There has been significant progress in the implementation of the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment’s Air Quality Program, started in January 2002. Thus, the Program’s second phase was launched during a ceremony held in Mohammedia in February 2006. This was also an opportunity to take stock of what has been achieved since the project was first started, and to determine the broad lines of action for the continuation and expansion of the Program to support government action through outreach and education activities, in addition to ensuring proper networking of the stakeholders involved.
A working visit to the National Meteorology Directorate in Casablanca has shown that this operation is carried out in accordance with standard scientific practices. This process is therefore likely to be sustainable and help decision-makers take the measures required in pollution peak situations. Also involved in the operation are
several means and tools needed to enhance public awareness and support government action in this field.
The pertinence and consolidation of air quality assessment measures constitute a major step in gauging the impact of air quality on people’s health. Considering the public authorities’ keen desire to ensure environment protection for the benefit of current and future generations, the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of
the Environment has decided to support this action by rallying economic players to assist with the setting up of a sustainable environmental and epidemiological surveillance and assessment system of air quality-related risks in urban areas. This system is meant to provide decision-makers with an efficient tool for assessment, management and planning.
In this regard, a partnership agreement between the Foundation, the Ministry of Health, the State Secretariat for Water Resources and the Environment and the Wilaya of the Greater Casablanca is expected to be signed to assess the impact of air pollution on health, and to set up a system for environmental and epidemiological surveillance. Thanks to data provided by monitoring stations, the project will make it possible to update and – more importantly – complete impact studies started in the Greater Casablanca region between 1999 and 2001.
Like all projects initiated by the Foundation, the Air Quality Program is being implemented on a partnership basis involving government agencies, economic players and civil society to ensure project success and sustainability. As for the Foundation’s role, it consists in bringing the stakeholders together and facilitating action to create the momentum needed to upgrade the industrial facilities concerned, within the framework of the Clean Production Program of CGEM, a founding member of the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment.
Needless to say, this encourages us to bolster our partnership with economic players and to seek to ensure its sustainability through an agreement within the framework of CGEM designed to induce CGEM members to sensitize all of their employees as well as their subcontractors to endorse and promote civic measures across the country, by choosing the best actions to be supported.
These programs, like other projects initiated by the Foundation, will be accompanied by information and awareness-raising campaigns to encourage youths to integrate sustainable development into their daily behaviour. Thus, the Eco-Schools Program, which aims to enhance environmental awareness among children as early as primary school level, is carried out in partnership with economic players who provide financial support as well as expertise in program preparation.
The proposed convention with CGEM will further strengthen these ties and enable schoolchildren to visit industrial facilities involved in Clean Production.
These are the actions we wish to initiate in the early part of 2009 in order to further strengthen awareness and education campaigns in schools and at grass roots level, and encourage more companies to subscribe to this vision.
Given the success of the Foundation’s partnerships with private and public economic operators, we can be optimistic as to the accomplishment of the overall awarenessraising and education mission entrusted to us all by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God be with him.
Our partners deserve warm words of praise. They should also be encouraged to persevere, for the road ahead is still a long one before each one of us realizes the immensity of the services nature renders us, the fragile balance of the ecosystems on which we depend, and the benefits we can derive from this new approach.
Wassalmu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.