At the invitation of Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, participated in the 27th session of UNEP’s Governing Council / Global Ministerial Environment Forum on Monday, February 18, 2013 in Nairobi (Kenya).
At this meeting, Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa delivered an important speech. After thanking Mr. Achim Steiner for his invitation, and the Kenyan Government and citizens for their warm welcome and hospitality, Her Royal Highness noted that this session takes place six months after the Rio +20 Conference, which was held in Brazil in June 2012. Her Royal Highnesshighlighted that this event serves to reaffirm the commitment to sustainable development and to establish a new roadmap for its implementation in the coming years. Her Royal Highness called for the active involvement of all stakeholders, especially civil society, to establish mechanisms for resource mobilization, transfer of know-how and capacity building in a spirit of regional solidarity and international cooperation.
Her Royal Highness also noted that since the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, the Kingdom of Morocco is firmly committed to achieving the objectives and principles of sustainable development. The National Charter for Environment and Sustainable Development legal framework, initiated by His Majesty the King, embodies the commitment towards these sustainable development objectives and principles, developed from a broad consultation process in all regions of the Kingdom.
In the same momentum towards reform, HRH noted that the new constitution adopted by referendum in 2011 enshrines the principles of environmental protection and sustainable development, establishes an Economic, Social and Environmental Council, and recognizes the ability of NGOs to participate the development, implementation and evaluation of development policies in the context of participatory democracy.
Her Royal Highness highlighted the various programs that the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection conducts, which are based on environmental education and the premise that education and awareness must be at the heart of environmental protection and sustainable development strategies. As such, Her Royal Highness stressed the Foundation’s strategic choice to invest in education and outreach, in particular among the younger generation, in order to enhance their awareness and ability to face sustainable development challenges.
With this approach, the Foundation promotes working in partnership with the public and private sectors by bringing them together around concrete and demonstrative projects and ensuring that all stakeholders involved in sustainable development issues are represented in Foundation governance bodies and participate in defining and implementing its programs.
Various programs across the Kingdom are built on this model, such as the Coastal Protection, Qualit’Air, Voluntary Carbon Offset, Responsible Tourism, Eco-Business, and Marrakech Palm Grove Protection programs, which are intended to serve as concrete demonstrative examples based on awareness and education.
With the support of businesses and the civil society, and in partnership with the Ministry of National Education, the success of these projects and programs has enabled the Foundation to organize the 7th World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) in June in Marrakech. Under the Royal Patronage of His Majesty the King, the Congress, the first to be held in an Arab – Muslim country, will provide an opportunity for the scientific community and education specialists to discuss their ideas and share their experiences. The Foundation aims to ensure that the basis for a South-South cooperation be strengthened. It is in this context that the signing of a memorandum of understanding took place with UNEP during Her Royal Highness’s visit to Nairobi, Kenya.
This memorandum allows the Foundation and UNEP to address issues related to the environment and sustainable development, focuses on access to and exchange of information and environmental knowledge, the promotion of environmental education and awareness, and capacity building and training in the environment and sustainable development.
In Her Speech, Her Royal Highness reiterated the Foundation’s commitment to sharing its expertise in education and awareness with to African organizations and associations.