A vision resolutely humanist and concrete achievements in favor of the oceans and people
Driven by humanist principles, the Fondation Pacifique embodies the values of solidarity and complementarity through specific, strongly value-added accomplishments to benefit oceans and people all over the world.
An independent body, it was created by a handful of individuals driven by a passion for adventure, wide open spaces and a strong awareness of the ecological stakes of our time.
It is a pure emanation of Geneva’s civil society, whose entrepreneurial spirit and sense of commitment to the common good and the demands of living together on a global scale. The Fondation Pacifique is a non-profit organization recognized as a Swiss public utility, founded in Geneva in 2007.
The Fondation Pacifique has two main missions: to promote greater understanding of human impact on the oceans and to raise awareness of related issues concerning sustainable development.
To fulfil this twofold mission, the foundation designs, organizes and conducts multidisciplinary ocean expeditions on traditional sailboats that give the international scientific community the chance to carry out long-term research programs or shorter-term missions, thanks to the previously-unsuspected potential of these platforms.
At the same time, the Fondation Pacifique organizes outreach and communication activities for decision-makers and the general public via a wide range of actions that include events, media and digital presence in Geneva and Switzerland.
Because it is Swiss, and because it embodies, in its own way, what is known as the “Spirit of Geneva”, the Fondation Pacifique conceives and conducts its expeditions in a humanistic spirit of knowledge-sharing and exchange between actors from different fields (governmental, economic, scientific, cultural and civil society) who are dealing with oceanographic issues. As a platform for implementing strongly added-value projects and as a bridge between continents and people, the foundation promotes the search for scientific diagnosis as a pre-condition for any solution that will benefit the oceans.
Background and rationale
The Fondation Pacifique defines its actions within a global context that has made it increasingly urgent for us to gain greater understanding of the human impact on the oceans, home to an ecosystem that remains largely unknown despite its crucial importance to human existence.
deepest point of the oceans, while
12 have walked on the moon.
been mapped in
In December 2017, the United Nations declared that 2021-2030 would be the “Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development”. The UN’s objective is to mobilise significant stakeholders from all over the world (including governments, companies, academic institutions, civil society actors and philanthropic organizations) around a common agenda that will place science at the heart of Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14 ) for the oceans: “Conserving and sustainably using oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development”, one of the 17 SDGs that the 193 UN member countries set for themselves in 2015.
Oceans and coastal regions are indeed essential to life on our planet. The ocean is the Earth’s largest ecosystem, regulating climate change and crucially influencing the economy, nutrition, health and wellbeing, water supply and energy all over the world. According to the first UN World Oceans Report, “dependence on the ecosystem services provided by the ocean is likely to increase as population increases.”
Though while “we once thought that the ocean was an autonomous, vast and indefinitely resilient portion of the Earth’s system, capable of absorbing virtually all the pressures exerted by the human population”, it turns out that (according to the first global assessment of our oceans) “our civilization does not have much time to avoid the disastrous cycle of declining ocean health, which would have a dramatic impact on our ability to continue to meet our needs.”
Ocean science is, therefore, “essential for ensuring the planet’s sustainability and good management of the oceans”, as called for by the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
This is why the Fondation Pacifique aims to help boost global efforts to meet the challenges facing the planet.
Pietro GodenziPRESIDENT, FOUNDING MEMBER
A biologist and the founder and co-director of the company Ecoservices SA, which specialises in the environment and safety at work in Geneva, Pietro Godenzi is a highly experienced sailor. After a four-year sailing tour around Africa, he was among those who launched the restoration of Fleur de Passion in the early 2000s with a group of friends to ensure that the yacht’s destiny would be… pacific! Highly aware of environmental and social issues, Pietro is also one of the skippers taking turns aboard the sailboats, while in Geneva he supervises the socio-educational aspects of the expeditions.
Markus KesselerFOUNDING MEMBER
A geologist, Markus Kesseler works as an expert on cartographic data for the Canton of Geneva. An experienced sailor who believes strongly in the educational possibilities offered by the open sea and the need to conserve the blue planet, Markus has been a loyal member of the team from the outset of the “Pacifique” project in the early 2000s, particularly during the process of restoring Fleur de Passion.
Pascal SottasFOUNDING MEMBER
A carpenter and a socio-professional teacher who has worked for many years at the Atelier ABC in Geneva, Pascal Sottas is the director of the A2Mains socio-educational programme. He was closely involved in the restoration of Fleur de Passion from 2003 to 2009, during which time he made full use of all his woodworking skills, knowledge and experience, as well as his love of boat-building and “working together”.
Daniel ChambazAN ENVIRONMENTALIST CHEMIST
Holds a PhD in science from the University of Geneva. He has devoted his life to the protection of the environment. After working as a scientific officer at the Federal Office for the Environment, he returned to Geneva in 1999 to tackle the problem of waste management in the Canton. Since 2007, he has held the post of Director General of the Cantonal Office for the Environment and is also active as a volunteer in various environmental and humanitarian associations.
Marie MonteauFOUNDING MEMBER
Xavier IsaacCEO OF ACCURO
Xavier Isaac is CEO of Accuro, the award winning multi-jurisdictional Trust & Family Office business, and as such he is a principal driver of the Group vision and strategy. He gained over 20 years of experience in various senior management positions at ABN AMRO Bank and Trust in Luxembourg, Geneva and Jersey prior to joining Investec in 2005. Originally from Belgium, Xavier graduated magna cum laude in law from the Catholic University of Louvain. Since February 2016, Xavier has been the treasurer and President of the Financial Committee of the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation. He joined the board of Fondation Pacifique in August 2019.
Nicole SchwabMEMBER OF THE FOUNDATION BOARD
Nicole Schwab is an author, facilitator and social entrepreneur dedicating her work to environmental sustainability, gender equality and wellbeing. With a background in natural sciences and public policy, she worked in the Andes before co-founding the Forum of Young Global Leaders, as well as EDGE Certified Foundation. She served as a consultant to non-profit organizations working on reforestation and environmental conservation, including National Geographic Society’s Campaign for Nature. She joined the World Economic Forum in 2020 to co-lead the work on nature-based solutions and 1t.org. Her writing includes an award-winning novel, The Heart of the Labyrinth.