Mediterranean missions: discover

Message from H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco

-	S.A.S. Albert II de Monaco. Discours lors de la Monaco Blue Initiative. 18 mars 2024 © Jean-Charles Vinaj - FPA2

By virtue of its geographical features and geopolitical situation, the threats it faces and the activities it generates, the Mediterranean is in many ways a laboratory for the challenges that lie ahead for all seas…

… The movement to protect the sea is gaining ground every year. The time has come to accelerate the movement before it’s too late. The first challenge is to strengthen existing marine protected areas, both politically and legally. The second challenge is the expansion of these marine protected areas, which should cover a third of our seas to ensure effective protection.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco

A word from the expedition leader

Monaco Explorations’ newMissions Méditerranée expedition will take place over several years around the Mediterranean, under the impetus of H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, who has long been committed to preserving the Mediterranean along with all the Principality’s stakeholders. In collaboration with all partners involved in the conservation and sustainable management of the Mediterranean environment, the Explorations de Monaco aim to shine a spotlight on the urgency and importance of accelerated development and effective management of Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean. Supporting initiatives, federating players, pooling resources, explaining, acting in the field, contributing to the dissemination of knowledge, convincing through government action, mediation and science: we’re going to do our utmost to help create the right conditions for the success of this collective undertaking.

Xavier Prache. Chef de Mission. Director, Société des Explorations de Monaco

Xavier Prache, nouveau directeur des Explorations de Monaco lors de sa prise de fonction. 4 septembre 2023©Michel Dagnino. Institut océanographique


Read more
Loading the map
Aire Marine Protégée d’Alonissos. Grèce ©Monk Seal Alliance. Greg Lecoeur
Alonissos Marine Protected Area. Greece ©Monk Seal Alliance. Greg Lecoeur


Second element of the Monaco Explorations” project approved by the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development 2021-2030 (action no. 202), Missions Méditerranée is in line with the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 15), to be held in 2022 in Montreal, and more specifically with target no. 3 of the Kunming-Montreal Global Framework for Biodiversity (GFC) adopted on that occasion: “The goal of the GFC is to promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. Ensure that, by 2030, at least 30% of terrestrial and inland water, marine and coastal areas, in particular areas of high importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services, are adequately conserved and managed through the establishment of ecologically representative, well-connected and equitably managed protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures… “.

This initiative is also part of the Action Plan for an Exemplary Mediterranean (PAMEx), launched at the World Conservation Congress in Marseille in 2020 (IUCN).

The objectives

  • Illustrate and convey the message: “Reconciling mankind and the sea” in a way that is tangible and understandable to the general public.
  • Publicize and promote the various players involved, as well as the values and commitment of the Principality’s actions to protect, understand and sustainably manage the Mediterranean.
  • Mobilize decision-makers in the countries visited to help achieve the “30×30” objective, andfuel internationaldialogue on Marine Protected Areas.
  • Encourage and support monitoring to assess the effectiveness of Marine Protected Areas and identify any restoration actions that may be necessary.
  • Raisingpublic awareness of Marine Protected Area issues.
  • Assess the state of science and promote scientific mediation on marine protected areas in the Mediterranean.
  • Identify the obstacles to the creation and development of marine protected areas, and propose solutions to overcome them.

The challenges

As recalled in the document adopted in 2018 by the Mediterranean Marine Protected Area Managers’ Network, “MedPAN Strategy for 2019-2023 and beyond”,the Mediterranean Sea is a “marine biodiversity hotspot under pressure”. A large semi-enclosed sea, it is home to habitats, species and assemblages of particular ecological importance that are threatened by strong anthropic pressures. These pressures result in particular from population growth, coastal urbanization, unsustainable tourism, industrial activities and overexploitation of fishery resources. They are exacerbated by climate change, which is occurring faster in the Mediterranean than the global average.

The main challenge today, therefore, is to help achieve the target of 30% marine protected areas in the Mediterranean by 2030. Indeed, it is by multiplying the number of marine protected areas and improving their management that the Mediterranean in particular will see its biodiversity preserved.

The diplomatic dimension

In the Mediterranean, H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco is devotedly guiding the new mission of Explorations de Monaco, inspired by the visionary commitment of his predecessors.

As a leader and spokesman, the Monegasque Sovereign defends the cause of the Mediterranean with the major international bodies, underlining His commitment to Marine Protected Areas in the Mediterranean and His ambition to contribute towards the goal of 30% of ecosystems duly conserved and managed by 2030.

Within the framework of diplomatic relations, Mediterranean Missions will be coordinated with official trips. This diplomatic aspect will be extended by the Sovereign Prince’s interventions in various international forums and events dealing with the protection of the Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

The creation of marine protected areas, the recognition by international law that the sea is not a territory where everything is permitted, the criminalization of environmental offenses… Heads of State have an essential role to play in such matters.

H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco. L’Homme et l’Océan, Flammarion / Versilio. 2022


The scientific dimension

The scientific program for each mission will be tailored to the specific requirements of each country. Through our actions, we focus on several key objectives:

  • Monitoring and evaluation of marine protected areas: We will work closely with the authorities managing protected sites to strengthen monitoring and evaluate the effectiveness of marine protected areas.
  • Scientific support in the field: We will provide financial and logistical support for field operations and scientific activities developed and carried out on site. Our aim is to strengthen local capabilities and enhance the value of scientific research in the region.
  • Collecting data for research: We’ll be collecting valuable data during our missions, which will contribute to large-scale research projects. These data are essential for understanding the impact of human activities on marine ecosystems and for guiding conservation actions.

The mediation dimension

Uniting audiences for a sustainable marine future

Our mission goes far beyond a simple scientific program. We also aim to make the most of the knowledge and resources resulting from this initiative by encouraging the exchange and transmission of knowledge with as many people as possible, with a particular focus on the younger generations. This translates into a varied mediation program aimed at engaging a wide audience, civil society players and decision-makers.

Our mediation strategy aims to build an engaged community by promoting interactivity and dialogue through regular mediation operations, accessible to the general public and specialized audiences via a dedicated page on our website, but also through a long-term mediation program, aligned with the duration of the mission until 2030, with regular stopovers and annual events for various audiences, including educational programs, portraits, artistic creations, publications and participatory actions.

Mediterranean missions partners

Dedicated resources

Governance of Monaco Explorations