Morocco has played an “important proactive role” in the international climate change debate
Rabat – The EU’s new Climate Change Ambassador Marc Vanheukelen says Morocco is on track in its efforts to combat climate change. In an interview with Morocco’s national press agency and M24 television, the Belgian diplomat commended Morocco’s efforts. The EU has set ambitious new climate standards and sees Morocco as a potential “major partner.”
Vanheukelen is on a mission to enlist foreign partners in the EU’s climate efforts on the 5-year anniversary of the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 21, held in Paris. Five years ago, UN members agreed to limit their emissions and combat climate change by setting long-term targets. However, few nations are actively on track to meet those targets.
In order for the EU to accelerate its efforts, the EU has established ambitious new targets aimed at reducing the bloc’s emission by at least 55% by 2030. The EU has expressed the desire to become the first “climate neutral continent” by 2050. This long-term goal requires rapid action by member states but the bloc cannot stop climate change by itself.
Vanheukelen’s position as the first “EU Ambassador for Climate Change,” puts him in the role of active watchdog on the topic. The Belgian diplomat is not part of the European Commission’s climate administration but instead serves as a type of ombudsman internally and as an EU diplomat to push the issue to the forefront of international political leaders’ agenda.
The ambassador’s foreign diplomacy has given him admiration for Morocco’s approach according to his statements to the Moroccan press. “We consider Morocco to be a very good student of the class,” Vanheuekelen stated adding that, “Morocco is for us, and could become even more so, a flagship country especially for the African continent.”
Vanheuken described Morocco’s valuable role in the global fight against climate change saying, “your country has well understood the environmental and economic challenges of the fight against climate change.” He described Morocco as a “pioneer in renewable energies,” highlighting local wind and solar investments that aim to offset climate change.
While a majority of countries globally still lag behind on their climate change-related ambitions, Morocco is committed to the important issue. “I believe you are on the right track,” Vanheukelen stated.
Morocco’s partnership with the EU is only set to grow because of its climate efforts.
“Morocco could become a major partner of Europe and a major player in renewable energies,” Vanheukelen said, highlighting the potential promise of a Moroccan hydrogen industry. Morocco’s green energy exports to Spain makes the country an “exporter of electricity to the European Union.” Vanheukelen sees this relationship as a factor for further growing cooperation between the EU and Morocco.
“I believe that this could develop even further and a partnership, in terms of sustainable development between Morocco and the European Union, could well take shape.” This relationship would be “win-win collaboration,” according to Vanheukelen.