The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation aims to be a catalyst for environmental projects, by promoting the sustainable and equitable management of natural resources. In January 2010 it joined forces with MC2D (Monaco Développement Durable, founded in 2004 to bring together the various Monegasque associations working for the protection and improvement of environmental quality in different areas), to launch a campaign in Monaco to promote the use of wood harvested from sustainably managed forests. This campaign is entitled “Monaco makes a commitment against deforestation” and operates under the slogan “Wood Forever”.
Deforestation of the tropical rainforests accounts for more than 20% of greenhouse gas emissions and moreover leads to soil degradation, loss of biodiversity and the exclusion of the local populations. Efforts to halt or even slow down the loss of this ecologically irreplaceable resource have always been neutered by the huge short-term profits to be gained by simply ransacking the forests. It is agreed that one of the most effective ways of combating this scourge is to give these forests economic value by developing sustainable management, thus preserving biodiversity while generating economic value for the parties concerned - foresters and the indigenous people alike.
MC2D and the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation are keen to support such efforts by developing the use of certified wood throughout the country and to make the Principality an example in this field.
The Foundation's offices are at 16 Boulevard de Suisse, conveniently next door to to the Novotel, where a press meeting was held on October 25 for various Monaco organisations to jointly sign a pledge to take whatever actions they could individually manage to support the initiative. The signatories were (left to right)
Michel Bouquier, General Delegate for Tourism in the Principality
S E Bernard Fautrier, Vice-President of the Prince Albert II Foundation
Sophie Biancheri, Director General of the Grimaldi Forum
Raoul Viora, President of MC2D
The Foundation is considered to be the founder of a Centre of Excellence in the Congo Basin, working with The Forest Trust (TFT) and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), organisations devoted to managing forests for the long-term. In March 2009 the Danzer Group achieved FSC certification for its forestry concession in the Republic of Congo. The FSC certified forest is home to more than 2000 semi-nomadic people, 40% of whom are the indigenous Pygmies, and is a refuge for a diversity of endangered and protected mammals.
Closer to home there are many efforts, large and small, that can be made to support the aims of the Foundation. As a major centre of yachting Monaco encourages the use of sustainable timber in the construction of yacht hulls, and the Foundation took space at this year's Yacht Show to promote itself and its aims.
Even tourism and event management can play its part. As Sylvie Biancheri pointed out when I interviewed her for The Riviera Woman, the Grimaldi Forum hosts a large number of meetings and cultural events, all of which need to be promoted. This inevitably requires brochures to be printed on paper which itself comes from trees, so a contribution can be made by reducing unnecessary print volume. And as a key part of Monaco's cultural life the Grimaldi Forum can promote awareness of the Foundation, to encourage local companies and visitors to play their part in helping to achieve its aims.
Audio interview with Sylvie Biancheri
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This article also appears in the magazine Monaco Life, available from news stands throughout the Principality.
Feature contributed by The Riviera Woman on October 25, 2010 at 7:36 pm.