Morocco Celebrates Earth Day Every Day! Morocco has long been a climate advocate, becoming the first African and Arab country to host a Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) in 2001. In November 2016, the country—dubbed a “perfect place for the world’s biggest climate change conference,” —again hosted world leaders in Marrakesh for COP 22, this time with the task of implementing the historic Paris Agreement from the year before
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI urged participants at COP 22 to move beyond promises to “tangible initiatives and practical steps,” and to respect and support the priorities and resources of developing countries.
“Holding this conference in Africa,” he said, “is an incentive for us to give priority to tackling the adverse repercussions of climate change, which are growing worse and worse in the countries of the South and in insular states whose very existence is in jeopardy.”
Since November, Morocco has ensured that the climate action agenda moves forward as COP 22 President, hosting a number of events and workshops with members of Moroccan civil society as well as international stakeholders on capacity building, sustainable industrial areas, and more. Morocco sent a delegation to the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington, DC this month to address issues of climate finance, and is working closely with the incoming Fiji COP 23 Presidency in advance of the Bonn Climate Change Conference in May.
Meanwhile, Morocco continues leading the way on sustainability and renewable energy at home:
1. Morocco has enshrined environmentalism in its governing documents. Article 31 of the country’s 2011 Constitution guarantees citizens’ right to “the access of water and to a healthy environment”; while Articles 71 and 152 address the government’s responsibility for environmental protection and oversight.
2. Morocco has set ambitious energy goals. Morocco has committed to generating 42% of the country’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, and 52% by 2030.
3. Morocco is a world leader in solar energy production. The country’s NOOR solar power complex is the largest in the world – so large it is visible from space; and by completion, will be capable of producing 2,000 megawatts of energy. In addition, Morocco currently maintains 13 wind farms and plans to build at least six more before 2020, capable of producing a total of 2,000 megawatts of energy.
4. Morocco is serious about waste reduction. The Moroccan Parliament signed a bill into law on July 1, 2016 banning the use, production, or import of plastic bags; and Rabat hosts an active recycling and waste-management centre that employs disadvantaged people to sort through waste for reusable, recyclable and saleable material.
5. Morocco understands the importance of raising public awareness on climate change issues. That’s why Morocco’s Association of Teachers of Life and Earth Sciences works with the Ministry of Education to promote awareness.