The Monaco Blue Initiative is “a unique platform that brings together major players in Ocean conservation and governance in annual debates to explore solutions to challenges facing our Ocean and to promote a sustainable blue economy”.
“Held in a spirit of celebration of recent international progress,” the meeting addressed, among other issues, sustainable fisheries, highly protected MPAs, and the role of marine ecosystem restoration in achieving the SDGs.
The Monaco Blue Initiative convened key Ocean stakeholders, including representatives from governments, the private sector, financial and scientific institutions, and civil society to discuss issues related to Ocean protection. Many felt it fueled the momentum in Ocean governance and served as a catalyst in global preparations for the UN Ocean Conference in 2025.
According to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) summary of the meeting, the Monaco Blue Initiative is “a unique platform that brings together major players in Ocean conservation and governance in annual debates to explore solutions to challenges facing our Ocean and to promote a sustainable blue economy.” Its 14th edition (MBI 14) took place at the Oceanographic Museum of Monaco on 20 March 2023, kicking off Monaco Ocean Week, held from 19-25 March.
The ENB notes that the meeting convened against the backdrop of “several landmark developments in international Ocean governance.” In early March, governments agreed on a new UN treaty on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). The International Seabed Authority (ISA), meeting through 31 March, “discussed draft regulations on the exploitation of the deep seabed.”
“Held in a spirit of celebration of recent international progress,” MBI 14 addressed, inter alia:
- Sustainable fisheries: reconciling conservation and exploitation in the next decade and beyond;
- Highly protected marine protected areas (MPAs), what is at stake and what the vision is for 2030;
- The role of marine ecosystem restoration in achieving the SDGs; and
- Raising ambition and scaling solutions for a protected, resilient, and sustainable Mediterranean Sea.
In a welcome address, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco “drew attention to the recently-agreed UN high seas treaty and the UN-endorsed aim to protect 30% of the world’s Ocean by 2030 … by creating a global network of MPAs.” He called on participants to “consider ways to harness new political will, set up projects, and find resources … to create a development paradigm that reconciles humankind with the sea.”
Calling attention to the UN Ocean Conference, which will be co-hosted by Costa Rica and France in Nice in 2025, President of Costa Rica Rodrigo Chaves Robles said “vision without action is hallucination” and invited “the broadest set of stakeholders” to get involved.
In closing, Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, called for a holistic approach to Ocean-related challenges, highlighting the MBI as “a forum to reconcile Ocean protection and a sustainable blue economy.” [ENB Coverage of 14th Meeting of the Monaco Blue Initiative]