Morocco Reaffirms Commitment to Protecting Oceans, Combating Climate Change at Our Ocean Conference

In Advance of Hosting COP 22 in November, Morocco Announces New Partnership for the Mediterranean

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - September 19, 2016) - Speaking at the 2016 Our Ocean Conference, Moroccan Minister Delegate in Charge of the Environment Dr. Hakima El Haite called for a "world partnership to establish a real vision and strategy to address oceans," noting that oceans both sustain life and are essential to the economies of coastal countries like Morocco.

Addressing a panel on "Ocean and the Environment," Dr. El Haite said, "Morocco understands the impact of climate change on oceans every day." "The oceans are not just part of an environmental agenda," she added, "but an economic agenda and human agenda."

To address these environmental and economic challenges posed by climate change, the Kingdom has undertaken a number of initiatives to protect its oceans, including adopting laws against illegal fishing, promoting the monitoring of fishing fleets, and creating protected zones along the coastlines.

Morocco, which will host the next Conference of Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22) in Marrakesh this November, will place oceans at the heart of its COP 22 agenda. Dr. El Haite stressed the importance of linking the aims of the Our Ocean conference to the implementation of the COP 21 Paris Agreement. On the sidelines of the event, Minister El Haite told ClimateWire that oceans should be "put in the heart of the development and human rights agenda" of Paris, and that "Including oceans in NDCs [nationally determined contributions] would be a clear political signal and commitment and would encourage more programs and initiatives from the private sector, the financial community and all the non-state actors."

At the conference, Morocco also announced a partnership with France and the Principality of Monaco to ensure better protection of the biodiversity and richness of Mediterranean Sea against climate change. Ségolène Royal, French President of COP 21, said the partnership will strengthen the fight against pollution, noting that the goal is to set "rules of sustainable development" and "to protect the cradle of the Mediterranean, that links Europe and Africa."

Morocco is frequently lauded as a leader in climate change policy. The 2016 Climate Performance Index ranked Morocco among the top ten countries making the most progress in addressing climate change and number one among "newly industrialized countries," citing the country as one that shows "the potential of developing countries to move forward."

"Morocco understands well the necessity of being a careful steward of the planet," said former US Ambassador Edward Gabriel, "which is why the country has for years led the way in sustainability and environmental protection in the Middle East and North Africa."

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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Jordana Merran