Remarks With Prince Albert II of Monaco Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
June 16, 2014

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody, and my distinct pleasure to welcome His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco here. He has really been one of the most outspoken protectors of the environment and particularly concerned about the ocean, ocean acidification. He has put together a center for research, which is based at the IAEA lab in Monaco. And his interest in not just ocean acidification but overall environmental protection of fisheries has made him perhaps one of the most defined and accepted leaders on this subject. And we’re happy that he’s going to be addressing the ocean conference Our Ocean today – our luncheon speaker.

And also I might add, I think he is the only head of state who has been to both – to the North and South Pole, so this is not a passing interest on his behalf. He and his family and he, particularly, have been important voices for reasonableness with respect to the environment broadly, but the effect of climate change, the effect of power plants and acidification emission, the impact it is having on the ecosystem of our oceans, which, as I said this morning, three billion people rely on for food and which is a major global security issue.

So I’m very grateful to His Serene Highness for coming. Thank you for being with us today.

PRINCE ALBERT II: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Secretary, and thank you for your leadership in convening this summit. I know you’ve been interested in these issues for a very long time, and we’re both navy men, I know. I was also in the French navy for a short while and – but I know that these are concerns that we share and that we need to see put on the international agenda at a much more important level than they are today.

As you know, and as you were able to tell us this morning, these issues concerning our global ocean don’t concern only a few activists anymore. It’s the concern of all of us. And each stakeholder, be they government leaders, be they civil society, be they international organizations, be they other NGOs, scientists, corporations, the corporate world, I think we all have a say and we all can do something. And we have to work together to meet these challenges and to make our global ocean as sustainable as possible and as healthy as possible, because the services that the global ocean provides to all of us is immeasurable. And to see the state of degradation that some parts of our ocean is showing, be it from pollution of any sort, be they – be it of overfishing, be it of other forms of exploitation in an unregulated way is simply unacceptable and abhorrent. And we absolutely have to come together to address these issues and find the solutions, find viable solutions, not only on the economic side, on the social-economic side, but also on the sustainable and environmental side that is so important.

And so this summit I think will be able to address these issues with some of the leading specialists that you have invited here, the scientific community, but also from other parts of civil society, as I said, and the corporate world and other organizations and government leaders.

And I’m very happy to see also that other two heads of state have joined you here, aside from me, to – and I know President Tong and President Remengesau very well. And we’ve worked with them not only with my foundation but with other organizations to help them also constitute that, and their leadership is also invaluable for marine-protected areas because that is – and they were able to announce that and President Tong was able to announce that this morning, that marine-protected areas do work, and no matter how big or small they are. And we’ve been able to do that also in – I’m just trying to push that in the Mediterranean as well. And we need to see more protected areas (inaudible) our global ocean.

And so we thank you very much for all of this, and we hope that this will be a successful and worthy meeting of all these wonderful people that are gathered here in Washington today.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very, very much. And we really look forward to your comments at the luncheon. And we also look forward to coming out of this conference, as I said this morning, with a plan of action. We don’t want to talk for the sake of talking. There have been a lot of meetings in the past, which has led to a growing consensus of the actions that need to be taken.

So His Serene Highness will help us today to crystalize our focus on these steps and we really look forward tomorrow to coming to conclusion on what we can do to advance this initiative. So we’re grateful, very much. Thank you for coming.

PRINCE ALBERT II: Thank you very much.