and discover one of the planet’s most preserved, off the beaten track, natural environments. Six students from schools in Monaco have had the opportunity of being made aware of the impacts of global warming in these regions, which are so rich in biodiversity yet so vulnerable.
SPAIN – The Spanish branch is the nineth international seat of the FPA2, and was created in April 2016 under the legal form of Delegation. From the beginning, the Foundation has been interested by Spain for its exceptional biodiversity, its influence on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, its climatic variety, and the prestige of its scientists, experts and public and private institutions. The Delegation hosts and follows the mission of the FPA2, working in the Spanish territory for the protection of the environment and the fight against climate change, through the broadcasting of its message, the identification and monitoring of projects and the consolidation of the institutional links. Since its creation, the Spanish branch has developed communication actions through interviews, news and articles. It also organized and took part in conferences, as well as meetings with experts, public and governmental institutions and companies. In the meanwhile, the branch contributed to the development of Spanish projects. In 2017 HSH travelled to Madrid on 6th March 2017 within the framework of the first actions implemented by the Foundation’s Spanish branch, created in April 2016. In the presence of Mrs Carol Portabella, the President of the Foundation’s Spanish branch, the Sovereign visited the Dehesa del Milagro biodynamic farming estate located North of Madrid. This was followed by an evening event during which guests were introduced to the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and made aware of the causes it promotes.