Princess Charlene joins kids for Drowning Awareness Day

More than 300 students in Monaco took part in a Drowning Awareness Day on Wednesday in the presence of Princess Charlene of Monaco.

The event was organised by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation in partnership with the Department of National Education, Youth and Sports (DENJS), the Mairie de Monaco, the Monaco Red Cross, the MaritimePolice, the Monaco Fire Brigade and the Académie Monégasque de la Mer.

It brought together 334 CP students in Monaco at the Grimaldi Forum with the aim of raising awareness among young people about drowning prevention, with theoretical and practical workshops in the classroom.

Short activity sessions led by event partners gave the children access to a wide range of knowledge about drowning, the equipment used in the event of an accident, and the first aid gestures that can save lives.

The students were also able to attend a reading session of the book ‘La Magie de l’Eau by its author, Mélinda Guery, of which the Foundation is a partner. The illustrated, poetic and educational work inspires children to learn to swim and gives them the tools to better understand the aquatic environment.

At the end of the morning, each child received a copy of the book, as well as a bag containing a swimming cap and a winter hat in the Foundation’s colours.

Drowning claims more than 230,000 victims worldwide each year, and the hope is that awareness days such as this will prevent any kind of fatality in Monaco.


Join the Monaco Life community – the largest English media in the Principality.  

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on  Facebook, Instagram  and  LinkedIn. 


Photo source: Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation



Civil societies given new legal obligations to follow

Monaco-based civil societies, a group that includes charities and foundations, are now required to elect at least one individual responsible for reporting basic information on structure and its “beneficial owners”.  

Civil societies is defined by the World Bank as “a wide array of organisations: community groups, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), labour unions, indigenous groups, charitable organisations, faith-based organisations, professional associations and foundations”.

A new law passed on 29th September in Monaco requires civil societies registered in the Principality to abide by a new set of legal requirements, giving more transparency to these entities. 

According to the Prince’s Government, civil societies must now designate at least one information manager responsible for reporting on two tasks: basic information on the legal entity and the “beneficial owners” of the civil society. It is also possible to elect two such individuals.  

If a société civile holds a bank account in the Principality, this person or people must reside in Monaco and can be selected by its partners, shareholders, managers or staff.  

If the company’s banking is done elsewhere, or if finding a Monaco resident or citizen to take on the role is not possible, then the government has designated a certain number of professionals who can fill the role, such as notaries, chartered or certified accountants, lawyers, a company service provider or a multi-family office.  

The registration process is free and can be done through the Economic Development Department using the forms available here.  

Click here for more information.

The latest law follows other adjustments were made to the laws governing associations and foundations registered in Monaco at the start of August to meet international requirements laid out by the Moneyval Committee in January

Join the Monaco Life community – the largest English media in the Principality. 

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on  Facebook, Instagram  and  LinkedIn.    


Moneyval: Associations and foundations called to attend information session


Photo source: Kaleb Duperre, Unsplash

Advances and challenges of AI and blockchain explored at Monaco’s Digital Innovation Summit

The transformative potential of artificial intelligence and blockchain in reshaping industries and redefining the future was the focus of the recent Digital Innovation Summit in Monaco, which attracted keynote speakers from far beyond the Principality. 

The inaugural Digital Innovation Summit was held on Friday 17th November at the Association des Jeunes de Monaco (AJM).  

Spearheaded by Tom Hanneuse and Louis L’Herrou (pictured above), the event convened a diverse group of thinkers and pioneers for a variety of sessions and talks on the revolutionary roles of AI and blockchain.  

Pioneering speakers

Jonathan Xu, a pioneer in image reconstruction, set the stage with his insights into the intersection of AI and mind reading. Through his introduction of MindVis 2 and MindEye2, Xu painted a future where deep learning enables technologies akin to an MRI for the brain, coining the concept “a ChatGPT but for your brain”.  

His emphasis on ethical considerations in Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) technologies resonated with the audience, and highlighted the delicate balance between human enhancement and technological overreach. 

Louis L’Herrou, the co-founder of Altores, emphasised AI’s indispensable role in maintaining competitiveness in the future business landscape and introduced BEMA, a solution that encapsulates the ethos of “crafted once, automated forever”, underscoring the inevitability of AI in the evolution of business. 

The conversation also extended to the healthcare sector, with Mustafa Hamdi, the founder of Innodeep, discussing how AI can augment medical professionals’ capabilities through a multi-modal platform and potentially revolutionise the patient care and diagnostics. 

The inaugural edition of the Digital Innovation Summit at the Association des Jeunes de Monaco was well-attended. Photo credit: Tom Hanneuse

Blockchain: the foundation of tomorrow’s tech 

Blockchain technology, another key theme of the summit, was explored in depth in a way that highlighted its transformative potential beyond cryptocurrencies.  

For example, Julien Bonnel, the president of Blockchain Innov and a fintech enthusiast, demonstrated how blockchain could be leveraged for social good by showcasing a project aimed at using blockchain and a mobile app to combat domestic violence. 

Fabrice Marquet, the founder of Monaco Foundry and a man listed on the Forbes 40 Under 40 list, hen took to the stage to discuss his company’s role in revolutionising the early-stage venture capital space through blockchain. 

Antoine Demacy, the president of AJM and a founding member of the Monaco Cryptographic Association, explored the use of Zero-Knowledge (ZK) proofs in sectors like healthcare and supply chain. He discussed how blockchain, particularly ZK proofs, could transform these industries by enhancing privacy and security. 

Visionaries of the summit 

Tom Hanneuse and Louis L’Herrou, the co-founders of Altores and the organisers of the Digital Innovation Summit, summarised the evening of talks with a speech emphasising the need for deep integration of AI and blockchain technologies. 

“We are not just introducing new technologies; we are cultivating an ecosystem where these innovations can flourish and redefine our future,” said Hanneuse.  

“Our goal is to foster an international dialogue about how they can fundamentally change our way of living and doing business,” concluded L’Herrou. 

Read related:

Digital Innovation Summit coming to Monaco


Join the Monaco Life community – the largest English media in the Principality. 

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on  Facebook, Instagram  and  LinkedIn.    


Main photo credit: Tom Hanneuse


“Reality gives way to wonder”: new exhibition lifts the curtain on Prince Rainier’s love of the circus

From childhood to old age, the circus never failed to excite, enthral and entertain Prince Rainier III. His enduring passion for the art form is explored in a new exhibition, ‘The Prince at the Heart of the Circus’, which has now opened to the public.  

Officially opened on Wednesday 22nd November, the new exhibition takes visitors on a mesmerising journey through the history of the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo, which was created by Prince Rainier III in 1974.  

It is an exploration of how Prince Rainier breathed new life into circus arts, combining tradition with modernity, including the challenges of controversy and animal welfare.  

He was the President of the festival, but his role was not just ceremonial. Prince Rainier was intimately involved in every aspect, from scrutinising acts to ensuring the humane treatment of animals.  

“Reality gives way to wonder and the incredible,” he once said of the circus, before remarking on his determination to preserve the circus tradition. “It is not possible to let this world of dreams vanish forever.” 

Exhibition highlights 

The exhibition, which was curated by Princess Stéphanie, presents a tapestry of memories, featuring video excerpts, costumes and rare documents. As soon as visitors enter, they are instantly transported into the circus, as the space has been transformed into a circus tent.  

Visitors are invited to take a seat and watch a 15-minute video that commemorates Prince Rainier III and his involvement with the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo. Following the video, visitors can then proceed to explore the different spaces of the exhibition where Lucas Lemme’s scenography, deeply rooted in nature and light, adds an immersive dimension to the experience. 

The Terrasses de Fontvieille has been transformed into a Big Top for the exhibition. Photo by Monaco Life

Visitors can expect to tour rooms dedicated to clowns, acrobatics and the animals, as well as a trophy room displaying the Festival’s prestigious awards.  

Each space tells a story of Prince Rainier III’s commitment to the circus, emphasising his belief that “the circus is experienced with the senses and is above all a living art”. 

A legacy continued 

Today, the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo thrives, with Princess Stéphanie at the helm and she continuously seeks to maintain the spirit and quality her father envisioned.  

At a preview of the show, which is being hosted by the Terrasses de Fontvieille until late January 2024, Princess Stéphanie told of how important it was to her to create an exhibition that both encapsulated the drama and theatre of the circus and also the passion she and her father shared for spectacle.  

“I wanted to create an ambience of the circus,” she said, before expressing hope that the exhibition would lead to the establishment of a “permanent circus museum” in the Principality in the future. 

‘The Prince at the Heart of the Circus’ exhibition is running from 22nd November to 28th January 2024 at the Terrasses de Fontvieille.  

See more in our Instagram reel below…

Join the Monaco Life community – the largest English media in the Principality. 

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on  Facebook, Instagram  and  LinkedIn.    


All photos by Monaco Life

Interview: Damian Payiatakis explains the surging interest in sustainable investing

Dive into the dynamic world of sustainable investments, a market that has surged to US$35.3 trillion, as Damian Payiatakis, Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing at Barclays Private Bank, unravels challenges like greenwashing and explores the evolving regulatory landscape.

In 2022, the impact investment market reached an estimated US$1.16 trillion, while the value of sustainable investments in major financial markets globally hit US$35.3 trillion (beginning of 2020).

In Europe, half of all the money in investment funds is labelled as ‘sustainable’, according to financial services provider Morningstar, amounting to over €4.18 trillion.

But how do you navigate an investment space where around 100 funds labelling themselves as sustainable are set up every quarter, and “sustainability” has no fixed, legally-defined definition?

Damian Payiatakis, Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing at Barclays Private Bank, has been spearheading Barclays Private Bank’s sustainable investment for over a decade. He tells Monaco Life that, despite the progress, it is a sector that is still in its early stages.

“When you think about ethical investing, it goes back hundreds of years. On the other hand, fields like responsible investing and impact investing were formally launched in 2006 and 2007 respectively. So, we are not nascent nor are we mature. But even with all the subsequent activity and development, we are still at an adolescence phase of the market,” Damian tells Monaco Life. “From the client side, there are definitely some investors that still need to be convinced about the rationale for investing sustainably. But what we are seeing now is more focus on the ‘how’ rather than the why.”

Damian Payiatakis, Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing at Barclays Private Bank

The attitudes of wealthy investors 

Damian points to the latest ‘Investing for Global Impact: A Power for Good’ report, a study by Campden Wealth, in partnership with Barclays Private Bank and Global Impact Solutions Today (GIST). It provides unique insights into the attitudes and actions of 150 of the world’s wealthiest individuals, families, family offices and foundations towards generating positive impact with their capital, collectively worth around $730 million.

In the 2022 study, a vast majority of respondents, 75%, reported that they are concerned about making an investment that is greenwashed. Meanwhile, the number of respondents who were “strongly concerned” about making a greenwashed investment increased from 46% to 52% within a year. Furthermore, 48% respondents rank greenwashing as the space’s top challenge over the next five years.

Greenwashing and how to mitigate it

Greenwashing is a deceptive practice where organisations exaggerate or misrepresent their environmental or social impact to attract investors. Recognising the need for transparency and accountability, regulators have been actively shaping guidelines to curb greenwashing within the impact investing sphere. These regulations aim to standardise reporting metrics, encourage rigorous impact assessments and enforce penalties for misleading claims.

“The standards and expectations, and what is universally accepted, continues to evolve. That being said, I think we definitely share a concern that where there is a lack of deep knowledge or authentic commitment, there is a risk of greenwashing,” says Damian. “Simply because a fund or a firm says they are investing sustainably does not mean they are doing it, moreover doing it well. The research shows that investors say they will not simply rely on regulation or regulatory labels to determine the sustainability credentials of a fund. They are actually going to look at the robustness of the practice.”

Photo by Nikolay Maslov, Unsplash

How to invest sustainably

To navigate the challenge of avoiding greenwashing, Damian suggests a three-pronged approach. Firstly, he emphasises the importance of starting from within, urging investors to identify exactly what they deem impactful or important.

“Do you want simply, from a responsible investing perspective, to de-risk your portfolio and invest in better-run companies from an operating perspective versus do you want to invest into companies, for example, that are providing solutions to UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)? Those two approaches can be overlapping, but at the core, they are two very different things.”

Damian’s second piece of advice is to understand the investment process rather than solely focusing on portfolio presentations.

“Investment managers or investors tend to present at a point in time what is in the portfolio. But that does not always mean that holding will be in the portfolio permanently,” says Damian. “Therefore, it is critical to understand the investment process and their decision making – how they integrate ESG through ratings or metrics, or how they set and apply minimum thresholds.”

Finally, Damian highlights the significance of considering “outputs” as a critical aspect of evaluating a company’s impact, encouraging investors to look beyond static portfolio snapshots and comprehend the long-term implications of their investments.

“This is the ‘trust but verify’ view of the world,” says Damian. “If you said you were going to do this, then demonstrate it either through your investment process or the outcomes. And in that sense, we are trying to help clients understand that all these regulations or labels can be helpful, but actually, the robustness of your diligence still needs to be the same.”

Photo credit: Andreas Gucklhorn, Unsplash

Working within the guidelines

Since the European Union’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation came into force in March 2021, asset managers have been required to provide more information on the sustainability risks and impact of their investment products sold in the EU.

They must use the ‘EU Taxonomy’ framework, a classification system that defines criteria for economic activities that are aligned with a net zero trajectory by 2050 and the broader environmental goals other than climate.

But even this, says Damian, has its complexities.

“The EU has set out six different categories of activities considered economically environmentally sustainable. But even within this particular view of the world, an investor or an individual or a family may or may not agree with all of them,” says Damian. “Fund managers are applying or having to rely on that strict framework to meet regulatory requirements, but we have spoken to some who say they have holdings that they are confident are environmentally sustainable in terms of their contribution to mitigating climate change, but because it is not (yet) in the framework, it wouldn’t be counted.

“So that is an interesting conundrum for fund managers to decide how to label themselves and provide the evidence. Overall, I am a firm believer that disclosure is hugely valuable, and the structure is clarifying, but it does not necessarily mean that it provides all answers to investors.”

Notably, the EU is currently taking submissions from stakeholders based on scientific and/or technical evidence on new economic activities that could be added to the EU Taxonomy or on potential revisions of technical screening criteria of existing activities.

Photo credit: Bob Osias, Unsplash

Impact investing is being driven by the younger generations

The study showed that even investors who were keen to identify themselves as “traditional” investors, 72%, still said that they were integrating ESG considerations at some level.

“It is fascinating to see that perspective from an industry perspective. It is the mainstream recognising and moving towards an approach where they are saying, ‘Irrespective of how I want to see the world or what my personal ethical beliefs are, or how my capital might be used to influence the world, purely on a financial materiality basis, I am incorporating ESG considerations.’”

That being said, according to the report, 68% of respondents believe that impact investing is being driven by the younger generations. Research on multi-generational wealth confirms the role of younger generations in the drive for pursuing more sustainable investing approaches.

The influence of the next generation and a desire to leave a legacy is typically ranked among the top three reasons why family offices around the world adopt sustainable investing.

“While the younger generation is taking the lead in their families, the good news is that around 79% say that the older generation is embracing it, and are open to it,” confirms Damian.

Photo credit: Tech Daily, Unsplash

A conversation investment managers have to have

While the effects of climate change are now impossible to ignore – floods, fires, record-breaking temperatures every year – regulation is also changing the nature of the conversations that fund managers are having with European families.

“We have to now ask about sustainable considerations if clients are in an EU jurisdiction,” explains Damian. “Today that is not a requirement elsewhere – although it will likely come in the future – but in Europe, the regulation is shifting the discussion.”

Meanwhile, over half of respondents, 53%, also think that impact investing is creating a bridge between older and younger generations, underlining the collaborative and unifying aspect of adding impact investments to the family’s portfolio.

Structural trends and themes

While current world issues, like geopolitical pressures and inflation, make for uncertainty in many investment sectors, international commitments like the Paris Agreement ensure that there are opportunities in the growing global emphasis on environmentally and socially responsible practices.

“The things we are talking about are long-term structural issues and opportunities; the companies who are going to provide those solutions are going to have to grow. They cannot be the same size they are today. For example, the expectation would be for the existing global grid network will need to be doubled or replaced by 2040, or renewables capacity will need to triple by 2030, or production of EV batteries will need to be nearly 40 times greater in 2030 than 2020,” concludes Damian, referencing Barclays new ‘Five sectors for long-term green growth in 2024’ report that was published on 13th November.

“All of this fundamentally means that between now and 2030, which is on the horizon, to stay in line with Paris 1.5°C commitment, we will need much more disruption and change across every sector of the economy. For investors, that is where they can look for long-term growth.”


EU economy predicted to see slow rebound in 2024

Join the Monaco Life community – the largest English media in the Principality.  

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on  Facebook, Instagram  and  LinkedIn. 


Main photo credit: Nasa, Unsplash


Photos: Princess Caroline of Hanover presents 2023 Ordre du Mérite Culturel medals

Princess Caroline of Hanover spent the eve of the Fête Nationale de Monaco handing out Ordre du Mérite Culturel awards to those who have shown “commitment in the development of the arts, letters and sciences in the Principality.” 

The Ordre du Mérite Culturel, or Order of Cultural Merit, is a special designation given to people in the arts, sciences or letters who have shown dedication to Monaco in these fields. It may also be awarded to individuals in those areas who have extended the “scholarly influence of the Principality” beyond its borders.  

On Saturday 18th November, the day before Monaco’s National Day celebrations, and under the arches of the Salon Bleu in the Palais Princier, Princess Caroline presided over the awards’ annual ceremony and handed out medals to this year’s recipients.   

The ceremony was held in the Salon Bleu of the Palais Princier de Monaco. Photo credit: Michael Alesi / Palais Princier de Monaco


The Ordre du Mérite Culturel is the third highest award offered by the Principality and was created by a sovereign order signed on 31st December 1952 by the late Prince Rainier III.  

The medals for the Order come in three grades; those of Commander, Officer and Knight. The badge is round in shape and is framed by a laurel wreath that is suspended by the Monegasque crown. The reverse side shows the monogram of Prince Rainier III created using mirrored Rs.  

The Commander’s medal is made of gold and is worn around the neck while the Officer’s badge is silver and is pinned by a ribbon with a rosette on the left side of the chest. The Knight’s award is on a plain ribbon, worn also on the left side of the chest, and is made of bronze.  

The goal of the award is to “distinguish and reward people who have participated through their works or their teaching in the development of the arts, letters and sciences in Monaco or who, even abroad, have contributed, in these areas, to the intellectual influence of the Principality.” 

Click on the images below to see more:


Join the Monaco Life community – the largest English media in the Principality. 

Sign up for the Monaco Life newsletter, and follow us on  Facebook, Instagram  and  LinkedIn.    


Photo credit: Michael Alesi /Palais Princier de Monaco