The Explorations of Monaco are at the confluence of most of the themes which are dear to Me, and which in this respect resonates particularly in Me. It is an adventure that also echoes the most beautiful traditions of the Principality, and is addressed to all of Humanity.
The cause of the oceans is indeed one which must unite all our driving forces, all our efforts.
Whatever our differences may be, we are all attached to the seas, where life emerged, which contributes to the balances of the planet we share, and on which our future depends.
The Explorations of Monaco is an ambitious project conceived around a unique ship – the Yersin – and a rigorous scientific programme, which aims to contribute to reconcile mankind and the sea.
To achieve this goal, we face three challenges.
First, the challenge of understanding.
The greatest ills the oceans suffer are the result of our ignorance. The ocean depths are in large part unexplored, the intermediate areas almost ignored, marine biodiversity is widely misunderstood.
We struggle to identify the multiple threats and effects, whether it is about the acidification of the oceans, on which I have been mobilising myself for years, about pollution, particularly plastics, or about the weakening of some ecosystems, which are, upsetting the balances of our seas.
To create the conditions for universal action, founded on a solid and indisputable basis, we must rely on the scientific community.
This project, the Explorations of Monaco, has been designed in close collaboration with the scientific community, with renowned researchers, taking part in its campaigns.
The key research subjects are, for example, environmental DNA, the exceptional wealth of biodiversity around submarine mountains and the effects of global warming on marine viruses.
The second principle is that of collective action.
That is what we are doing here, at the UN, on SDG 14, and in the negotiations on the BBNJ.
We have to go further, and mobilize local decision-makers, economic stakeholders, NGOs, ordinary citizens. In this respect, the Yersin will be a place to meet, an opportunity for debate, in the places it anchors, but also, more widely, via its communication and broadcast capability.
The third principle, finally, is that of innovation.
To protect the seas in a sustainable way, we have to break away from the negative effects of a mode of development which has too often been built on the destruction of natural resources. We must show imagination, inventiveness. Qualities which will be present on this ship of a new type, crossing the seas without damaging them and providing a testing ground for new technological solutions.
These three principles – research, awareness-raising and innovation – I deeply believe are key to major change.
And I believe it all the more since they are embodied in a great and rich tradition: that of the contribution of the Principality of Monaco to the environment.This tradition goes back to my great-great-grandfather, Prince Albert 1st, Prince-Scholar who one hundred years ago established the Oceanographic Institute of Paris and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco, and who, throughout his life, was a rigorous scientist, an impassioned populariser and an inventor of genius.
in launching these Explorations of Monaco one hundred years after him, I am aware that I am partly following in his footsteps.
That is why I wanted to undertake this unique project, by the mobilisation of my Government and bringing together leaders, renowned scientists and the driving forces of the Principality of Monaco, in particular my Foundation and the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco.
We need you all, your energy, your support, your enthusiasm. For the oceans, the environment, your planet needs you.
It is a major challenge, one of the great adventures of this century, one of the most important, one of the most urgent, with the ambition to make peace between mankind and the sea!
I would like to thank all those who have made possible this project, the Explorations of Monaco:
- My Government and the National Council of Monaco, first of all, who understood its interest and the many implications for the Principality.
- The various partners, in particular The Scientific Centre of Monaco, the Oceanographic Institute, the Oceanographic Museum, my Foundation, of course, and the Yacht Club of Monaco. These entities have given its scientific and environmental coherence;
- The owner of the Yersin, François Fiat, thanks to whom we have been able to charter this magnificent ship;
- Finally, all the Explorations of Monaco teams, the captain of the Yersin, Jean Dumarais and his crew, whose talents will be invaluable. With everyone’s combined efforts, we have succeeded in carrying out this great project, in the manner prescribed by the scientific direction committee, and receiving the exploration equipment on board.
- The Yersin has left the port of Monaco on 27 July, 2017 on a three-year voyage, which will see it cross many of the world’s seas and, above all, contribute, I hope, to reconcile mankind and the sea.
H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco
Caption and credit the photo of the Prince diving “HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco operates a 360 degree video rig while diving in the waters of Tubatahara”. Photo by Sylvain Peromoul.