Monaco Pavilion promotes ocean awareness
Yeosu Expo well designed, says Commissioner Fautrier
By John Redmond
With a 2.2 square kilometer territory located on the Mediterranean coastline linked to the sea, the Principality of Monaco has learnt through more than seven centuries delicate balance between growth and preserving its restricted natural resources.
Expo 2012 Yeosu’s theme of “The Living Ocean and Coast” corresponds to the development philosophy held by the principality, which has been represented as “a deep commitment to protecting the environment” for more than 300 years.
The theme that the principality has chosen for its pavilion is “the historic commitment of the Principality of Monaco to protecting the environment, seas and oceans.”
The logo of the Monaco Pavilion symbolically depicts the coast of Monaco and embodies the waters of the Mediterranean.
“The mascot of the Monaco Pavilion, Monacus, is a Mediterranean monk seal. Mediterranean monk seals are one of the world’s most endangered sea animals with only about 600 remaining. Monacus represents Monaco’s commitment to preserving biodiversity in the Mediterranean and will guide visitors throughout their visit to the pavilion,” states a press release.
Representing Monaco at Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is Catherine Fautrier, commissioner general at the Monaco Pavilion.
Having participated in previous expos, Fautrier, spoke with The Korea Times giving an overview of the event and also explaining the significance of environmental awareness and the developmental theory held by the second smallest, and the most densely populated country in the world.
The Korea Times: What has most impressed you about the Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea?
Catherine Fautrier: What has most impressed me about Expo 2012 Yeosu Korea is the quality of the Expo site construction and facilities. It has been well designed and well built. The Big O show is also something amazing; I have never seen something like that which combines virtual images, sound, light, water and a fireworks show.
Q: Has the Yeosu Expo met your expectations in terms of location, facilities, attendance, etc.? How does it differ from other expos?
A: This is the most difficult aspect regarding this Expo. It seems that Expo 2012 Yeosu has suffered from a lack of promotion and also reaching Yeosu is not very easy. Due to these two points Expo received fewer visitors than expected. Despite this situation the Monaco Pavilion has had great success and the number of visitors we have had is more than expected.
Q: As the smallest country participating in the expo, please describe the Monaco Pavilion’s theme and what it hopes to achieve.
A: The theme that we chose for the pavilion is the historical commitment of the Principality of Monaco to protecting the environment, seas and oceans. Expo 2012 Yeosu’s theme of The Living Ocean and Coast corresponds well to the development philosophy held by Monaco, which has been represented as a deep commitment to protecting the environment for more than a century.
Q: What is the significance of Monaco’s mascot, Monacus?
A: Monacus is a Mediterranean monk seal, of which the scientific name is Monachus monachus. There are only 600 left in the Mediterranean region, which is why we choose him to be our mascot. Monacus is the symbol of endangered species in the Mediterranean Sea area.
Q: Please describe the events of Monaco National Day (June 13) and the visit of Prince Albert II.
A: We had a wonderful National Day in the presence of Prince Albert II. Through his Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, he is really involved in the protection of the environment. He wanted to come to Yeosu to visit the expo and share with other countries to present his commitment to protect seas, oceans and coasts. This is why he wanted to organize and chair in Yeosu the third edition of the Monaco Blue Initiative. This roundtable meeting took place for the first time outside Monaco under the theme of Marine Protected Areas. A wide range of experts and scientists from different part of the world thanked Monaco for the opportunity to talk about this important subject just before Rio +20 summit.
Q: How has the attendance been for the Monaco Pavilion, especially among Korean visitors?
A: As I said previously for us it is very good. We had many more visitors than expected, with an average of 7,000 per day. We also found that Korean visitors have been very interested in visiting our pavilion. They all have been very surprised to see that Monaco is so involved in the protection of environment and especially in marine environment protection.
Q: What has been the best part of the tour?
A: I think that the pledge at the end of the visit is quite attractive. Visitors are asked to sign this pledge to show that they are concerned by the content at the Monaco Pavilion and the message we try to deliver.
Q: What is your background working at expos?
A: I have done three expos — Zaragoza (Spain 2008), Shanghai (China 2010) and Yeosu 2012. Before that I worked for the Monaco Government in tourism and economic promotion. Expos are a great experience, you share different cultures, different languages, you have the chance to meet different people. I used to say that the expo is a big family; when it finishes everybody cries because we all have to go back home, but we always keep in touch.
Q: What’s next for Monaco and yourself at future expos?
A: For Monaco, next will be Milan 2015, and for me as ambassador of Monaco to China and Australia my time will be dedicated to my diplomatic activities.
The Monaco Pavilion showcases the principality’s historical commitment and support to protecting the marine environment and also its ongoing efforts for sustainable development of Monaco in these modern times.
Before entering, visitors are offered a “wish bracelet” by the hostesses. This is a very common thing in Europe and it is said that the wish will come true once the bracelet detaches itself on its own. After a short introduction by Monacus, a QR code download station will give visitors the opportunity to download the Monaco App on their smartphones and enable them to receive a floor plan of the pavilion and information for each zone.
The Monaco Pavilion is located at International Pavilion A and further information can be found at http://expo2012monaco.com