The “Clean Beaches” operation started in 1999, when His Majesty the King, may God protect him, who makes the preservation of the environment one of his top priorities, set up the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment and entrusted me with chairing it. Four main programs of action have been defined since:
“ Clean Beaches ”, “Environmental Education”, “ Flowery Cities ” and “Clean Air”. Thanks to the efforts made in conjunction with our partners, we have managed to monitor the conditions prevailing in our beaches. We have thus made field visits to take stock of the facilities available and of the measures taken to ensure the safety and security of vacationers. These visits also enabled us to note certain shortcomings in some of our beaches, and to make comments and offer recommendations. Beach sponsors earmarked substantial funds to build the necessary infrastructure, including public conveniences, access to beaches, parking lots, lighting, availability of safety equipment and facilities, such as speedboats, observation towers and all equipments needed by lifeguards, in addition to organizing awareness-raising operations, through the use of banners and posters urging cleanliness, as well as holding sports, cultural and entertainment activities.
Thanks to these measures, our beaches have witnessed noticeable improvements which have been greatly appreciated by holyday-makers. As a result of these efforts, the Casablanca Aïn Diab beach and the Essaouira beach have been awarded the “Blue Flag” eco label which rewards, each year, the communes and marinas which seek to preserve the quality and safety of the environment.
This international recognition is the result of committed action and close cooperation between various partners. Throughout the world, the blue flag distinction is perceived as one of the main criteria which determine the selection of beach destinations; it also has a positive impact on both local and foreign tourists. This recognition is, therefore, an important accomplishment for our country, which boasts many tourist attractions, including a great diversity of beach environments along two coastlines.
Bringing the “Blue Flag” eco label to Morocco has not been an easy task; nor should it be an end in itself. In fact, we want all our beaches to meet the international standards required by the “Blue Flag” distinction. The Foundation therefore intends to continue to work hard towards this objective, by supervising the implementation of the “Clean Beaches” program, and by actively seeking to achieve coordination between the partners involved, encouraging them to pursue and expand the dedicated efforts they have been making in the field.
Ladies and Gentlemen, The partnership arrangements governing the cooperation between the Foundation on one hand, and the local governments and sponsors, on the other, will expire this year. I believe we should use this opportunity to think carefully about where we stand, and to draw up an ambitious, effective programme of action, building on the valuable experience we have gained over the last three years.
Our program must include the areas that are of interest to us, such as spatial occupation, cleanliness and management of facilities, safety of marine-based sports, problem of discharges into the sea, and degradation of certain beaches as a result of abusive sand-quarrying activities.
These issues will continue to be addressed by committees in which all the partners concerned are represented, so as to assess the work done and propose suitable solutions to protect our coastline. The fruitful cooperation started, in 2003, with the Moroccan national scouting federation, and in 2004 with the Moroccan national yachting federation, can rightly be considered a model experience. This cooperation will be pursued and enhanced. It will also be expanded to local associations which, because of geographical proximity, can play a key role in ensuring the implementation of the programs started will continue.
Our ambitious project will no doubt contribute to the development of tourism and help us upgrade our beach resorts by the year 2010, the date set for attracting as many tourists to the Kingdom as possible.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Before concluding, I should like to extend my sincere thanks to all the partners and stakeholders who have been contributing to the Foundation’s action, especially the government agencies and private companies who have answered the 1999 El Jadida appeal. I also thank the local authorities, elected officials, the Local Governments Division and the other administrative services concerned, for the contributions they have been making to ensure the safety and comfort of vacationers.
My thanks also go to the Moroccan national scouting federation, the Moroccan national yachting federation and to local associations for the part they have played in raising awareness about the need to protect the environment.
I should like to thank all those involved, on behalf of the families who have enjoyed the pleasures of the seaside in a safe and healthy environment. I call on all our economic partners and on the associations concerned to continue working with the Foundation in this endeavour in order to ensure our beaches are both clean and popular.
I should like to pay tribute to our partners for the efforts they are making, and to congratulate, once again, those who have been rewarded this year for the commendable work they have done. I pray that Almighty God grant us success and help us contribute to our country’s development, under the wise leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.