Address by H.S.H. Prince Albert II at the General Debate of the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly

H.S.H. Prince Albert II adressing
the General Assembly

25 September 2007

Video in English

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary General,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Heads of States and Governments,

Allow me, first of all, to address my warmest congratulations to the President of this 62nd session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. With this election, which honors your country and the Group of Eastern Europe, the members of this Assembly have unanimously recognized, Mr. President, your eminent competence and your perfect knowledge of the Organization. May you and the other members of the Bureau be assured of the active cooperation of my delegation.

Mr. President,

You have chosen the theme of climate change for this 62nd session of the General Debate. I would like to thank you for this initiative, which has been commended by all.

Today, I would like to share my observations on this issue with you as well as my personal commitment in service of this cause.

Very early on, I have learned to appreciate nature and take the necessary measures to protect it. From my very earliest years, I was taught to share and to give back, then I wanted to see and learn things for myself; and my responsibility today is to testify and to act.

This is the reason why, in June 2006, I decided to make my contribution as well as that of the Principality by creating a Foundation that bears my name. The mission of the Prince Albert II Foundation is to identify priority and symbolic projects and to accelerate their implementation in order to reach concrete results throughout the world, aimed at a sustainable and equitable management of natural resources.

The Foundation's action is based on three strategic principles. The first is to act alongside Nations, international institutions, and opinion leaders in order to enhance awareness and accelerate decisions for a sustainable development. I will personally commit to leading awareness raising missions on the ground around the world.

I will also stand together with other Heads of States, like today, and take part in international negotiation meetings regarding the environment.

The second objective of my Foundation is to promote initiatives, activities, and actions that combine innovation with protection. The Foundation supports and finances about thirty projects this year. Through these actions, the Foundation wishes to testify that it is possible to have sustainable practices and behavior that are respectful of the environment, as well as compatible with economic, social and human development.

Lastly, its third objective is to create public understanding as broadly as possible of environment challenges and the responsibilities of each individual act to preserve the environment.

I commit myself to devoting the time and energy necessary to the success of these actions.

All the programs adopted by the Foundation comply with the environmental policy of my country. Monaco has long been active in protecting the marine environment and in favor of the development of scientific research in marine biology. The creation, one century ago, of the Oceanographic Museum and the Museum of Prehistoric anthropology by my great-great-grandfather Albert the 1st, and the more recent creation of an underwater reserve by my Father, Prince Rainier III, bear witness to this policy. RAMOGE Agreements for the control of marine pollution and ACCOBAMS, for the conservation of Cetacea, came to reinforce this international engagement. And this mission is part of the history of my country.

This year, I agreed to sponsor an ambitious international initiative launched by UNEP. The goal is to provide for the planting of at least 1 billion trees worldwide in 2007. Seven months after the launching of this operation, the objective had been achieved. It was an extraordinary sign of hope, and I can only commend the dynamism of this organization, whose actions within the UN are essential for the environment.

The time for action is today. We already know that the future of humanity is at stake. This is a collective responsibility. To tackle this urgent matter, it is necessary to raise awareness, mobilize capacities and revolutionize our lifestyle. This is how we will forge a new relationship to nature. As Yves Coppens, a major French scientist underlines: "for millennia, climate has dictated man's behavior; today, it is man who dictates his behavior on nature".

It is also necessary to commit ourselves to promoting a new ethic: that of the right of the protection of the environment. What a better place than this prestigious institution to lead the way forward. This new ethical dimension can only be achieved if built on the sincere commitment of each individual. This is why Bill Clinton in his recent book, calls for concrete mobilization, and as he says it so well: "each one of us can give something. There is so much to do; it is never too late to start". Like President Clinton, I believe that this is a matter of generosity.

It is thus imperative to transcend our own interests and to learn to reestablish a harmonious relationship between humankind and nature. Safeguarding our Planet is the challenge of the 21st century. This challenge requires courage, tenacity, commitment and generosity. Above all, let us act. Peter Frumhoff, one of the main contributors to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report declared, following a large scale study (Union of Concerned Scientists): "that some changes are inevitable, but worst consequences can be avoided if we act quickly". This message was reiterated repeatedly here yesterday during the day of the special meeting on climate change on the initiative of the Secretary General. The European Union has shown the way by committing to a 50% reduction of its greenhouse gases by 2050. Let us help developing countries by finding new financial resources, let's quickly work on our modes of production and consumption.

To meet this challenge, we must work together to find solutions to existing problems. Individual announcements or actions will never solve this problem. This threat is a global one. As the climatologist, Edouard Bard, has pointed out, "global warming concerns our entire ecosystem and the management of the consequences of this phenomenon can only be done at the global level".

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have long lived in a world fraught with threats, but for the first time, we are facing a planetary threat that puts humanity at stake. The evolution of human mindsets and behavior inevitably takes time and yet our Planet cannot wait. So, without further delay, we must adopt a culture of responsibility, for we must undertake to meet this historic challenge which is keeping with history and so that we may preserve planet Earth for our children. Let us make the choice of hope based on humanistic values and let us not forget the power of courage when it is supported by will, the will of placing mankind at the heart of our priorities.

There are also ethical considerations which inspire the constant and resolute commitment of my country in the fight against terrorism. Violence can never be justified in any circumstances as a legitimate means to pursue any combat whatever the cause may be.

To consolidate its legal framework in compliance with international standards, and according to the recommendations of the FATF (Financial Task Force on Money Laundering), the Principality of Monaco took identical measures as those adopted by the EU directives to fight money laundering and terrorism. Without waiting for the new assessment of the Moneyval committee in this area, my Government enacted new laws and regulations on these issues. Monaco has been recognized for leading the way in this field. I will make sure to keep guaranteeing the reputation of the Principality as a safe State. And based on these arrangements, I reiterate my unfaltering determination to combat manifestations of terrorism in all its forms.

For my country, sustainable development and the fight against poverty go hand in hand, and we are called upon to adopt a new way or manner of growth more respectful of the resources of our planet which, while abundant, are not inexhaustible.

This is the reason why I asked my Government to increase by 30%, for the year 2008, in international cooperation the total amount of the voluntary contributions of the Principality to the Funds and Programs of the United Nations. This significant increase of funding devoted to the Official Development Assistance is part of my country's commitment to eventually have reached the targeted 0,7% of its Gross National Product to Official Development Assistance. There is so much to accomplish still in the fields of education, access to basic healthcare, the fight against pandemics and HIV/AIDS, human crises following natural disasters or conflicts and lastly the fight against poverty.

I pay a particular attention to the Principality's actions to the multilateral and bilateral assistance programs of the Principality supplemented by the generous initiatives of charitable organizations in Monaco which are also part of the tradition of my country.

Children welfare has, for a long time, been a priority commitment of the Principality. My Sister, Her Royal Highness the Princess of Hanover, is actively involved with this issue through Amade mondiale association (World Association of Children's Friends). Next December, your General Assembly will hold a high level debate to evaluate the progress in the implementation of "a world fit for children" declaration and action plan which were adopted in 2002. Considerable progress has been achieved in five years, although there are many needs yet to fulfill.

Monaco has also joined the UNICEF, UNAIDS and WHO campaigns which is called "United for Children against AIDS". My Sister, H.S.H. Princess Stéphanie, Special Representative of UNAIDS, committed herself wholeheartedly to harnessing energies of the Principality and beyond, to advance in the fight against this plague.

Mr. President,

The reform of the Security Council of the United Nations remains an important issue. I reiterate the support of my country for a process of increasing the membership of the Council. The chances of maintaining international peace and security will be greater with a more equitable representation of international community in the Security Council.

I also express the wish that the establishment of a new Department of Field Support working alongside the Department of peacekeeping operations will facilitate the actions of the U.N. personnel on the ground who work valiantly to safeguard peace and security.

Mr. Secretary General,

Allow me to congratulate you for the efforts who have undertaken to that end.

Mr. President,

My country became a member of the United Nations fourteen years ago. Ever since, the Principality has increased its participation on the international scene. The Principality has taken part in many international meetings in the recent years.

And I am sincerely delighted that this coming February, the 10th special session of the Governing Council of United Nations Environment Program and the Global Ministerial Environment Forum will be held in Monaco.

On this occasion, I will proudly receive the Ministers of Environment of our countries to discuss topics similar to those we are tackling within the framework of this General Assembly and thus continue the work launched here.

In so doing, my country will, I hope, contribute once again its part to the core debates of our time and will reaffirm its will to be at the center of genuine issues.

Thank you.