Prince Albert will deliver the opening speech at the General Assembly of the International Hydrographic Organisation this November, which will gather online around 400 people from across the globe to talk digital data in the maritime industries.
Hydrography, as a discipline, deals with the physical aspects of the marine environment and is the basis of all activities related to the sea. It includes the measurement and mapping of the seabed, but also the sea level, tides, currents and parameters such as water temperature and salinity.
Considering the fact that countries around the world have different economic constraints and priorities, having up-to-date hydrographic data can have significant economic benefits. Data on currents, tides and underwater obstacles are important for maritime trade routes. Information on the topography of the seabed as well as the strength and regularity of currents can be used to develop marine renewable energy projects. Environmental factors such as temperature, salinity and currents can also be used by sectors such as fisheries and aquaculture.
This up-to-date data, collected and presented according to international standards, enables countries to optimise the use of their natural resources, thereby supporting the blue economy and the sustainable use of the oceans.
The International Hydrographic Organisation (IHO) was established in 1921 and is hosted by the Government of Monaco. Its purpose is to ensure that all seas, oceans and navigable waters of the world are surveyed and charted.
The General Assembly of the IHO will be held from 16th to 18th November, bringing together representatives of 90 IHO Member States, Observer States, as well as intergovernmental and non-governmental organisations.
It will be an opportunity for member state delegations to determine the main priorities and areas of action for the coming years, including the IHO Strategic Plan and the implementation of a new universal hydrographic digital data model, the S-100, which supports a greater diversity of users, products and digital data sources.
The aim of November’s discussions is to move from the development of technical standards to their application for marine technologies at the global level.
It creates a platform for cooperation in areas such as surveys at sea, the production of digital nautical charts, the dissemination of navigation warnings, and new standards.
Participants will also discuss future capacity building activities, such as e-learning in light of the current pandemic.
The Assembly will be chaired by Captain Marc van der Donck, Director of the Hydrographic Service of the Netherlands.
ML: You’ve been living here for 25 years. How would you say Monaco has changed?
MH: In my opinion, Monaco has definitely changed for the better, and one of the biggest drivers for change has been HSH Prince Albert.
Prince Albert succeeded in bringing Monaco into the modern world, where women’s roles were evolving, where concerns about the environment and sustainability were becoming priorities.
The challenge now, however, is to continue to look after the needs of those families who have lived here for generations, who may not have the same earning potential as the influx of wealthy expats and who are unable to compete, for example, for real estate.
What I appreciate also is that it’s safe here for a woman living alone.
ML: Where’s favourite place for a coffee in Monaco?
MH: Il Calcio on boulevard des Moulins or Hotel Metropole, depending on my mood.
ML: How do you see the role of women changing in society?
MH: Women have changed from the well-defined role as homemaker to trying to become superwomen, and to compete with men. When I arrived in Monaco, the image of the trophy wife following her husband was common. This was pretty much my situation. I was married to an older man, and even though I had my own very successful business in the UK, I settled into a traditional role of mother and wife when we moved to Monaco. Women at that time were not encouraged – nor were there any opportunities – to do anything but look after the home and family. I was content to do that. Today, women’s limits are often self-imposed rather than imposed from society, but not necessarily encouraged either, as male power would be destabilised by women.
I admit that being a woman in business may help to open doors initially, as people are curious and so may give my products a try, but in general, I’m not taken as seriously. Men seem nervous about doing business with a woman because of what their colleagues or other companies would think, that they could be influenced by appearances rather than good business.
I admit I find it more comfortable doing business with European men than American. American men don’t know how to deal with a successful businesswoman, whether she dresses sexily or in a more masculine way. Either way, they are lost.
ML: How did you become this successful businesswoman?
MH: I had exceptionally forward thinking parents, who were very concerned about the environment at a time when it wasn’t trendy to do so. My father was a doctor and would receive fresh, home-grown produce in exchange for his services. Home cooking was always wholesome and organic. We never ate processed foods.
I received my university education in Psychology and English and, encouraged by mother to be financially independent, after graduating I started my first business in London in interior design. I have a love for beautiful things.
ML: But in 2006 you launched Hepburn Bio Care & Hepburn Bio Yacht Care. Eco-friendly industrial products are a long way away from interior decorating.
MH: When my husband passed away in 2002, I was left in a financially precarious situation. Rather than returning to interior design, a business that I knew, I decided to reinvent myself. I had two great passions, children and the environment. Realising that the environment, and in particular wastewater, while not being a particularly sexy topic at the time, was something of a niche market, I drew up a list of criteria for a business that could be viable without me being its focal point, as was the case with interior design.
I hit on the idea of environmentally-friendly cleaning products for use by corporations in the marine industry, like cruise lines. I was shocked that many of the chemical products routinely being sold and used in the cruise industry were toxic to aquatic life, carcinogenic, corrosive, inflammable, and hazardous to transport and handle. It appeared to be standard practice that nobody had questioned over the years.
I realised that to change such practices, I needed to offer an effective alternative solution, and one that would offer savings. Surrounding myself with the right team of chemists and biologists, I set about developing a small range of cleaning products that were completely biodegradable, non toxic, non-corrosive and safe to transport and handle, and above all effective.
My first product was a biodegradable toilet cleaner that not only cleaned the toilet but also kept the pipes and drains free from deposits and so reduced the cost of maintenance and repairs to the system.
ML: What’s your business approach?
MH: Hepburn Bio Care has no shareholders and works B2B. We do not advertise, and promote our products only through trade fairs.
We promise complete integrity. We don’t compromise on the quality of our products – and they do what they say they do. We have a limited range of products, compared to our competitors, who may sell the same product with a range of perfumes, or colours so the client thinks it's a different product.
ML: So can I go La Vie Claire and buy your products?
MH: No, my clients are corporations in the marine industry, who are having to comply with more stringent environmental standards. For example, a cruise line with 24 ships uses around half a million litres of toxic toilet cleaning products a year. Changing to a biodegradable product reduces chemical use to only 50,000 to 60,000 litres a year while protecting the pipes in the process.
ML: Why don’t all companies switch over to these products then?
MH: Purchasing managers are often motivated to cut costs in return for bonuses. The fact that the chemical cleaning products they buy may be corroding the pipes, or have higher handling and storage cost, is not taken into consideration as any pipe maintenance or repair work and transport comes out of a different budget, so doesn't affect bonuses. There may also be a comfortable arrangement between all the different parts of the purchasing, transport, storage and repairs chain. My products upset all this.
Sometimes, though, the failure to change to eco-products is due to ignorance. Some corporations buy products that they believe are eco-friendly, but in fact they are not. When I point this out to them, they are shocked.
In this case, I see one of my roles as educating, to show people that it is possible to be sustainable and have a successful business.
ML: What qualities do you look for when hiring people?
MH: Honestly, I’m somewhat worried by today young people’s lack of self-discipline and feeling of entitlement. The lack of spirituality is damaging for society as it is spirituality which helps to provide principles, and act as a moral compass. My own success has been due to commitment and hard work and I look for these qualities when I recruit.
ML: What is the best piece of advice another woman gave you?
MH: The Duchess of Bedford once told me, “Never explain and never complain”.
ML: What is the best and most difficult part of getting older as a woman?
MH: The best part is being comfortable in my own skin and in control of my life but the challenge is that my brain tells me I’m only 40 but my body does not support my brain …”
Article first published October 30, 2016.
[caption id="attachment_7996" align="alignleft" width="480"] Naomi's spicy socca with beetroot hummus and a salad of cherry tomatoes, basil and spring onions.[/caption]
November is a month of many moments including bonfire night, fireworks and, of course, the start of Christmas shopping for many! But living in Monaco, we have another reason to celebrate this month, Princes Day – or National Day, as it is also known.
The date is decided by the reigning Prince and is usually the day of the Saint they were named after. National Day, this year November 19, is a public holiday in Monaco and celebrated with fireworks and mass at St Nicholas Cathedral.
For an expat in Monaco, it’s a pleasure to witness this historic tradition and join in on the celebrations of the Principality. As everything comes back to food for me, National Day provided the perfect inspiration for this month’s recipe. I began to think about new foods I’ve come across since moving here and one of the first things that came to my mind was socca.
My first experience with this pancake-type food was at Monaco’s Christmas fair (this year in the Port from December 2 Dec until January 2, 2017). I came to learn that socca was a savoury food made from chickpea flour and as my interest in health and nutrition blossomed, it soon become a dish that I made at home for myself with the kids always adding in some exciting variations!!
Chickpea flour is also known as pois chiches (in French) or garbanzo bean flour. You can find it easily in all the organic (bio) stores in and around Monaco. The recipe itself couldn’t be easier – one part flour: one part water, a little olive oil and a pinch of salt – yet it’s highly nutritious due to chickpeas, which are a high protein and fibre food. Chickpea flour is gluten free and made from just one ingredient - chickpeas that are either raw or roasted before grinding into flour.
Five Fast Facts about benefits chickpea flour
Chickpeas are a great source of dietary fibre, packing in 12.5 grams per every one cup of cooked chickpeas. For a flour, this is highly nutritious when you consider that refined flours have been stripped of nutrients and are very low in fibre
Chickpeas are nutrient dense and help to improve heart health by balancing unhealthy cholesterol levels and offering protection against heart disease.
High-fibre foods like chickpeas are low in calories especially as your body doesn’t digest carbs from fibre therefore this can aid in weight loss.
Chickpea flour contains a form of complex carbohydrates – aka starch – that the body is able to slowly digest and use for energy over time which then helps to stabilise the blood sugar and can even help with the prevention of diabetes.
Chickpeas are gluten-free and highly beneficial for the digestive system and immune response.
Since my introduction to socca years ago, I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with various recipes by adding in herbs, spices – and even grated cheese for my children; I’ve made super-size socca and mini ones (again for my children).
Try this delicious socca variation and let us know how you get on. Share with us your favourite traditional Monegasque foods on Instagram monacolife_ and naomis_kitchen. Head to Bouchon to try my delicious beetroot hummus Buddha Bowl on the lunchtime weekday menu.
Naomi's Spicy Socca
1 cup (250 ml) water
1 cup (130 g) chickpea flour
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil, plus a little more for cooking
2 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
2 small spring onions, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp basil, chopped
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp of chilli powder (use less if yours is hot!)
pinch of salt
Naomi’s TIP: For a kiddie-friendly version, try the basic recipe of chickpeas, water, olive oil and salt and add 1/4 grated cheese. We love Comte or Emmental.Method
Prepare the chickpea batter. Whisk together chickpea flour, water and olive oil in a small bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Leave to rest for at least 1/2 hour to give the flour time to absorb the water.
Add a little olive oil (1 tbsp) to a large pan and heat to medium heat (don’t heat too high to a point that the oil smokes).
Pour in half the batter, tilt the pan so the batter coats the entire surface of the pan.
Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until you see the top of the socca begin to blister and brown. Either use a large spatula to flip the socca or put under a hot grill for a few minutes until browned. The socca should be fairly flexible in the middle but crispy on the edges.
Slice and Serve. Repeat with any remaining batter.
This recipe should make 2 individual socca, depending on the size of your pan.
Join Naomi’s Mamma’s SOS workshop on Wednesday November 16 at the Monte Carlo Munchkins Club. Learn how to combat fussy-eating kids with some deliciously healthy recipes. Non-members can also attend. Email email@example.com for more info and to register.