By Dinah Lakehal
Casablanca – Due to its high ranking on the 2016 Climate Change Performance Index, Morocco is a fitting choice to host the upcoming COP 22 conference in Marrakesh this fall. At a time when emerging economies are over-consuming their natural resources, Morocco is asserting its position as an innovator, and leader in maintaining a balance between economic growth and a rich ecosystem.
The 2016 index was released at the 21st Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) in Paris, where King Mohammed VI called on world leaders to take forward actions on climate change initiatives, while focusing especially on Africa and its sustainable developmental needs. The index ranked Morocco as the first African and first Arab country and the ninth worldwide.
Devoid of natural resources but spoiled by the sun and the wind, Morocco has chosen to focus on renewable energy. The nation’s progress and commitment has asserted its position as a regional leader in combating climate change. With an extremely ambitious objective of securing 52 percent of the country’s energy mix from renewable sources by 2030, Morocco’s stance outdoes even the United States’ pledge of 26-28 percent and the EU’s 40 percent commitment.
After the government stopped subsidizing fossil fuels, industries turned towards generating power and savings by recycling. Large renewable energy investments and greater involvement by the private sector has allowed the government to allocate more spending on social sectors, such as education for the poor. Climate change’s impact is most evident in Morocco’s oceans and fisheries.
As a result, Morocco has invested in a tracking system that allows all boats to be followed with acute traceability and decreases illegal fishing practices to develop a more sustainable aquaculture for future generations.
With a $10 billion investment for sustainable development, Morocco is on track to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 13 percent by 2030. This commitment is especially impressive since Morocco’s annual per capital emission is four times lower than most industrialized countries. Morocco’s political efforts are openly climate-compatible and demonstrate that environmental policies are attuned to economic growth and eradicating poverty.
Hakima El Haite, Minister Delegate in Charge of Environment, explains that protecting the environment through sustainable development will not occur at the expense of the economy. Instead, Morocco seeks to strike a balance between economic growth, social progress and the safeguard of resources, while collaborating with industrialized countries.
Morocco’s leadership position is reflected through its clear environmental policies, energy subsidy reforms, and commitment to pollution management. Therefore, the nation has rightfully earned the honor of hosting COP 22, the next round of international climate change talks, in Marrakech this fall.