(Posted 28th September 2022)
The forthcoming expedition of Monaco Explorations in the Western Indian Ocean is part of the commitment of the Principality and its Sovereign within the international community for the protection and sustainable management of the Ocean.
First item of the “Monaco Explorations” project endorsed as a contribution to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development 2021-2030, the expedition will take place from October to November 2022 between Reunion, Mauritius, and Seychelles, on board the South
African oceanographic and supply ship S.A. Agulhas II.
S.A. Agulhas II will leave its home port of Cape Town in South Africa on October 3, 2022 with a first contingent of around twenty scientists and technicians. They will be joined a few days later in Mauritius and then in Reunion by other teams for a total of about one hundred people: scientists, young researchers and students from the onboard school, filmmakers and photographers, divers, artists, authors and communicators.
On the programme:
4 stopovers, a journey of approximately 7,300 nautical miles (13,500 km) and 2 months of navigation punctuated and driven by the various research and field operations programmed throughout the vessel’s journey and during the stations planned around the Aldabra Atoll, on the Saya de Malha Bank, where 15 days of investigations are planned, and finally around the island of Saint Brandon.
Guided by an International Advisory Committee of fourteen experts under the chairmanship of Mr Carl Gustaf Lundin (Executive Director of Mission Blue, USA, formerly Head of IUCN’s Marine and Polar Programme), the expedition is implementing a holistic approach based on a multidisciplinary programme including natural and social sciences.
SEVEN RESEARCH PROJECTS, TO ADDRESS IMPORTANT ISSUES
The scientific programme is structured around the study of two well-identified marine areas: the Saya de
Malha Bank and a selection of islands and seamounts located along the expedition route. This programme is guided by the four main themes of Monaco Explorations: coral protection, megafauna protection, marine protected areas, and new exploration techniques. It focusses on meeting the needs of the Governments of Seychelles and Mauritius while also relating closely with relevant international and regional organs and initiatives.
MAKING THE EXPEDITION AND ITS CHALLENGES KNOWN TO AS MANY PEOPLE AS POSSIBLE THROUGH
The objective of the expedition is to enhance the contents, knowledge and resources resulting from this
operation, by encouraging the exchange and transmission of knowledge with the greatest number of
people, through a varied outreach programme which, in its various components, will address a wide public, the actors of the civil society and decision-makers.
IN THE FIELD OF SCIENCE, ENGAGEMENT, AND DIPLOMACY
In the context of diplomatic relations, the expedition will be coordinated with an official visit to the region
by H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, scheduled for 20th to 27th of October 2022. Other official activities of the Sovereign Prince related to the objectives of the expedition, in particular His interventions in various forums dealing with the protection of the Ocean, may illustrate the context related to the political
dimension of the expedition.
The region’s political decision-makers will be able to rely on His singular commitment to the knowledge and protection of the marine environment to relay the voice of these countries and the scientific community, but also to mobilize the international community to bring about and disseminate solutions to reduce environmental degradation.