Morocco: First African and Arab state to host Earth Day

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Earth day, one of the trendiest international events is earmarked to take place in the Moroccan capital of Rabat from April 17 to 24. Hosting the 40th anniversary celebrations of Earth Day has been deemed a pride and joy among Moroccans, especially because Rabat will be a premier African and Arab city and one of six world cities to lead celebrations for Earth Day celebrations. The other cities are, New York, Washington, Shanghai, Rome and Mumbai.

Indeed, the American Earth Day Network’s decision to host celebrations of the event in Morocco is a recognition and reward for the efforts made by kingdom towards environmental protection and the promotion of sustainable development.

“Morocco, which sits at the crossroads between Africa and the Middle East, is leading these regions in groundbreaking environmental practices, inspiring millions of people to make a personal commitment to the environment for Earth Day and beyond,” said Earth Day Network President Kathleen Rogers as she praised Morocco for implementing an environmental charter.

Morocco’s decision, a few months ago, to develop a national charter on environment and sustainable development involving every facet of the Moroccan society has been praised by international environmental organizations. The charter reflects a bold conservation move that will guide policy and future laws to ensure the preservation of water and natural resources, and the promotion of renewable energy.

Earth Day was born in the USA in 1970 and in 40 years of existence has become a real support for environmental issues on a global scale. It is also the most celebrated environmental event worldwide. Organizing the event in Morocco confronts the North African environmental dimension. The action bodes well for the region regarding the improvement of its environmental situation especially in what concerns the struggle against the ever encroaching desert.

According to the Earth Day Network “Morocco’s recent $9 billion investment in solar energy, demonstrates the country’s ongoing dedication to harnessing renewable energy to build a green economy. By 2020, Morocco expects to have renewable energies account for 42 percent of the country’s total power installed”.

Three events

“To commemorate this day, Rabat will be an example on the world scale by inaugurating 10 long-range projects focused on the protection of the environment in the kingdom,” an official of the Moroccan government told AFP. Morocco intends to push its environmental program to include “environmental education in schools and the establishment of a national observatory for environment and rural development”.

To mark the occasion, numerous events will take place in Rabat and around the country. An ecology space, one of the important features of this flagship event, will be erected at the Esplanade des Oudayas where the latest innovations in the area of environmental protection — implemented by ministries, public offices, companies or international organizations — will be presented from April 17 to 25.

The organizers have also announced that Earth Day in Morocco will be divided into three events.

The first part which takes place between April 17 and 18 will be devoted to the participation of all environmental actors in the Moroccan society, who will be invited to undertake small-or large-scale actions for the environment. Each citizen will be given the opportunity to volunteer in activities organized by local authorities, associations, businesses, schools, etc, or undertake their own environmental initiatives.

The second event is scheduled for April 22. A day set aside as a day of commitment. It will mark an even greater involvement of both the public and private sectors, as well as NGOs, mainly involved in issues concerning environmental protection and sustainable development.

The third event will take place April 24.

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