Morocco’s efforts to tackle climate change have received positive feedback, especially in 2019 when Morocco ranked 2nd in the Climate Change Performance Index.
Rabat – Storms, heavy rains, and flooding are all part of mother nature, but the earth’s climate has changed at dangerously high rates over the past two centuries. Flooding and rain are becoming common phenomena, even during the dry season.
Just last month, Morocco’s southern provinces experienced a series of dramatic flash-floods, resulting in death tolls and severe property damage. In Taroudant, a city in the Sous Valley in southern Morocco, heavy rains caused flooding that killed eight people.
Imlil in the Atlas Mountains and Khenifra in northern central Morocco also experienced floods, resulting in the death of two people in Khenifra. The last incident, which spread fear among citizens in southern provinces was the overturning of a bus because of flooding in the Errachidia province on Sunday, September 8. The incident killed at least 24 people.
The Ministry of Mines and Energy indicates that the “geographical position of the North African country makes it naturally vulnerable to the ever increasing impacts of man-made climate change, including desertification, floods, and water scarcity.”
The ministry said that Morocco’s vulnerability is due to the “increase of arid and semi-arid zones, hence worsening the desertification phenomenon and impacting water resources.”
Human-accelerated climate change touches every country in the world. Its effects have led countries across the globe to adopt policies to tackle the causes and consequences of the climate crisis. Despite challenges, Morocco is among the countries making significant progress in the right direction.
As Morocco World News is the solo media in the Maghreb to participate in the Covering Climate Now journalism initiative before the September 23 UN Climate Action Summit in New York, the news outlet prepared a list of policies that have helped Morocco to establish itself as a climate justice leader, both in the Maghreb and MENA region.
Green Morocco Plan
Did you know that Morocco launched the Green Morocco Plan (GMP) in 2008 to help cope with its climate change threat? According to the Moroccan government, the plan targets “reducing the impact of climate change and preserving the natural resources.”
The plan also seeks to boost the exportation of agricultural products as well as to promote Moroccan soil products. Morocco’s economy relies significantly on agriculture.
The plan received a nod from international NGOs as well as the World Bank.
“It represents a triple win, as it involves both adapting the country to the reality of climate change and taking steps to reduce its impact on its people and environment,” noted Francoise Marie Nelly, former World Bank Group Country Director for the Maghreb.
The GMP also aims to make Morocco’s agriculture sector more resilient, sustainable, and adaptable to climate change.
“This strategy [GMP] is included in the continuity of several major projects at the national level such as creating jobs, fighting poverty or protecting the environment,” the Ministry of Finance and Economy said.
Morocco acknowledged that it is facing the threat of limited water resources. Droughts are “one of the most important obstacles to the development of national agriculture because of poor and irregular rainfall.”
Hence, the GMP Initiative also includes a strategy for water management, a subject of crucial importance in Morocco. The North African country is among the world’s most water-scarce countries due to its dependence on rainfall in its agricultural industry, not to mention the droughts that have plagued the country since 2015.
To cope with the water challenges, Morocco’s Green Plan prioritizes water management.
According to the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture, their strategy preserves natural resources in “view of insuring sustainable agriculture through.” Several steps are involved, including the “support for the water conservation irrigation systems (from the current 154,000 ha to 692,000 ha).”
The ministry added that the “under-valuing and overuse of surface and groundwater is due to the inefficiency of the irrigation system.”
To remedy this, Morocco’s plan proposes new policies for the management of water supply, irrigation water, and the use of water for high value-added crops.
Morocco has a clear objective and is competing to become a world leader in the renewable energy sector.
The North African country’s advancements in renewable energy are a source of pride for the government.
Morocco’s renewable energy law 13-09 focuses on, “promoting energy production from renewable resources.”
As the world continues to inch closer to the catastrophic effects of climate change, countries are increasing their measures and paving the way toward a more sustainable future.
The Moroccan government is poised with a goal to increase national renewable electricity production to 52% by 2030.
In the short term, Morocco aims to generate 42% of its electricity from renewable energies by 2020. The country’s electricity production has increased by 25.1 % since 2019, according to the Direction of Studies and Financial Forecasts (DEPF), part of the Ministry of Interior.
Morocco heavily invests in solar energy through the world’s largest concentrated solar power (CSP) plant, the Noor Ouarzazate project and Noor Midelt I.
Morocco ranked 13th in Global Renewable Energy Attractiveness Index, making it a hotspot for renewable energy investment despite falling one spot.
Morocco’s government has been combating the use of plastic bags nationwide, despite its persistence in the market.
Morocco ranked one of the largest consumers of plastic bags at 26 billion units, or 800 bags per person each year, a situation that urged the government to adopt its 2016 landmark law banning the production, import, sale, and distribution of plastic bags countrywide.
Security services have encouraged the abolishment of plastic bags through campaigns labeled “zero mika” or zero plastic bags.
In a further crackdown against plastic bags, Moroccan authorities have seized tons of banned plastic products. In March 2018 alone, authorities seized almost 2.96 tons of plastic bags in Tangier.
Last But Not Least
Despite all the policies put in place, Morocco desperately needs to raise awareness of climate change and its consequences.
A report from the BBC’s research project Afrobarometer indicates that a majority of Moroccans are not even familiar with the term climate change, let alone its impacts on the country’s environment and people.
The study shows that four out of ten Moroccans have never heard about climate change. The result is alarming as policies need mobilization and vigilance from citizens in order to achieve concrete results and to reduce the surge in climate change concern. Perhaps the solution lies in a campaign to help educate Moroccans about the existence and serious effects of climate change.
In addition to zero plastic campaign Morocco has been seeking to initiate awareness campaigns on the impacts of climate change.
In May, the country hosted the Peace Boat Program in Tangier. The program includes youth, who travel abroad by boat to speak about the challenges that the world faces due to climate change.
The program is a collaboration between the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Action Campaign, Moroccan NGO Atlas for Development, and the Council of Young Leaders of Tangier.
Morocco World News is proud to be part of the Climate Covering Now journalism initiative. We are dedicated to shedding light on the climate change challenges that face Morocco and planet earth.
In the run up to the September 23 UN Climate Action Summit in New York, Morocco World News commits to covering the “biggest story of our time.”