Avenue de Fontvieille to reopen before Christmas

In a welcome change to the schedule, the Avenue de Fontvieille will reopen weeks earlier than initially planned due to advancements on the Ilot Pasteur project. 

The Monegasque government has announced that the Avenue de Fontvieille, a major road link in the Principality, will fully open nearly three weeks ahead of schedule at 6pm on 23rd December. 

This news will come as a relief to road users, and is thanks to the hard work of the project workers and the government’s push to allow access to this stretch of road before the busy holiday period traffic.  

The total closure of this section of road since September has allowed for full, unobstructed access to the area by the construction companies, which collectively have intensified efforts over recent weeks in a bid to reopen to traffic before the initially predicted reopening date in mid-January.  

The extension of the construction area in which the base of the future office building will be located has now been finished, and, with the exception of some occasional and temporary closures as needed, related to crane activity, for example, the Avenue de Fontvieille will now remain permanently open.  

Ilot Pasteur (pictured) is an extensive construction project that will add more than 100,000m² to Monaco’s property footprint. It has been dubbed “one of the most important public projects in the Principality” and will include many new public facilities, including the Charles III College, the new Espace Léo Ferré, a media library, and 900-space public car park. Completion of the project is set for 2024.  



Photo source: Monaco Government

Photos: Prince Albert celebrates 40 years of Red Cross presidency

An emotional evening shared by the Princely Family and volunteers from Monaco’s Red Cross has celebrated four remarkable decades of Prince Albert as the organisation’s dedicated president. 

On Saturday 17th December, Prince Albert, accompanied by his wife Princess Charlene, the couple’s two children Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella, and his niece Camille Gottlieb, entered the Chapiteau de Fontvieille to a warm and heartfelt welcome from more than 320 Croix Rouge de Monaco volunteers. 

The occasion celebrated 40 years to the day since Prince Albert took over the presidency of the well-known organisation, which had arranged for a retrospective exhibition of photographs from over the years to line the hall.  

Much has changed in the four decades since Prince Albert took on the role, and the Monaco Red Cross’s Secretary General Frédéric Platini and Treasurer Bettina Ragazzoni-Janin spoke fondly of the developments and changes the Prince had helped bring about in his four decades of tenure, before broadcasting a special video to mark its anniversary.  

Prince Albert and his family pose for a commemorative photograph of the evening, source Croix Rouge de Monaco

In a touching speech, Prince Albert recalled his personal experiences at the Red Cross and extended sincere thanks to the organisation’s partner and donors, “without whom nothing would be possible”.  

He then received a memento of the night from his children, a framed photo of the twins with the 40th anniversary logo and a sweet inscription of “Bravo Papa”. Prince Albert was also gifted an engraved Jaquet Droz watch by the Red Cross’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors.  

The festivities concluded with a gourmet meal and music, complemented by entertainment from comedian Hassan of Monaco and ice sculptor Mario Amegee, who both volunteer locally. Gymnasts from the Femina Sports de Monaco rounded off the exceptional night.


Photo sources: Croix Rouge de Monaco/Facebook/Fitte

COP15 breakthrough: historic deal struck to stop biodiversity loss by 2030

Negotiators from across the world have adopted a landmark global biodiversity agreement at COP15 in Montréal, supporting a commitment to preserve 30% of all land and seas by the year 2030.

The breakthrough came as 195 countries completed their negotiations at COP15 in Montréal, Canada, the United Nations Biodiversity Conference aimed at creating a plan to protect and restore biodiversity through 2030.

The outcome document, called the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, adopts 23 goals and targets aiming to protect and restore nature for current and future generations, ensure its sustainable use as well as spur investments for a green global economy. Together with the Paris Agreement on climate, it paves the way towards a climate-neutral, nature-positive and resilient world by 2050.

“The agreement reached at COP15 is a landmark deal to protect nature, restore ecosystems and keep our planet liveable,” said Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal. “This is about our very survival: humanity has no future on a dead planet. We need nature and biodiversity for food security, our economy, our wellbeing, and our health. Nature is also our best ally in the fight against the climate crisis. When we restore and protect nature, it can help us adapt and shield us from the worst impacts of climate change.”

The Kunming-Montreal biodiversity agreement includes key global targets to:

  • Restore 30% degraded ecosystems globally (on land and sea) by 2030
  • Conserve and manage 30% areas (terrestrial, inland water, and coastal and marine) by 2030
  • Stop the extinction of known species, and by 2050 reduce tenfold the extinction risk and rate of all species (including unknown)
  • Reduce risk from pesticides by at least 50% by 2030
  • Reduce nutrients lost to the environment by at least 50% by 2030
  • Reduce pollution risks and negative impacts of pollution from all sources by 2030 to levels that are not harmful to biodiversity and ecosystem functions
  • Reduce global footprint of consumption by 2030, including through significantly reducing overconsumption and waste generation and halving food waste
  • Sustainably manage areas under agriculture, aquaculture, fisheries, and forestry and substantially increase agroecology and other biodiversity-friendly practices
  • Tackle climate change through nature-based solutions
  • Reduce the rate of introduction and establishment of invasive alien species by at least 50% by 2030
  • Secure the safe, legal and sustainable use and trade of wild species by 2030
  • Green up urban spaces.

The financial commitment

The deal will mobilise at least USD 200 billion per year by 2030 from all sources, both domestic and international, public and private. It will address subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity, with the commitment to identify by 2025 and eliminate by 2030 a total of at least USD 500 billion per year.

The new Global Biodiversity Framework Fund established under the Global Environment Facility will be open to financing from all sources.

Business accountability

In a major step to improve business action on biodiversity, large and transnational companies and financial institutions will be required to regularly monitor, assess and disclose risks, dependencies and impacts on biodiversity, and provide information to consumers to promote sustainable consumption.

Next steps

Countries will now be required to implement the framework through domestic and international action. Before the next COP in 2024, all countries have to prepare updated National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans as well as National Biodiversity Finance Strategies. The next COPs will consider if the cumulative impact of the national actions is sufficient to reach the global goals and targets for 2030 and 2050.

In parallel to policy action, countries and multilateral financial institutions will now work on a fast start to the mobilisation of financing.

Photo by Gwen Weustink on Unsplash

Covid-19 latest: Ninth wave subsiding but warnings continue

Covid circulation has fallen in Monaco as French health experts suggest the winter peak may have already been reached. But risks remain high as the flu and bronchiolitis viruses continue to circulate at epidemic levels.

According to the latest Monaco Government figures, 101 new cases of Covid were detected in the Principality in the week ending 18th December, compared to 177 the week previously, and 210 the week prior to that.

The incidence rate now sits at 258, significantly down from 452 the previous count.

It suggests that the infection rate reached its peak in Monaco in early December and is starting to subside, an indication supported by health authorities in France.

COVARS, the Committee for Monitoring and Anticipation of Health Risks, said on Monday 19th December that models by the Pasteur Institute indicate with “cautiousness” that France could have reached the height of the ninth wave of Covid.

In the PACA region, the incidence rate is 680 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, a decrease of 30 points compared to the previous week, a trend that is also being observed in France where the average incidence rate is down 5% with nearly 600 cases per 100,000 inhabitants. New cases are down by almost 20% with a slow decline in critical care cases.

However, COVARS, which replaced the Scientific Council, and the Institute believe that the country should “remain cautious” as the situation in hospitals is still extremely tense, due to the “active resumption of the circulation of Sars-COV2, combined with an epidemic of influenza and an intense and early epidemic of bronchiolitis”.

In Monaco, hospitalisations remain high, with 34 Covid patients being treated at the Princess Grace Hospital Centre, 21 of whom are residents, although it is 14 less people than the week prior.

The Monaco Government and COVARS have both recommended health precautions be taken in closed spaces, such as public transport, but both have not suggested mandatory masks should be reintroduced.


Photo by Monaco Life

The cross-border fight to protect Mediterranean biodiversity

Nine influential organisations have come together under a collaborative banner to list all funding grants currently available for Mediterranean biodiversity conservation in one central database. 

This visual overview of biodiversity conservation actions in the Mediterranean, called the Med Conservation Grant Tracker, is an impressive new mapping tool that shows all 700 grants currently available for the region in one place.  

This initiative was born via the Med Donors’ Roundtable, “an informal group of donors supporting the conservation and restoration of nature in the Mediterranean”. Those taking part include the Prince Albert II Foundation (FPA2), the MAVA Foundation, the Adessium Foundation, the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, the French Global Environment Facility, Fundacion Biodiversidad, Oceans5, the Sigrid Rausing Trust and the Thalassa Foundation. Collectively, these organisations have contributed more than €200 million in funds towards biodiversity conservation since 2015.  

The Mediterranean basin includes both marine and freshwater as well as terrestrial environments. Today, the remarkable biodiversity of the region is facing ever-increasing pressure as a result of human activity. 21% of its species are currently considered vulnerable, 75% of fish stocks are overexploited and one third of freshwater vertebrate species are endangered.  

With these concerning statistics front of mind, this new tool was developed with the objective “to highlight the importance of financing nature conservation in the Mediterranean, to avoid the duplication of efforts and to promote collaboration and complementarity of actions between donors”.   

To this end, the Med Donors’ Roundtable is now calling for other donors to join this initiative whilst encouraging all users to provide feedback and suggestions on improvements.   

Philippe Mondielli of the FPA2 says, “We are delighted to join forces with our fellow funders in the framework of this project, highlighting the heritage of past investments in the Mediterranean and making it possible to build new collaborations in this high place of biodiversity, which we urgently need to protect.” 

For further information, please click here. 



Photo source: med-grant-tracker.org

Christmas train strikes cause uncertainty for holiday travellers

Travellers on SNCF trains during the holiday period are facing uncertainty in the face of proposed strikes set to take place over both the Christmas and New Year weekends.

The latest set of worker strikes across France are being staged by the train guards (contrôleurs) onboard the SNCF trains, in a protest against pay and career progression. As of Monday December 19th, the workers union groups had maintained the notice to strike for the weekend dates of both December 24th and 25th and the following week, December 31st and January 1st.

The move to strike was originally put forward in a Facebook group, of which 3,500 SNCF train guards are members. A member of the group explained that the aim was not to disrupt travel, but rather to have their voices heard by management. Following what has been described as a “response…so far below our expectations”, the member lamented that “we are forced to come to this extreme measure”.

SNCF has put forward a proposal for a €600 bonus and a 5.9% general salary increase in its response to negotiations, which has received mixed responses from the group of workers’ union groups.

One of the syndicates – Unsa-Ferroviaire – conceded that SNCF’s offer is “of a very good level” and has accordingly lifted its strike notice. However, the three remaining union groups have responded by calling on SNCF to “increase its offer to calm the situation” and creating an uncertainty-filled situation. Both SUD-Rail and CGT union groups have announced that neither will lift their strike notice, nor formally call for a strike. Instead, they have left the decision to use the “union tool” of strike action up to individual union members. The fourth syndicate, CFDT, has not yet made an announcement as to its position.

Based on the lack of clarity around the number of guards participating in the strike, it is unknown how the levels of service will be impacted, however there are fears of a repeat of the strike in early December which saw a 60% cancellation to TGV rail services.


Photo by Monaco Life