Commonwealth Secretary-General to call for increased co-operation and action on oceans at Monaco Blue Initiative

17 March 2023
Press release
The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC Commonwealth Secretary-General

Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, will address the Monaco Blue Initiative on 20 March 2023 to advocate for increased international co-operation and action on tackling shared ocean challenges.

The Secretary-General will argue that the devastating effects of climate change, plastic pollution and overfishing can be effectively mitigated if nations and non-state actors enhance co-operation through the use of measures such as shared financing and debt restructuring and commit themselves to a sustainable blue economy.

The Monaco Blue Initiative is an international conference that brings together government officials, business leaders, scientists and non-profit actors to examine the key challenges facing the future of the ocean.

With ‘Protecting Biodiversity and Promoting Resilience in a Changing Ocean’ as its theme, this year’s conference features a distinguished line-up of speakers, including HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and Costa Rican President Hon Rodrigo Chaves Robles.

During her remarks, the Secretary-General will share the Commonwealth’s joined-up approach to conserving marine biodiversity and protecting the ocean as well as coastal communities from the impacts of climate change.

In a statement ahead of the conference, Secretary-General Scotland said:

“I am pleased to be invited to speak at the Monaco Blue Initiative and commend HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco for demonstrating exceptional leadership towards safeguarding the ocean. In the Commonwealth, we share his commitment to the sustainable use and protection of this vital resource.”

She added:

“However, the lack of funding for ocean-focused projects is deeply concerning, especially considering that Sustainable Development Goal 14 on the ocean is one of the least funded of all SDGs. To address this funding gap, immediate and collaborative action is required, with all sectors working together to support countries and organisations in delivering their ocean commitments.

“I believe that the Monaco Blue Initiative offers a valuable platform to strengthen partnerships and support ocean-focused initiatives needed to conserve marine life and promote the sustainable use of ocean resources. By working together, we can create a future where the ocean remains healthy and resilient, and its benefits are enjoyed by all.”

She will also highlight the Commonwealth’s leadership in promoting sustainable ocean governance through the Commonwealth Blue Charter – an unprecedented commitment by Commonwealth countries to work together on addressing shared ocean challenges - and encourage others to join the effort.

The Secretary-General will speak alongside Hon Jean-François Ferrari, Designated Minister for Fisheries and Blue Economy, Seychelles, whose country has made significant strides in biodiversity conservation.

The island nation increased its marine protected area from 1 per cent in 2012 to more than 30 per cent by 2020 and was one of the first countries in the world to establish ‘blue bonds’ to support investment in sustainable ocean activities.

In Monaco, the Secretary-General will also meet with government officials, business leaders and other key stakeholders to discuss partnership opportunities for sustainable ocean governance.

This will be the first official visit of the Commonwealth Secretary-General to Monaco and is part of her ongoing efforts to foster stronger co-operation between the Commonwealth and the wider international community.

Note: For interviews with the Commonwealth Secretary-General in Monaco, please contact Snober Abbasi at [email protected]

Media contact

  • Snober Abbasi Senior Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat
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