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Morocco: Blogoma participates in Blog Action Day

Moroccan bloggers expressed their concern for the environment on Blog Action Day 2009, which focused on climate change this year.

The aim of the annual day, which falls on October 15, is to unite “the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance.”

bad-180-150The Blogma, as the Moroccan blogosphere is known, sprang into action with leading bloggers taking the podium to state their ideas on climate change and the environment.

Taha Balafrej [Fr], who writes about Moroccan environmental issues on Vues Du Maroc applauds the fact that a public institute such as the Moroccan Royal Institute for Strategic Studies is organizing an international conference about the effects of climate change on Morocco. He says:

C’est une initiative louable à plusieurs titres. D’abord parce que, de nos jours, il est inconcevable de prétendre parler d’avenir, de prospective, ou de stratégies des pouvoirs publics, sans affronter la problématique du climat. Et ensuite parce que l’initiative s’inscrit dans le cadre d’une réflexion soutenue visant à « suggérer des solutions adaptées aux défis que doit relever le pays en matière de sécurité hydraulique, alimentaire, sanitaire et environnementale ».

This is a praiseworthy initiative in several ways. First, because today it is inconceivable to argue about the future, forecasting, or strategies of government, without addressing the climate issue. And second because the initiative is part of a sustained reflection to “suggest solutions to challenges facing the country's water security, food, health and environment”.

In an other blog post, Balafrej warns about the danger of the authorities’ lack of attention on climate change. He writes:

Le Maroc se trouve dans une région vulnérable aux effets néfastes du changement climatique. Bien que peu émetteur de Gaz à effet de serre, le Maroc est menacé dans son avancement vers le développement et le bien être de ses populations. Il doit par conséquent rester attentif à l’évolution de cette question au niveau mondial, tout en étant actif dans le processus de négociation mené sous l’égide de l’ONU …

Morocco lies in a region vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change. Although low in its greenhouse gas emissions, Morocco is threatened in its progress towards development and welfare of its people. It must therefore be attentive to the evolution of this issue globally, while active in the negotiation process conducted under the auspices of the UN …

Bloggers who have participated in Blog Action Day addressed mainly the issues of energy and water supply.

Le blog d'Annouss [Fr] praises for more cooperation and a transfer of technology from developed countries to developing countries like Morocco. Annouss writes:

One of the big issues for Morocco is its dependance on foreign oil for energy. Moroccan government should address this issue with great ambition in order to reduce our dependance on foreign oil and take all advantage from our sunny lands and windy coasts. In 2008 renewable energy met 24% of Spain’s electricity demand … Why not develop clean energy policy in Morocco at a very large scale in cooperation with this european country. The advanced status that Morocco got with the European Union sould not be just a question of trade, immigration and fishing, it should also be a question of technology transfer and multilateral cooperation.

Indeed, this cooperation could see light as Omar El-Hyani [Fr] points out on his blog. In his contribution to Blog Action Day, Omar urges Moroccan authorities not to miss the green revolution – like it did with the industrial revolution and the numeric revolution. He states:

Le déclenchement pourrait probablement venir du projet Desertec qui a pour ambition d’investir 400 milliards d’euros dans la production d’énergie solaire à partir des déserts d’Afrique du Nord et d’Arabie, pour l’acheminer ensuite en Europe. Le projet est pour l’instant en cours d’étude, mais s’il viendrait à se concrétiser, ce serait un véritable tournant dans la production énergétique mondiale, jusque là très dépendante des énergies fossiles. Au Maroc, ce projet pourrait transformer la structure énergétique du pays. D’importateur d’énergie à 98% de ses besoins, le Maroc pourrait alors se transformer en exportateur.

The outbreak could probably come from Desertec project which aims to invest 400 billion euros in solar energy production from the deserts of North Africa and Arabia, for onward delivery to Europe. The project is currently under study, but should it see light, it would be a turning point in world energy production, until now heavily dependent on fossil fuels. In Morocco, this project could transform the country's energy structure. Importing energy to 98% of its needs, then Morocco could become exporters.

The second issue of water supply was addressed by Ibn Kafka [Fr], among others. The blogger focuses on the dependance of the Moroccan economy to agriculture and its need for water supply. Ibn Kafka writes:

L’enjeu pour le Maroc n’est pas seulement celui de la survie de son agriculture, mais également de son économie, tant l’agriculture – les agrumes plutôt – joue un rôle vital dans son commerce extérieur et ses rentrées de devises … De fait, le Maroc, aussi aride soit-il, exporte de l’eau: agrumes et tourisme, voilà les principaux consommateurs d’eau au Maroc. Le Maroc vend son eau contre des rentrées en devises, mais que fera-t-il quand son aridité sera telle qu’il ne pourra plus ni exporter des agrumes ni promettre piscines et golfs aux 10 millions de touristes ?

The challenge for Morocco is not only the survival of its agriculture, but also its economy, as agriculture – citrus rather – plays a vital role in external trade and foreign exchange … Indeed, Morocco, as arid as it is, exports of water: citrus and tourism are the main consumers of water in Morocco. The Morocco sells its water for foreign exchange earnings, but what will happen when its aridity is such that it can not export more citrus or promise pools and golf courses to the seeked 10 million tourists ?

The same concern was raised by Hisham on the Mirror Blog where he gave examples from his last visit to Morocco of the newest planned touristic projects, such as resorts and golf courses, that consume large quantities of water. Hisham wonders:

But the haunting question remains for developing countries like ours, on how we can hope for economic progress without damaging the environment or impacting on climate. It appears that the whole country took a pass on sustainability, obsessed as it is by economic growth, at any cost …
In the meanwhile, the sight of the Hawzi’ya forest being literally uprooted, left an enduring pain in my heart. No longer will I enjoy the reseeding scents of wild flowers, or the shades of an unacquired tree in a wild field, only a couple of miles north of home. Or maybe should I just resign to an inexorable reality?

Let's hope this will not be the case.

PS: For more information about climate change and its effects on Morocco, see Ibn Kafka‘s blog where he gives numerous references, documents and links.

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