Moroccan Climate Change Policies: Challenges and Opportunities for Adaptation and Mitigation Action

Moroccan Climate Change Policies: Challenges and Opportunities for Adaptation and Mitigation Action

MIPA Institute17 November 202124min1620
Morocco is highly dependent on natural resources and thus highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Water scarcity, food insecurity, desertification, and shoreline erosion are growing problems in Morocco.

 

Moroccan Climate Change Policies: Challenges and Opportunities for Adaptation and Mitigation Action

Policy Dialogue 2021/2022

November 17, 2021, Rabat, Morocco

 

 

Background

Climate change is considered perhaps the most profound challenge to have confronted human social, political, and economic systems. From  shifting  weather  patterns  that  threaten  food  production,  to  rising  sea  levels  that  increase  the  risk  of  catastrophic  flooding,  the  impacts  of  climate  change  are  global  in  scope  and  unprecedented  in  scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be costly.

Morocco is highly dependent on natural resources and thus highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Water scarcity, food insecurity, desertification, and shoreline erosion are growing problems in Morocco. Additionally, climate migration tends to move people into urban areas with high population densities, which increases resource supply strain. By ratifying the three Rio Conventions in 1995, and most of the multilateral agreements that followed, Morocco has embarked on the path of sustainable development and environment protection. The country’s determination in this area was reiterated in 2002 at the Johannesburg World Summit. In November 2016, Morocco organized the COP22 with the aim of concretizing the new global climate agreement COP21.

In Morocco, a range of government and non-government agencies implement climate change-related programs to improve the environment, protect and value biodiversity, prevent industrial pollution, and protect against desertification and deforestation (e.g. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Environment; National Commission on Climate Change and Biological Diversity ; The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forest; Climate Change Competence Center; Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of Environment). In addition, Morocco has several climate change-related laws, policies, and plans that recognize the importance of protecting the environment for the betterment of present and future generations (e.g. Constitution (2011) ; Law No. 11-03 on the Protection and Conservation of the Environment(2003); The Green Morocco Plan (2008); Law 28-00 on Solid Waste Management and Disposal (2006);The 77-15 law (commonly known as the Zero Mika Law) (2016);The Moroccan Climate Change Policy(2014), National Sustainable Development Strategy(2017); National Climate Plan: Horizon 2030(2019) ).In 2018, Morocco was Africa’s leader in terms of efforts to combat climate change on the basis of the Performance Index on Climate Change, reaffirming the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate action.

Within the framework of the 2021 UN climate change conference (COP26), which took place from 1 to 12 November 2021 in Glasgow, under the incoming presidency of the UK, Morocco also declared an urgent need for measures in line with the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development and for systemic change in the funding decisions which have the most significant impact. These measures should be new, additional, innovative, adequate and predictable to take into account major challenges and allow more ambitious national plans.

This policy dialogue aims to position climate change in mainstream politics and public consciousness bringing different stakeholders together to open a discussion on key issues in national and international climate policy.

More concretely, this policy dialogue aims to answer the following questions:

  • What has Morocco achieved so far since COP22?
  • Are the current environment strategies and policies still adequate? Or they need to be revised?
  • What are the opportunities and challenges that Morocco’s environment policy face?
  • What pathways to be followed to realize the goals of sustainable development?
  • What lessons learned and alternative course of action to be taken in order to meet Morocco’s environment obligations?

 

Target audience

The dialogue targets:

  • Policy Entrepreneurs: Those are the people who have a vested interest and resources in the policy issue (policy makers, technical experts in the policy area, researchers, professionals, civil servants)
  • Other stakeholders: NGOs, research institutions, professional associations, local funding partners and other civil society organizations also have pivotal roles to play, first and foremost by aligning their aims and activities with the overall policy and planning cycle. These groups of actors also have an important advocacy role, i.e., bringing to attention priority issues and offering options to solve them.

While the participants meet in person, the event is conducted under Chatham House Rule, which means “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

 

Policy Dialogue Themes
  • Climate-Resilient Pathways: Adaptation, Mitigation and Sustainable Development

Through its high dependency on agriculture, fishing activities, tourism, the vulnerability of key resources such as water and forestry, and an important coastal industrial activity, the Moroccan economy is especially exposed to the impacts of climate change. Thinking of climate-resilient pathways as development trajectories that combine adaptation and mitigation with effective institutions to realize the goal of sustainable development becomes urgent. Resilience is the ability of a social, ecological, or socio-ecological system and its components to anticipate, reduce, accommodate, or recover from the effects of a hazardous event or trend in a timely and efficient manner[1]. A key factor in integrating climate change adaptation and mitigation into sustainable risk management is to understand the processes of decision making at different scales. Climate-resilient pathways include two main categories of responses:

  • Actions to reduce human-induced climate change and its impacts, including both mitigation and adaptation toward achieving sustainable development.
  • Actions to ensure that effective institutions, strategies, and choices for risk management will be identified, implemented, and sustained as an integrated part of achieving sustainable development.

In this context, Moroccan discourse and practice have helped to establish principles and aspirational plans. The current adaptation policies are run through sectoral strategies and plans such as National Plan for the Protection Against Floods,  National Strategy for Sustainable Development, National Water Strategy, National Action Program to Combat DesertificationHalieutis Plan, National Plan to Combat Global Warming, among others. Land management, forestry activities, water resource management, and coastal zone management planning contribute to ecosystem-based mitigation through, for example, implementing crop diversification, using new varieties that are better suited and adaptable to projected changes, such as increased drought conditions, shorter growing seasons and parasite infestations; reinforcing forest fire prevention, detection, and suppression programs; establishing emergency programs to mitigate the effects of drought in affected areas, including water supply points for rural populations to safeguard livestock; and conducting sand dune fixation, beach nourishment and build seawalls to protect urban and industrial areas of high value[2].

 

However, among the salient questions that need to be addressed:

  • What are Morocco’s options for managing these processes while balancing risks, costs, and benefits?
  • How should political actors tackle the risks and uncertainties involved in climate projections?

 

  • Energy Transitions: Accelerating the race to zero-emission shipping

Capitalizing on current global commitments and emerging trend for sustainable development, the utilization of alternative source of energy including renewables is the current game changer for an energy transition, and this is expected to continue and gain momentum into the future. Morocco’s energy landscape has been changing rapidly over the past decades. Population growth, industrialization and rising living standards that have been accompanied by rising access rates to electricity as well as high rates of rural-urban migration have all contributed to Morocco’s growing energy needs.

Moreover, more than one third of all of Morocco’s CO2 emissions originate from the power sector, and over two thirds of emissions are linked to oil, followed by coal, which are considered Morocco’s two most polluting sources of energy by far. During the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP21), Morocco announced a new goal to increase the capacity of renewables to 52% (20% solar, 20% wind, 12% hydro) by 2030[3]. This will make Morocco the first African country to aim to reach more than 50% electricity generation from RE in a continent where access to any energy is a big issue.

Morocco is already harnessing renewable energy and currently leads regionally in terms of installed capacity for non-hydro electricity. By the end of 2015, Morocco had around 800 MW of installed generation capacity for total wind and solar power, the largest in the Middle East and North Africa. The launch of Ouarzazate’s NOOR I Solar plant in early 2016, NOOR Ouarzazate Complex, NOOR Laayoune, Boujdour and NOOR Tafilalet, and a new programme (NOOR PV II) with a total capacity exceeding 800 MW to be operational by 2020, should add considerably to this capacity[4]. Systematically, reducing Morocco’s reliance on polluting sources of energy will play a major role in turning the country into a “green” leader regionally, but doing so will also present Morocco with new policy caveats.

Among the salient questions that need to be addressed:

  • How to optimize, enhance and facilitate existing RE initiatives to encourage greater RE uptake?
  • How to further deploy and develop new initiatives to increase RE in electricity generation mix and to catalyst socio-economic growth?
  • How to create a business conducive environment for RE development with less government interventions?

 

  • Mobilizing Climate Finance

Mobilizing climate finance is broadly recognized as crucial to catalyze low-carbon and climate-resilient development. It covers the costs and risks of climate action, supports an enabling environment and capacity for adaptation and mitigation, and encourages deployment of new technologies. Climate finance can be mobilized through a range of instruments from a variety of sources, international and domestic, public and private.

Morocco’s investments in low-carbon, climate-resilient (LCR) infrastructure that are compatible with meeting the 2-degree Celsius climate change goal may come at an extra cost, but this increment is just a fraction of the finance needed for infrastructure overall. While the amount of available climate finance is increasing, barriers to access, constraints on delivery and insufficient coherence in donors’ offers have left developing countries like Morocco unable to access or utilize the support they need to deliver on climate action and sustainable development[5].Moreover, green climate funding alone will be insufficient to bridge the climate financing gap. Therefore, finance need to be mobilized in a manner that steers Morocco’s funds towards low-carbon growth, and attracts investment and financing from the private sector, development banks, and international financial institutions.

Among the salient questions that need to be addressed:

  • What challenges and obstacles are facing climate funds mobilization?
  • What should be the balance between public and private sector funding in achieving the climate action goals?
  • Can climate finance contribute to achieving a sustainable structural transformation in Morocco?

 

About The Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA)

The Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA) is a non-profit independent policy research institution based in Rabat, Morocco. Founded by a group of trans-disciplinary researchers, MIPA’s mission is to produce systematic and in-depth analysis of relevant policy issues (political, social, economic, and cultural) that lead to new and innovative ideas for solving some of the most pressing issues relating to democracy.

MIPA’s main activity is to produce systematic, in-depth, accurate and impartial analyses of policy relevant issues. MIPA publishes findings and analyses in the form of policy briefs, research articles and thematic reports. All our publications are published in our website: https://mipa.institute/aror https://mipa.institute/eng

Each year, MIPA organizes an annual policy forum bringing together researchers, policy makers and government officials to discuss, debate, and reflect on a specific policy theme.

The third main activity of the MIPA is to train young activists, researchers and academics in the policy analysis domain. The aim of the trainings is to prepare the next generation of researchers and academics to take the next step in their careers and build their skills to be able to produce in-depth effective analyses of policy relevant matters. MIPA´s main goals and objectives are translations of what MIPA stands for. Through its work and the different activities it organizes, MIPA seeks to:

  • Contribute to the public debate on political issues;
  • Publish policy papers, analytical articles and thematic reports;
  • Provide advice and expertise to governmental and civil society organizations;
  • Promote research ethics;
  • Encourage analytical and critical thinking;
  • Prepare young researchers and academics to take the next step in their careers;
  • Encourage cooperation between the different public and non-public research institutions with shared interests and values.

 

MIPA’s Public Policy Dialogue Series 2021/2022

The Public Policy Dialogue series 2021/2022 is a formal forum organized by the Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis (MIPA). It is held monthly, gathering participants from the government, development partners, international institutions, researchers, experts and civil society to discuss emerging public policy issues, challenges and constraints of implementation in the context of Morocco.

The purpose of these series is to deepen awareness and introduce a profound critical policy dialogue between the specialists in the domain of public policy analysis and decision-makers to achieve a thorough diagnosis of policies, multi-sectoral and community-based strategies while constructively criticizing them, proposing policy alternatives and thinking of potential options. These dialogues also provide an opportunity to inform the broader discourse, build consensus and improve understanding on pertinent issues. Therefore, every participant plays a role as both a knowledge holder and knowledge recipient and actively engages in a thought-provoking, frank and constructive discussion.

While the participants meet in person, the event is conducted under Chatham House Rule, which means “When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed.”

The Public Policy Dialogue series 2021/2022 hope to get a structured dialogue that will create both the learning opportunity and the space for collaboration and joint problem solving. Each policy dialogue event will maintain a half/one day (3-6 hours) time frame in respect of the heavy workload of participants but to limit the reporting component of each meeting as well as the number of subjects to be considered overall.

A few weeks following each policy dialogue, a policy brief will be produced and disseminated, summarizing the main points discussed and suggesting recommendations to be followed. The brief will be written in Arabic and English languages.

 

 

Points of Contact:

 

Mohammed Masbah, Ph.D

Email: m.masbah@mipa.institute

 

Hajar Idrissi, Ph.D

Email : h.idrissi@mipa.institute

 

Footnotes

[1]  World Bank report, 2019 / Read more at https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/519821547481031999/pdf/The-World-Bank-Groups-Action-Plan-on-Climate-Change-Adaptation-and-Resilience-Managing-Risks-for-a-More-Resilient-Future.pdf

[2] World Bank, https://climateknowledgeportal.worldbank.org/country/morocco/adaptation

[3]  See “Energy Strategies and Policies in North Africa: Morocco, the Eldorado of Renewable Energies”, https://www.bearingpoint.com/fr-fr/blogs/energie/morocco-the-eldorado-of-renewable-energies/

[4] See “Energy Policies Beyond IEA Countries”, https://www.connaissancedesenergies.org/sites/default/files/pdf-actualites/Energy_Policies_beyond_IEA_Contries_Morocco.pdf

 

[5]  See “ Morocco Calls for New Financing Target for after 2025”, https://www.diplomatie.ma/index.php/en/climate-and-development-ministerial-meeting-morocco-calls-new-financing-target-after-2025

MIPA Institute

MIPA is a non-profit independent research institution based in Rabat, Morocco. Founded by a group of transdisciplinary researchers, MIPA’s mission is to produce systematic and in-depth analysis of relevant policy issues that lead to new and innovative ideas for solving some of the most pressing issues relating to democracy.


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Moroccan Institute for Policy Analysis

MIPA is a non-profit independent research institution based in Rabat, Morocco. Founded by a group of transdisciplinary researchers, MIPA’s mission is to produce systematic and in-depth analysis of relevant policy issues that lead to new and innovative ideas for solving some of the most pressing issues relating to democracy.



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