story by Binod Parajuli, Ana Carolina Amaral, and Hamdi Hached
The world has experienced many extreme weather events, new record on temperatures, retreating glaciers and rising sea levels. Climate change is already being experienced in various parts of the world, and Morocco is not an exception.
In its latest report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that the African continent is among the most vulnerable region in the world, especially considering the significant developmental challenges, poverty, poor governance, and institutional arrangements.
Dependence of Morocco’s activities in the coastline makes it particularly vulnerable to sea level rise. Most of its economic activities are near the coast.
MOROCCO’S COASTLINES AFFECTED BY CLIMATE CHANGE
On the Atlantic coast, there are extensive plains, olives, citrus fruits, and wine grapes are grown. Morocco also produces a significant amount of illicit hashish, much of which is shipped to Western Europe. Part of the maritime population fishes for its livelihood.
Agadir, Essaouira, El Jadida, and Larache are among the important fishing harbors. Moreover, small scale farmers increasingly find themselves competing for water with thirsty golf courses and hotel swimming pool, while in other parts of the country flooding causes devastation. Even a slight increase in temperature makes a lot of change to these areas affecting the whole economy.
From the interaction with some local Moroccans we found out that water scarcity is the main environmental concern in Morocco, as well in the rest of the North Africa. And the reports from the IPCC are clear about how climate change is playing a role in this: water resources are four times worse now than in 1950. The whole world may face changes in the water cycle the next decades due global warming. It is projected that in this region, the scarcity may be 11 times worse than the global average by 2050.
The government of Morocco, with the support from the World Bank, is putting effort to address the future water scarcity in Morocco. On the agriculture sector, for example, they are investing in smart systems for efficient irrigation. Another action is better regulated and monitored fishing through a satellite in order to avoid illegal fishing. This is becoming increasingly important in times of climate change, since the changes in the temperature and acidity of the oceans may change the regime of fishing and, if not well managed, can also led to scarcity of sea food.
MOROCCO AND THE UN NEGOTIATIONS
There has always been a debate and continued negotiation between developing and developed countries mostly about where to invest the resources. Developed countries are more interested in Mitigation measures than adaptation. Whereas, developing countries are more concerned about investment in adaptation. As the Conference of Parties (COP) this year is hosted by Morocco itself, being a developing country it can use its diplomacy to give life to the “Paris agreement” giving more emphasis to the 1.5 degrees.
As stated in its INDC, Morocco’s commitment is to reduce its GHG emissions by 32% by 2030 compared to “business as usual” projected emissions. This is very crucial to help limit the global temperature rise as low as possible. Meeting this target will require huge financial through new climate finance mechanisms.
COP22 for morocco has been seen as a best chance to amplify the issues from their citizens to the best possible level. The continued negotiations could also be a direction that sets an environment to establish the new climate finance mechanism for the country.