Rabat – Following the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 75), Morocco invited all member states and stakeholders to observe the International Day of Argania on May 10.
Morocco’s draft resolution cites the instrumental role of the argan tree in promoting local jobs and eradicating poverty, highlighting the implementation of targets with concrete policies and actions, within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In urging the UN to recognize the cultural and socioeconomic significance of argan, Morocco wishes to build upon previously adopted resolutions to promote trade for sustainable growth and production of argan and its derivatives.
The North African country notes, specifically within the framework of “the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” that eradicating poverty “is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.”
Morocco also invites all parties to strengthen cooperation in preserving argan trees, arguing that the cultivation of the argan tree contributes to “the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of local communities.”
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The draft resolution cites concrete resolutions to support its favorable notions of the argan tree. The resolution recalls the United Nations’ 2017–2030 strategic plan for forests, as well as the 2019 World Health Organization report on traditional medicines.
Also mentioned in the draft are the ecological implications of preserving the argan tree. According to the document, climate change is a “major and growing driver of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation.”
Given argan’s role in maintaining ecological balance and preserving biodiversity, Morocco is urging the international community to proclaim May 10 as the International Day of Argania.
The argan tree
The Souss valley in south-western Morocco is the original habitat of the argan tree. The argan forest covers more than 71% of the Souss valley, cementing Morocco’s position as the main international exporter of argan-based products.
The argan tree is not only a Moroccan symbol, but also makes up a significant source of income for the people living in the Souss valley.
Argan product sales, whether for medicine, cosmetics, or consumption, make up over 90% of the Souss-Massa region’s economy.
According to a study by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), there are over 17,500 cooperatives working with argan in Morocco. The majority of the mostly rural cooperatives employ local women.
The FAO has also granted the argan tree-based agricultural system the status of Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS), acknowledging the Souss valley farmers’ unique means of water management.