HSH the Crown
Ten years ago, the Rio Conference, in which I had the honour of taking part alongside the Sovereign Prince, my father, gave birth to hopes of a more fraternal world, fighting more effectively against poverty, concerned for human health, genuinely anxious to conserve and manage our environment and our natural resources on a sustainable basis.
The decade that has gone by since Rio has been marked, in Monaco, by a truly open-minded and far-reaching approach to the whole question of the environment and development, on the scale, naturally, of our own dimensions, so small compared with the vastness of the world.
This rapid evolution concerns not only public aid, through bilateral or multilateral channels, but also extensive cooperation with the various international legal instruments, whether directly inspired by Rio or not, and finally energetic support for the actions of NGOs in many underserved regions of our planet.
Our public aid to development, inexistent only ten years ago, is constantly increasing and bears striking witness to the Principality's commitment to international solidarity. It is admittedly still well below the target of 0.7% of GDP respected, alas, by so few countries, but I am convinced of our determination reach this figure in the coming years. Above all, our aid, whether bilateral or multilateral, is characterized by the desire to promote concrete actions in projects on a human scale, giving priority not only to economic and social development but also to education, training, and of course the conservation of natural resources.
The dynamics of growth in the effort to further cooperation and development, whether through public channels or by partnerships with private enterprise and civil society, must continue or be re-launched on a global scale, as we have done and shall continue to do at our own level in Monaco. This is without doubt the most important goal for the new millennium; it must not be limited to pious speeches or target figures that are too often not achieved; it must take the form of practical actions, modest though they may be.
In the quest for sustainable development, the role of international legal instruments is also essential. Here again, countries have to be convinced that national law, often protective and self-centred, must be adapted to the needs of regional or world-wide solidarity and to joint efforts that are nevertheless - and necessarily - adjusted to take account of different degrees of development. In this context, Monaco has ratified and participates actively in three framework conventions deriving from Rio which represent an essential minimum for safeguarding the future of our planet.
In the coming months we shall ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change for, although our levels of greenhouse gas emissions per inhabitant are the lowest of any developed country, we believe that it is our duty to make an effort to change certain non-sustainable habits of consumption. Insofar as, inevitably, all our domestic commitments will not be met, we shall be a party to the implementation of clean development mechanisms for the developing countries.
In the same spirit, we shall also ratify the Carthagena Protocol to the Convention on Biodiversity.
As for the framework convention for the fight against desertification, my country has already been taking part for three years in concrete cross-border projects in Africa sponsored by the Convention Secretariat.
But over and above the actions of the major world institutions, I wish to stress the importance that should be given to "neighbourhood" cooperation at regional or sub-regional level, involving partners, whether public or private, who are genuinely present in the field.
Monaco belongs to a very real eco-region, that of the Mediterranean basin, where one can observe the contrasts between developed countries and transitional or developing economies that can be encountered on a global scale. A true solidarity came into being in this eco-region more than a quarter of a century ago, prompted by the purely environmental concern to protect the Mediterranean against pollution. All the countries of the region, united in the Barcelona Convention, which Monaco has the honour of presiding over at the present time, have since Rio broadened their concerns to include targets for sustainable development, by setting up the Mediterranean Committee for Sustainable Development, whose dynamism and originality have created great interest.
Meeting at ministerial level in my country last November, the Mediterranean countries adopted, at our initiative, a strongly-worded political declaration and decided to implement a strategy for sustainable development based on social development, the conservation of natural resources, better governance and greater cooperation. This strategy should become reality in the next few years and I am convinced it will serve as an example.
One of its aspects I would like to stress in conclusion concerns the conservation of biodiversity and natural resources.
I welcome the fact that Monaco has been able to give concrete form to several initiatives concerning the preservation of marine mammals in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea through the ACCOBAMS Agreement and the creation of the Franco-Italo-Monegasque sanctuary for the protection of these animals. However, one cannot but be shocked at the same time by the marked diminution in fish populations in all the seas of the planet: a perfect example of shortsighted management of natural resources with consequences that are not only ecological but also economic and social, and that concern the security of food supplies to many regions. This is why it seems to me essential that the measures laid down in paragraphs 29 to 34 of the implementation plan concerning the seas and oceans, and on which there was consensus, should be speedily and effectively implemented by all countries.
Once again, beyond the institutions, it is in the field, day by day, that we can build a better world, through our solidarity, through our everyday efforts, which are often far from super-human, and by the trust and responsibility we feel towards a true ethics of Sustainable Development.
Let us not hesitate, Mr President, to commit ourselves to this approach. Otherwise, it is the whole world that will suffer.