After the welcoming speech given by President of Iceland Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, the stage was handed to H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco, for the first time present in person at the assembly. As recalled by the head of the Princely House of Grimaldi himself, the story between his family and the Arctic has started long ago, since his gandfather has travelled to the Arctic four times, while Prince Albert II himself has been very devoted and active oin the debate regarding the Arctic region.
To name an example, the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation was established in 2006 with the exact purpose to address "our planet's alarming environmental situation". As it reads in its Mission Statement, the Polar Regions are particularly relevant in this field as "privileged indicators of climate change evolutions":
In June 2006, HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco decided to establish his Foundation to address our planet's alarming environmental situation. The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is dedicated to the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development on a global scale. The Foundation supports initiatives of public and private organizations, in the fields of research and studies, technological innovation and socially-aware practices. The Foundation supports projects in three main geographical zones and focuses its efforts focus on three main areas.
1. The Foundation's mission statement
To establish partnerships in order to carry out projects and implement concrete activities in our priority action areas.
To raise both the public's and the authorities' awareness of the impact of human activities on the natural environment and to encourage more environmentally-friendly behaviour.
To promote and encourage outstanding initiatives and innovative solutions by awarding prizes and grants.
2. Three priority areas
The Mediterranean basin, due to the geographic position of the Principality of Monaco.
The Polar Regions, as privileged indicators of climate change evolutions.
The Least Developed Countries (as defined by the United Nations official list), such as the countries in Sahelian Africa, which are severely impacted by the effects of climate change, the loss of biodiversity and water shortage
3. Three principal domains of action
To limit the effects of climate change and promote renewable energies;
To safeguard biodiversity;
To manage water resources and combat desertification.