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July 23, 2003 : Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, chaired on Sunday 27 July 2003 the Foundation’s headquarters.

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Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa, President of the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, chaired on Sunday 27 July 2003 at 4 pm at the Foundation’s headquarters in the presence of:

- Mr. Mohamed El Yazghi – Mr. Karim Ghallab – Mr. M'hamed El Morabit – Mr. Hassan Lamrani – Mr. Othman Benjelloun:
The signing ceremony relevant to two partnership agreements:

The first one between the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment the Local Authorities’ General Directorate, and the BMCE/BANK Foundation for the Protection of the Environment  , for restoration of the Bouknadel exotic gardens;

 

The second one between the Fondation pour l’Education et l’Environnement and the Ministry of Equipment and Transport, for building of the crossroads on National Highway No. 1 between Rabat and Tangiers for access to the gardens.

 

Located 20 km from Rabat bound for Kenitra; the Bouknadel Exotic Gardens were created in 1951 over an area of 4.5 ha by Mr. Marcel Francois, a French horticultural engineer who turned it into a project of exceptional quality classified among the wonders of its kind.

•The site which attracts many visitors (57,000 in 2001) unfortunately has deteriorated over the years despite the efforts put forth by the Green Areas Division of the Ministry of Interior. If nothing is done this could wind up in the loss of the exotic nature so characteristic of its richness and particular specificity.

•Based on studies conducted by a group of architects and landscape architects and funded by ONMT through its partnership with the Foundation, a project phase has been identified and will be funded by the Fondation BMCE/BANK pour l’éducation et l’environnement, a project partner.

•Given the desire of Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa, to rehabilitate the gardens in the spirit of their founder, Mr. Marcel François, turning it into an educational and internationally recognized center, a series of measures has been taken to ensure the project’s success outlined by Her Royal Highness, including:

 

  • Acquisition of land adjacent to the gardens with an area of 4 hectares dedicated to the media library, the arboretum, an educational farmhouse and a restaurant establishment for visitors. In addition, plans are afoot for the setting up, by late November 2003, of an independent and smoothly run management system.
  • Contact was established with the embassies of countries already represented at the Gardens (China, Japan, Brazil, Mexico, France, Congo Brazzaville) to establish specific scientific cooperation, develop species adapted to the climate and forge partnerships with other exotic gardens across the world.
  • Establishment of a scientific committee overseen by the Institut Agronomique et Vétérinaire Hassan II to promote research and build a network of contacts and cooperation with other gardens and National Parks.
  • Together with these endeavors is safety for the approaches to the gardens through the implementation of a parking space and building of a crossroads by the Ministry of Equipment and Transport for safe access by visitors.

By promoting the rehabilitation of the Bouknadel Exotic Gardens and the scientific development thereof, the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, with backing from its partners, offers a top quality space for visitors and is part of the drive for upgrading of our policy regarding Morocco’s cultural heritage and the promotion of tourism.

 

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