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Monaco´s Prince Albert Opens IAEA Environment Exhibit

Prince Albert of Monaco

HSH Prince Albert of Monaco informally briefs the press on environmental initiatives during the IAEA´s 50th General Conference. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

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Prince Albert II of Monaco today underscored his commitment to protecting the earth´s environment at the opening of a special exhibit at the IAEA General Conference in Vienna. The Prince opened the event - entitled "Nuclear Technologies for the Environment: Protecting Air, Earth and Oceans" - with IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei.

"The oceans and the seas are key elements in the protection of what is definitely beginning to be perceived as international public goods," Prince Albert said to a gathering of General Conference delegates and dignitaries. "Today, more than ever, the sea is regarded as a source of wealth for humans - as an essential sanctuary - and contains evidence of our Earth´s past. It is a precious resource for humankind’s future."

Monaco has a long history in the investigation of the marine environment. Prince Albert II´s great great grandfather, Prince Albert I, was a pioneer in oceanographic exploration, an organizer of European oceanographic research and founder of several international organizations including the Musée Océanographique. Recently, Prince Albert II, in conjunction with IAEA marine scientists, traced his great great grandfather´s steps as he explored the Arctic region – looking for clues to unlock the mysteries of climate change.

After the exhibit opening, the Prince briefed members of the international press corps and met with Dr. ElBaradei, expressing appreciation for the IAEA-Monaco partnership dedicated to protecting the marine environment. "We have always had our eyes, ears and soul turned to the Mediterranean," the Prince said.

A New PACT Partner

The Prince also offered his commitment to the IAEA´s Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).

By leveraging the Principality´s expertise in the use of nuclear energy in the medical field, "we will support the efforts of the IAEA in its fight against the great threats of our era," the Prince pledged. Currently, the Principality is exploring meaningful ways in which to contribute to this program – among those efforts could be training radiologists and radiotherapy technicians at the Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco as well as program funding.

Prince Albert II Foundation

Trading in gas guzzlers for alternative energy vehicles stands among the initiatives the Principality is promoting at home in order to encourage greater individual responsibility for the environment. "We all have a part to play to lessen our impact on the environment and, specifically, to lesson the large amounts of CO2 that we release into the atmosphere."

To this end, in June 2006, Prince Albert launched a new foundation for protection of the environment. The Albert II Foundation "will be a permanent source of dynamic and innovative actions for environmental protection and sustainable environment", the Prince said.

The Foundation will focus on three areas: climate change, biodiversity, and access to drinking water.

Prince Albert said, "Monaco may not be the biggest country in the world, but I am determined to show it can be among the most innovative in its approaches to the environment."

Background: The IAEA established its Marine Environment Laboratory in 1961 on the shores of the Principality of Monaco. The Laboratory – the first purpose-built facilities dedicated to marine research - launched a new era in the investigation of the marine environment. Scientists there focus on using radioactive and stable isotopes as tracers to better understand processes in the oceans and seas, addressing pollution problems and promoting wide international cooperation.