Prince Albert II calls for stronger indigenous representation at the Forests and Communities Initiative  

At the very first gathering of the Forest and Communities Initiative, Prince Albert II of Monaco led the charge in calling for an increased presence of indigenous voices in the fight against deforestation, as well as better recognition for native peoples’ knowledge.

Held between 21st and 23rd November in Monaco, the inaugural meeting of the Forests and Communities Initiative attracted participation from more than 100 international experts, scientists and stakeholders, as well as representatives from indigenous and local communities from key forest heartlands across the globe.  

The focus of the event was “inclusive forest conservation” and how current approaches to tackling deforestation can be improved by better integrating the indigenous voice. 

The conference united more than 100 people from around the world for three insightful days of discussion and debate. Photo credit: Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco

“The conference emphasised the need for a holistic approach, recognising indigenous knowledge, promoting a rights-based and gender-just framework, aligning environmental laws, and rethinking funding and governance,” said organisers following the event. 

Prince Albert opened the conference, with frank comments that addressed the issues at hand head on.  

“The situation is getting worse with each year passing, as everyone in this room here knows,” he said. “The forests have been affected. Their surface areas have declined continuously and dramatically over the last few years in many areas of the world.” 

Prince Albert II has called for “effective conservation strategies” that involve indigenous peoples and their unique insights. Photo credit: Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco

The Prince made a strong argument in favour of involving indigenous people in the pushback against unnecessary deforestation, and called for “effective conservation strategies” to be put in place.   

“Despite our best efforts and actions, our tools are insufficient to avert the degradation for which were are responsible,” he said. “We have to acknowledge this, and we have to acknowledge that local communities and indigenous peoples have not been part of these strategies.” 

Chiefs and representatives from tribes in forest heartlands around the world travelled to Monaco for the event. Photo credit: Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco


Another key part of the conference event was the exclusive screening of the Brazil episode from a new documentary series, Gardiens de la Forêt, at the Grimaldi Forum. Local Amazonia representative Benki Piyãko attended the premiere alongside its producer, Muriel Barra.  

The series will hit the Arte network on 9th December, but will be available online from 2nd December. Click here for more information.  

Read related:

Grimaldi Forum to host free public screening of ‘Gardiens de la Forêt’ documentary


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Photo credit: Fondation Prince Albert II de Monaco

Rugby: Monaco U16 Sevens side on tour in South Africa 

Earlier this autumn, 15 Sevens players from Monaco’s U16 side headed to South Africa as part of an exchange programme made possible by the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.

Sport is a great uniter, and from 29th October to 5th November, 15 Monaco Sevens players under the age of 16 travelled from the Principality to South Africa for a week of training sessions and matches with local players. 

The trip was about more than just rugby, however. It was also a chance for the young Monegasques to meet and interact with children from another culture and another way of life, some of whom they may have meet at the beginning of 2023, when a South African delegation flew to Monaco for the Sainte Dévote Tournament.  

See more: Rugby: South African team wins Sainte Dévote Tournament

A few days in Johannesburg  

The first leg of the most recent trip was spent getting to know Johannesburg. Of particular interest was a visit to the Kevin Richardson Foundation Reserve about an hour outside the city, where lions, leopards and hyenas rescued from captive-breeding and cub-petting facilities live out their days in a stress-free environment. 

In April 2024, it will be the turn of the Monegasque side to host their South African friends in the Principality. Photo credit: Shaun Roy / Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation

Then to Cape Town  

The team then moved on to Cape Town, where they witnessed the struggles many children have to endure and overcome in order to get an education by meeting with a local organisation, the Atlas Charity.  

“One of the goals of these trips is to allow the children to come into contact with other populations and cultures,” said Thierry Danthez, the Vice-President of the Fédération Monégasque de Rugby. “This is the basis of the project, it is not only about playing rugby, but also about meeting other people and realising their difficulties.”  

A fair bit of rugby was, of course, on the cards and the Monegasque side enjoyed a series of matches while in Cape Town.  

“We played in a township against very disadvantaged children. It was quite striking, and our young people were surprised to see them always smiling, whatever the situation, even though their daily life is not all rosy,” said Danthez.  

The U16s later played against local private schools in the Winesland Tournament, where they were victorious.   

South Africa in Monaco 

The hospitality shown to the Monegasque visitors will not go unreciprocated, with a group from South Africa already planning a trip to Monaco next April for the Sainte Dévote Tournament.  


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Photo credit: Shaun Roy / Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation