UEFA's social responsibility partner, WWF – the global conservation organisation – stages an international Panda Ball in Monaco on Saturday. UEFA is an ambassador for the event, and will be represented by its services director Jean-Paul Turrian.
This charity gala evening is organized for 400 invited guests, with the generous support of UEFA. It will offer a unique communications platform for the celebration of Europe's Natural Heritage. H.S.H. Prince Albert II of Monaco and the Principality of Monaco are the host and the patron of the event.
The evening will raise funds to support WWF's nature conservation activities focusing on Europe's biodiversity. Hand-in-hand with its rich cultural legacy, Europe offers an exceptional natural heritage which is vital to protect. Figures representing biodiversity at stake are alarming with 42 per cent of native mammals, 45 per cent of butterflies, 30 per cent of amphibians, 45 per cent of reptiles and 52 per cent of freshwater fish under threat.
Europe contains a tremendous natural heritage and diversity of natural treasures. This natural heritage is at the heart of Europe's identity and well-being. In the face of ongoing loss of biological diversity and climate change, the protected areas represent Europe's safety net for nature. They also maintain a string of vital services and benefits that secure our livelihoods and quality of life. This project, called Natura 2000, aims to protect and maintain habitats and species of European value and importance. Natura 2000 covers 26,000 protected areas in Europe or 20 per cent of EU territory. The Panda Ball provides a rare opportunity for guests to network, build relationships and find innovative ways of addressing the world's conservation challenges.
UEFA's communications director William Gaillard welcomes the work being done in his message to the Monaco gathering. "Europe boasts an incredibly rich environmental, cultural, social and economic heritage," he says. "We, its privileged stewards, are responsible for ensuring that each of us respects and protects this precious legacy so that it can be passed on to future generations. Respect for our human and natural environment is the fundamental underlying principle shared by WWF and UEFA which dictates that we must care about and take care of people and the world they live in.
"UEFA cares about the environment, about people and about football. We firmly believe that the three go hand-in-hand," William Gaillard continues. "This approach has been called 'idealistic', but idealism means wanting to improve things. And, guaranteeing people a safe healthy environment is fundamental to improvement both in the world of football and in all the places around the world that are home to the forests, mountains, coastal regions that provide their inhabitants livelihoods, homes and recreation."
Key to success
"Whether we're talking about UEFA's striving to guarantee safe, comfortable conditions for spectators in European football stadiums or WWF's efforts to protect species and their habitats that guarantee sustenance and livelihoods for their dwellers, the key to success is respect – for our fellow man and for our natural environment."
To visit the WWF website click here.
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