UBS Monaco, the UBS Optimus Foundation and the Prince Albert Foundation (FPA2) have joined forces to create climate action in the Pelagos region.
An invitation-only event was held Thursday, September 29, at Monte Carlo Bay to launch the 5-year partnership. Oliver Wenden, PAF2 CEO, and Alejandro Velez, UBS Country Head Monaco and Head of FIM Europe, gave the opening remarks.
“At UBS, we believe that we have the power to make a positive change,” said Velez, who took over as head of UBS Monaco in January 2021. “We walk the talk when it comes to sustainability at scale by launching and developing investment and philanthropy programs. Today, we are proud to announce the collaboration with the Prince Albert Foundation for which we commit to double our employee’s donations and add 10% to match all client donations.”
An expert panel with four unique perspectives discussed the Pelagos Initiative and the creation of a dedicated funding window for climate-oriented projects. At 87,500 sq km, just over twice the size of Switzerland, the Pelagos Sanctuary covers three countries, running from Sardinia, Italy, to Corsica, France, across all of Monaco and over to Marseille, France.
With marine life at out backdoor, Wendon addressed how this agreement with a concrete multi-sectorial approach allows us “to go faster with all levels of stakeholders” instead of only governments.
Hannah Wood, Program Director Climate and Environment, UBS Optimus Foundation, touched on the interlinkage between climate and nature investments and how the UBS Optimus Foundation is starting to invest more philanthropic funding in climate development within Europe.
For Marco Lambertini, General Director WWF International, the message was clear: We need to first reconnect with nature. “Every other breath your child takes is produced by the ocean, by whales.” Lambertini enlightened the audience on Blue Carbon and about the scientific evidence of how whales play a significant role in capturing carbon from the atmosphere and regulating global climate.
The scientific research community was represented by Susan Gallon, scientific manager at the Mediterranean Marine Protected Areas Network (Medpan). Gallon explained the challenges in balancing the ecosystem in the only international marine protected area in the Mediterranean with shipping traffic, oil and gas exploitation, pollution and noise pollution.
Even though under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Barcelona Convention, states committed to effectively protecting 10% of marine areas in the Med by 2020 with a target of least 30% by 2030, today we are at 8%. And the Pelagos Sancutary represents nearly 40% of that figure.
As Alejandro Velez said, “Actively supporting the great Pelagos Initiative should matter to all of us living on the Mediterranean coasts.”