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Morocco Suggests ‘Smart’ Approaches to Environment Issues in Africa

Morocco Suggests ‘Smart’ Approaches to Environment Issues in Africa
Morocco’s secretary of state for sustainable development, Nezha El Ouafi.

Rabat- Morocco is taking part in the seventh special session of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) in Kenya.

Morocco’s secretary of state for sustainable development, Nezha El Ouafi, is representing the country at the conference taking place from September 17- 21 at the UN Environment Programme headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi, Kenya.

A special ministerial segment was held on Wednesday, September 19.

El Ouafi, who is also vice president of AMCEN, said during the session that Africa “needs to invest in innovative solutions to change its development pathway in a sustainable way.”

El Ouafi stressed the need to implement “new and smart” approaches to solve the African continent’s environmental issues.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment Keriako Tobiko, who spoke on behalf of the Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, challenged ministers to suggest means to improve Africa’s natural resources.

“I challenge you to come up with ways of enhancing the wealth from our rich biodiversity in forests, rangelands, wildlife and marine resources,” he stated.   

The special session primarily discussed issues to take center stage at the fourth United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-4) scheduled for March 2019.

The AMCEN conference is also considered a preparation for the 14th  Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD-COP14) to take place November 17 to 29 in Egypt.

More than 50 government representatives and environment ministers who attended the session have pledged to overcome environmental challenges.

Environment experts, representatives of African civil society, partners, and media are also part of the AMCEN conference seeking to invest in “innovative solutions” to “overcome environmental challenges facing the continent,” according to the UN.

Key decisions made at the conference

Ministers agreed to develop common positions on various priority issues to “speak with one voice” during the 2018 UN biodiversity conference in Egypt.

The African ministers also considered the preparation of a Pan-African action agenda responding to land and ecosystems’ degradation challenges.

The session maintained that the outcomes of COP24 should reflect “the spirit” of the Paris climate agreement signed in 2016.

“The outcomes should balance between the agreements elements related to action, support and transparency. Adaptation and finance should be core elements for effective operationalization of the agreement,” emphasized the UN report on the conference.

Ministers agreed to participate in the third Inter-Ministerial Conference on Health and Environment in Libreville, Gabon, from October 9 to 12.

The conference is themed “Health and environment strategic alliance: a catalyst for action on the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa.”

Morocco’s environmental vision

Morocco has been building a green economy, benefiting from natural resources that are both clean and renewable.

Morocco’s policy includes the ban on the production, marketing, and use of plastic bags, given their negative impact on the environment.

Morocco also adheres to the Paris Climate Agreement, which aims to unite the world under a single climate change agreement for the first time in history.

Renewable energies, whether wind or solar, allow Morocco to reduce its energy dependence, according to statements by Morocco’s ambassador to Panama, Oumama Aouad, at a March conference on “Public Policies to Preserve the Environment.”

Thanks to solar stations NOOR I and NOOR II at Ouarzazate Solar Power Station, Morocco is expected to account more than half of its energy consumption with renewable sources by 2030.

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