Blue Pangolin at Monaco Ocean Week 2024

From 18 to 22 March 2024, the Principality of Monaco once again hosted local and international experts, the scientific community, voluntary sector, and public authorities for the 4th edition of the Monaco Ocean Week and 15th Monaco Blue Initiative. And Blue Pangolin Consulting were honoured to be present to showcase solutions for the Ocean and connect with clients, colleagues and friends. 

The Monaco Blue Initiative

On 17th and 18th March, Francis joined Ocean leaders, country representatives, innovators, philanthropy, and the private sector at the 15th Monaco Blue Initiative – a unique platform for debate that brings together major players in ocean conservation and governance to reflect on the key challenges facing our future ocean, in a concrete and forward-looking way. 

The 15th edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative, opened by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, focused on Ocean protection and governance, goals for the upcoming decade, the blue economy and the role of the private sector, as well as the role of the Mediterranean in achieving 30×30. The day also saw updates from major Ocean efforts to tackle key threats to Oceans as well as upcoming events including an update on international discussions regarding deep sea mining, the Plastic Treaty, and the agreement on Fisheries Subsidies, as well as the upcoming UN Ocean Conference 2025 in Nice, France. 

The Monaco Blue Initiative attendees, including Francis, pose for a picture outside of the Musée océanographique de Monaco with His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco.

Implementing the Coral Reef Breakthrough: Solutions #ForCoral

On Tuesday 19th March, the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), supported by Blue Pangolin Consulting ltd acting as the Designated Administrative Representative (DAR) to ICRI, hosted its event – Implementing the Coral Reef Breakthrough: Solutions #ForCoral – which welcomed over 100 attendees to join the rich discussion and network around 4 key solutions for the conservation, protection, and restoration of coral reefs: Global Fund for Coral Reefs, the G20 CORDAP (Coral Research & Development Accelerator Platform), Blue Alliance Marine Protected Areas; and Carbonwave.

The event kicked-off with an emotive video capturing the heartfelt responses around “What if Coral Reefs Disappeared by 2050?”, from ICRI’s Ask the Expert Series, with moderator, Minna Epps (IUCN), guiding speakers through a collection of calls to action and hope for coral reefs.

Olivier Wenden, Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco, highlighted Monaco’s commitment to coral reefs and its longstanding relationship with ICRI, and Francis, as the Global Coordinator for ICRI, provided an overview of the Coral Reef Breakthrough and 30 years of ICRI.

We welcomed Loreley Picourt, Ocean & Climate Platform, to contextualise the Coral Reef Breakthrough in the wider Ocean Breakthroughs and the significant efforts being undertaken by the Ocean Community.

Following pitches from the Solution providers, a valuable update was provided by Ashok Adicéam on the upcoming 3rd UN Ocean Conference in Nice, France, in June 2025, and Minna highlighted the importance of acting for coral reefs, and the complementarity of the 4 action points of the Breakthrough before opening the networking session, enabling attendees and solution providers to discuss their critical, and innovative, efforts for coral reefs.

View the images from the event here.

Francis presents the Coral Reef Breakthrough during ICRI’s event on Tuesday 18th March.

Let’s Be Nice to the Ocean

The Let’s Be Nice to the Ocean roundtable took place in on Wednesday 20 March and saw Francis invited to participate as part of the panel and provide reflections from the International Coral Reef Initiative. The aim of the event was to discuss the proposals contained in the Let’s Be Nice to the Ocean e-book published at the end of 2023, and the activities and plans in the run-up to the 3rd UN Ocean Conference in Nice, France in June 2025. Participants were asked to consider civil society initiatives and outreach opportunities, and next steps before, during and after the UN Ocean Conference.

Olivier Wenden, Vice-President and CEO of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, welcomed the audience and speakers in a packed conference room with the event co-facilitated by Rémi Parmentier, Coordinator of the Let’s Be Nice to the Ocean, and Loreley Picourt, Executive Director of the Ocean & Climate Platform. Both explained that the Let’s Be Nice to the Ocean initiative was initiated as part of the mandate they were given by the French and Costa Rica co-presidency of the UN Ocean Conference, to encourage and facilitate the participation of civil society in the run-up to the Nice Ocean Conference, and pursuant to a survey in which 125 NGOs worldwide took part, which was published in September 2023.

Francis was joined on the panel by other esteemed colleagues: André Abreu, Tara Ocean Foundation; Purificació Canals, MedPAN; Vincent Doumeizel, Senior Adviser to the UN Global Compact; Minna Epps, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN); Fabio Greco, Ocean Born Foundation; Guillermo Ortuño, marine ecologist collaborator with the Let’s Be Nice to the Ocean initiative; and Markus Reymann, TBA21 Academy. 

Francis joins other esteemed panelist as Olivier Wenden, FPA2, provides opening remarks

Francis used his position to highlight that

coral reefs host 25% of marine biodivrsity and they are essential for a healthy ocean, and the one billion people in coastal communities that depend on them. Recognising the USD $9.9 trillion in ecosystem service value that coral reefs provide each year, he said that 30% of coral reefs are already within marine protected areas, but that we need more [and to ensure that they are effectively managed]!

Reviewing the five initial flagship proposals of the Let’s Be Nice to the Ocean initiative, he emphasized the relevance of coral reefs for all of them. “Zero discharge targets in coral reef areas are non-negotiable, we absolutely need them. Let’s do more!” In his view, international legal instruments for coral reef protection are needed to address all drivers of coral loss.

The event was concluded with a powerful message from Dr. Sylvia Earle, Mission Blue and Explorer-in-Residence of the National Geographic Society. She said that in the span of her lifetime, she had been a witness to unprecedented changes to Nature and the Ocean, describing it as “this blue miracle” and expressing gratitude for the privilege of spending time in it. Her Deepness highlighted how in the 1950s, 1960s, 70s, and 90s, we used to be convinced the ocean could never be depleted. “But look at where we are today,” she pointed out, “Humanity has flourished and grown, but while we dominate the planet, it doesn’t mean we are in charge”. Our prosperity, Earle emphasized, depends on “understanding where we fit in, and on how we treat our blue planet.” She cautioned that “we seek to terraform Mars, yet we ‘mars-form’ Earth.” Given that “we still have a choice,” she stressed that “the magnitude of our ignorance is our greatest discovery,” urging us not to squander our chance to understand the miracle of the Ocean.

Source: Lets be nice to the ocean (

Francis and Tom pose for a picture with Her ‘Deepness’, Dr. Sylvia Earle

Reconnecting with colleagues and friends

The occasion of Monaco Ocean Week always serves a key opportunity for the Blue pangolin Team to re-connect with client, colleagues, and friends within the ocean space; to reminisce on past achievements ad forge new relationships. The Team were pleased to share a coffee with the Government of Monaco, the MSC Foundation, Biodiv Earth, the MedFund, Fauna & Flora International, IUCN, and many, many more.

The Blue Pangolin Team are grateful for the continued support provided by the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation and Government of Monaco for another productive and inspiring Monaco Ocean Week and look forward to our continuing our strong relationship with the Foundation. 

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