Prince Albert calls for better recognition of indigenous populations at polar symposium

Between 22nd and 23rd February, scientists and key decision-makers from across the globe gathered at the Musée Océanographique de Monaco to discuss the state of the polar regions as well as what can be done to protect these vitally important parts of our world.  

Following opening addresses from the president of International Arctic Science Committee, Henry Burgess, and the vice-president of Finance at the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, Jefferson Cardia Simões, on the first day of the event, Monaco’s own Prince Albert took to the stage. 

The Monegasque sovereign, a life-long devotee of ocean conservation and awareness, used his time behind the podium to stress the importance of involving indigenous voices in polar talks and of respecting their unique experiences in these regions. 

“We need to implement as widely as possible the only measures we know are effective, which consist of marking out targeted exclusion zones, adapted to the current threats and likely to have a real impact in terms of protection and regeneration,” said the Prince. “We need to do this together, by pooling our expertise, by using up-to-date knowledge, and by listening to the needs and competencies of the indigenous populations too, especially in the Arctic. More than ever before, they need to be fully involved in these discussions and decisions. This is what we will be focusing on over the next two days, which for all these reasons will, I believe, be particularly invaluable.” 

Left to right: Olivier Wenden, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, Jefferson Cardia Simoes, Prince Albert II, Henry Burgess and Robert Calcagno. Photo credit: Philippe Fitte / FPA2

Highlights of the event included keynote speeches from Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, the chairman of Arctic Circle, and Doctor Frederik Paulsen, the founder of the Albédo Foundation for the Crysophere, as well as a fascinating panel discussion on long-term collaborations in the polar regions, which echoed the words of Monaco’s Prince Albert. This round of talks featured esteemed speakers such as Sara Olsvig, Larry Hinzman, Antje Boetius and Jane Francis. 

See more: ‘The Cold is Getting Hot’: International experts to unite in Monaco for polar-focused conference

The FPA2 also secured a strategic partnership with the European Polar Board during the event.  

According to a spokesperson for the FPA2, “This collaboration aims to amplify awareness of polar challenges and jointly orchestrate events, particularly within the framework of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences.” 

To see more from the event, click on the images below:


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All photo credits: Philippe Fitte / FPA2p