MONACO — Monaco recently held a closed door meeting with Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) and other stakeholders. The Monaco effort comes at a time when capital is already flowing to a number of ambitious projects, including DEEP, which is building undersea habitats for researchers and scientists to study the Ocean.
The gathering committed to driving forward efforts on ocean and wider preservation of the environment, with high profile speakers including Lord William Cadogan of the UK’s Cadogan Estates and Olivier Wenden of the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation.
Our oceans are home to 80% of the world’s biodiversity, this diversity is essential for the health of our planet and for our own well-being. The world’s ocean produces 50% of the oxygen on the planet with 80% of the world’s population living on or near the coast. The stakes are high when it comes to our oceans and if we do not take action to protect them, we will lose one of the most important ecosystems on Earth. This would have a profound impact on climate, human health, food security, and the global economy.
“Respect for the environment and wild species on land and at sea and supporting science were fundamental priorities for the Princes of Monaco through the centuries,” said His Serene Highness during his address to the United Nations General Assembly. “Today what was a relentless commitment has become a duty for our survival”.
The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is the only NGO in the world with a head of state as its chair. It is involved in many ocean-based initiatives from fighting plastic pollution to efforts to ban subsea mining.
“The World Economic Forum estimated the world is investing barely $10 billion a year in the Ocean when we should be investing $175 billion each and every year. SDG 14 is the least funded of all the sustainable development goals,” said Wenden, “attracting only 1% of global philanthropy and not a lot of is focused on start-ups”.
Monaco’s ReOcean Fund, launched in early 2023 has generated significant interest from both Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWIs) and Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs). The roundtable gathering in the Principality attracted representatives from the European Union (EU), United Kingdom (UK), Australasia, and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. The closed-door gathering in Monaco, barely two weeks after the Prince’s speech brought together some of the world’s top sovereign wealth funds and others to discuss strategies for impact investments. It was was organized by ZEL Business Advisory Group.
“This meeting wasn’t about name dropping, it is about getting the right people in the room, and sharing and crafting strategies that will show clear social impact with visible financial returns,” said Zsolt Lavotha of ZEL who is also a past-Chairman of the Monaco Private Equity and Venture Capital Association. “We had hundreds of billions of dollars represented in the room and there was clear recognition that traditional philanthropy and private investment need to find a better way to come together to address the challenges faced by humanity. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is one good example of this effort”.
The interest in Monaco’s ReOcean Fund is a positive sign for the Fund, which is aiming to raise €1 billion to support the development and commercialization of innovative ocean technologies. The fund is focused on four key areas: reducing pollution, transforming sustainable food production, protecting marine ecosystems, and empowering stakeholders with data and information.
The meeting of the group came just after the conclusion of the Monaco Yacht Show. It discussed ways to involve the private sector in the transition to a sustainable world.
(Additional reporting provided by Joseph Hammond)
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