We all know the importance of the protection of the marine environment for sustainable development and economy of coastal countries, like Monaco. Sadly, this environment has been under continuous threats from development, tourism, urbanisation and demographic pressure. The semi-enclosed Mediterranean sea is challenged by new pollutant cocktails, problems of fresh water management, over-fishing, and now increasingly climate change impacts.
Monaco has a long history in the investigation of the marine environment. Prince Albert I, was one of the pioneers in oceanographic exploration, organizer of European oceanographic research and founder of several international organizations including the Musée Océanographique.
We are very proud that the International Atomic Energy Agency established in 1961 its Marine Environment Laboratory in Monaco, the only marine laboratory in the United Nations system. More than 40 years ago the IAEA joined forces with the Grimaldi family and several interested governments to establish the Marine Environment Laboratory in Monaco. Their first purpose-built facilities, dedicated to marine research, launched a new era in the investigation of the marine environment using radioactive and stable isotopes as tracers for better understanding of processes in the oceans and seas, addressing their pollution and promoting wide international cooperation. We are pleased that the Government of the Principality of Monaco has been actively engaged in these developments and is continuously supporting activities of the Monaco Laboratory.
The Centenary of Prince Albert I’s Arctic Expeditions was recently celebrated by retracing part of this expedition in the vicinity of Svalbard Island before completing a trip to the North Pole by dog sled. This expedition to Svalbard also provided opportunities for scientific organisations based in Monaco, including the IAEA Marine Environment Laboratory, to undertake research in a relatively remote location and in the sensitive Arctic environment. I was pleased to support and work with scientists from the IAEA Marine Environment Laboratory on projects related to the evolution over time of climate change and the transport of long-range pollutants.
My continuous contribution in these research projects and expeditions convinced me that it is absolutely necessary and urgent to change mankind’s mentality towards our planet. As for me, I will do my best through initiatives and projects initiated by the foundation I created to be part of one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.
For more information about Prince Albert’s foundation, contact the Palais Princier in Monaco. E-mail: [email protected]
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