Morocco Developing an Environmental Charter

morocco donkey drinking water photoMorocco, still very undeveloped compared to the west, looks to make an environmental plan of action.

Morocco is currently consulting with political and environmental groups and activists over the preliminary draft of the country’s environmental charter, which targets preserving the environment and fostering sustainable development.

While the first draft was taking shape, the government in Rabat is struggling with how to encourage Moroccans to practice environmental stewardship. To address this issue, King Mohammed VI has launched the country-wide consultation, while also holding regional awareness-raising workshops in January to bring awareness to the average citizen.

As the consultation heads for its February 23rd conclusion, there is still much disagreement over the clarity of the draft and its accessibility to Moroccan citizens.

“I think it’s easy for citizens to understand the charter,” Environmental Ministry spokesperson Abderrahim Diab told Magharebia news website on January 24th.

“We see some commercial spots on TV discussing the project, in addition to a special website for the charter addressing all age groups,” he added.

He said the legal language of the charter may be difficult for Moroccans to understand, but the intent will be widely appreciated by all parties involved.

“Concerning the messages that can be conveyed through the charter, I’m positive that they’ll be thoroughly understood by the layperson,” Diab said.

Still, the head of the Sustainable Development and Environment Preservation Association, Abdessalam Rouchdi, is not pleased with the government’s efforts to educate citizens concerning the charter.

“Activists in the field of environmental preservation couldn’t quite grasp the content of the charter draft, so how can the layperson be expected to understand it?” he asked Magharebia on January 24th. “The government didn’t take any initiative to raise the awareness of citizens or explain the core idea and aspects of the charter.”

He expressed concerns over the lack of political will among Moroccan political parties to effect real environmental change.

Other Moroccans involved in the consultations said it was important to implement the charter’s measures.

“We can’t discuss how the charter should be respected by the citizen, in the absence of mandatory obligation,” said Mohamed kourouk, professor of climatology at Hassan II Ain Chok University in Casablanca. “We have laws that are never respected because individuals are not prepared for that.”

Unified Socialist Party chief Mouhamed Moujahid echoed Kourouk’s concerns.

“No charter can be sufficient, since it will never be able to cover all aspects of environmental preservation, since it may not be thoroughly implemented,” he told Magharebia on January 24th. He said that in order for the charter to work, its implementation “needs to be monitored”.

The Environmental Ministry’s spokesperson, Diab, called having a charter an important first step.

“There’s a big difference between having a charter and not having one. When we have a charter, there’s a chance to improve it and develop it,” he said.

“Either way, launching a charter for the environment remains a significant step forward.”

(This article is republished with permission from the Egypt-based news site Bikya Masr.

Image via thebbp

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