Under the effective Chairpersonship of Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection and in the presence of Ms Irina Bokova, Director General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), a partnership agreement on Education for Sustainable Development in Morocco was signed between the two organizations on Tuesday, April 5, 2016 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.
The general frameworkpartnership agreement signed in Paris this Tuesday, April 5, 2016 is part of the new United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development launched by UNESCO through the implementation of a Global Action Planprogram (GAP) for 2015-2030. This Plan defines five priority action areas necessaryto accelerate progress towards sustainable development. Among these five areas, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection retained the capacity building of educators and trainers as a priority area in Morocco.
Educators are important players in several educational programs initiated by the Foundation in recent years, such as Eco-Schools* or Young Reporters for the Environment**, and are indeed as an important vector for change and transmission of sustainable development principles. Strengthening their skills and developing their teaching tools are imperative and a prerequisite that is more than necessary to achieve the objectives of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection forregarding sustainable development in Morocco.
The agreement signed with UNESCO will enable Morocco to benefit from the expertise and important educational and human resources available to this international organization, with a network of 373 NGOs and 24 foundations and institutions in the area of training educators. Among other means, it will allow the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection to benefit from specialized educational curriculum developed by UNESCO on education for sustainable development, as well as its network of international experts.
These additional resources will thus strengthen the Foundation’s capacity and enable it to optimize some of its ongoing programs such as Eco-schools, Young Reporters for the Environment, and other programs dedicated to Environmental Protection. Specifically, the training of trainers program announced in the partnership framework agreement will mainly concern the professionals working in primary, secondary and higher education. It will also benefit policy makers, staff and employees of public and private sectors, media members and all other persons orentities interested in sustainable development.
It is important to remember that this partnership with UNESCO is the culmination of a long process inaugurated by the joining of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection to the 1stDecade of Education for Sustainable Development (2005 -2014). In October 2010, the two entities jointly organized, under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, an important international conference on Sustainable Coastal Management in Tangier. Three years later, this spirit of cooperation was further strengthened during the 7thWorld Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) held in June 2013 in Marrakech. WEEC led to the enactment of the “Call of Marrakech,” of which one of the main recommendations was precisely the “need to develop networks of environmental education players to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, expertise, experiences and best practices.”
In November 2014, during her participation as a guest of Honor at the World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development UNESCO in Nagoya, Japan, Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa reaffirmed the central role of education and educators emphasizing the urgent need for more proactive pedagogy in sustainable development.
About the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection:
Since its creation in June 2001 by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, who entrusted the Chair to Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection has placed education and awareness- raisingissues at the heart of the mission that was assigned to it. It is thus aligned with goals set by the Rio summits (1992 and 2012) and Johannesburg (2002), in terms of education for sustainable development to which Morocco has subscribed. The Foundation has successfully conducted several pilot programs and projects within this framework. These programs cover areas as diverse as environmental education, protection of the coastline, improving air quality, voluntary carbon offsetting, responsible tourism and the preservation and development of historic gardens, palm groves and oases. In 2002, the Foundation, with the joining of the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), a non-profit NGO grouping 73 countries around the world and where Morocco is the only Arab Muslim member country, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection decided to implement four FEE programs in Morocco:
• Blue Flag for the beaches
• Eco- Schools for primary schools
• Young Reporters for the Environment in secondary middle and high schools
• Green Key for tourist establishments
About Eco-Schools and Young Reporters for the Environment programs conducted in partnership with the Ministry of National Education:
– * Eco-schools program: Launched in order to train a generation of citizens of the World, Eco-schools is deployed in 60 countries participating in the FEE network. In Morocco 1,368 primary Schools, 520,000 students, 16,000 supervisors, 155 Green Flag labelled schools and 36 schools certified silver and 46 bronze participate in the program.
– **Young Reporters for the Environment program: present in 30 Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) member countries, 20,000 middle and high school students participate in the Young Reporters for the Environment (JRE) program in Morocco, including 161 works awarded at national competitions and 21 in the international competition. A total of 8,000 supervisors accompanied these students.