Global Leadership for Climate Boosted by Monaco’s Prince Albert
In today’s opening plenary at CGI, President Clinton announced a commitment from Prince Albert II of Monaco to work with the United Nations Foundation and Club of Madrid to support Leadership for Climate Action, a step toward the creation of a framework to succeed the Kyoto Protocol. "The need for this is clear," Clinton said, of the effort to build an international consensus.
This was a theme that would echo through a panel discussion following this announcement, in which Tony Blair and several other current or former world leaders emphasized that the corporate sectors of several nations were in fact ready to pursue actions to reduce global warming, but were looking to governments to construct a framework that would incentivize behaviors that cut carbon emissions.
In a sense, the Prince is continuing a commitment to the environment that traces back several generations, to when his great-great-grandfather, Albert I, made four expeditions to the North Pole. "The commitment of the Prince to the Arctic and our environment is, you could say, in his genes," said Bernard Fautrier, CEO of the Albert II Foundation. In announcing the formation of the Albert II Foundation last year, the Prince cited his own recent trips to the North Pole, and the "urgency" indicated by a significant reduction in the glacier.
Indeed, in the opening plenary session of CGI, Al Gore evoked the frightening specter of the shrinking polar ice cap. "Last year, it was measured at 22% below its previous low point. It could be gone in 23 years – and it won’t come back for millions of years."
In an interview on the eve of CGI, CEO Bernard Fautrier explained that the Albert II Foundation was focused on thee geographic areas and three missions: in the Mediterranean basin, the Polar regions, and countries most vulnerable to climate change, it’s committed to supporting projects, raising awareness, and providing awards and grants to support innovative solutions.
Fautrier suggested that CGI gave the Prince the opportunity to leverage his own support for the environment by focusing greater attention on the field. "That’s the value of strategic philanthropy," he said, allowing more people to be part of the solution. In addition, if we can change people’s behavior, we’ll develop models that can be adapted elsewehere."
A noteworthy aspect of the Albert II Foundation is its commitment to have all administrative costs paid by its board, so that donors can be assure that their contributions will be 100% dedicated to the foundation’s work. The project it funds are primarily aimed at climate change, biodiversity and the provision of drinking water.
The former President’s announcement of this commitment today also recognized the role of Ted Turner, whose historic $1 billion pledge created the UN Foundation several years ago. "Without him," Clinton said, there would be no UN Foundation, no mechanism for partnership between the world’s most important international organization and the private sector."
In a press conference this afternoon, Clinton cited partnerships as one of his proudest achievements since CGI began in 2005. Reeling off statistics showing the impact of the 700+ commitments made to date, he paused over the fact that 60% of all the commitments had not been made by individual NGOs, corporations or agencies, but were actually done by new partnerships that had been created through the Clinton Global Initiative.