6 January 2013

Morocco: Climate Change - Morocco Moves From Research to Action

Rabat, Morocco — A national seminar about "Promoting Adaptive Communities' Capacity around Small Dams in Morocco Using the Eco-health Approach" project closed a four year Research Action program.

This project was implemented in the south of Morocco, areas which are vulnerable to climate change mainly because of water availability. Ait lhaj A., project coordinator said that in mountainous areas, poor communities are more exposed to climate change effects.

To improve communities' adaptation capacity, many options were implemented, such as small dams. They contribute to rainwater harvesting, replenishment of the water table, flood control and, more importantly, improvement of water availability for rural communities. However, these benefits must be considered in relation to potential health risks.

Recognizing that adaptation must be integrative, practical and implemented locally, the seminar focused on: (i) Exchanging and sharing of knowledge recently developed on the issue of adaptation with different actors and stakeholders (ii) Exploring the ways and challenges to a roadmap on "Adaptation to Climate Change in Practice" for the benefit of vulnerable communities and ecosystems.

The different speakers learned lessons in different areas of Morocco. All of them confirmed that climate change affected all communities' assets.

Mr. Mimouni showed that at community level the learning process, including the testing of various technical and institutional options, highlights the need to involve local and regional stakeholders to optimize results impact.

Water management is an important issue as it was showed by Mr Wifaya and Pr. Berrada from the Al Akhawain University. In fact, drip irrigation can save more than 45% of irrigation water.

On the other hand, agriculture diversification through new cash crop introduction, such as saffron, local product promotion, such as cactus pears fruit processing and thyme marketing improve significantly farm income.

At organizational level women's cooperative promoted local products and improved income as Showed by Dr Bouzoubaa Z. from INRA.

Community member's empowerment, through training, provided more capacity to build partnerships to support implementing and disseminating the options tested.

Mr Akdouh O., NGO president, stressed that the project in Agadir allowed community members to pay special attention to health, water borne diseases, as they are trained and informed about water quality issues.

The participants stressed during a discussion workshop that adaptation should be implemented locally based on scientific results that should easy to access.

The coordination and linkages should be strengthened between research and policy. The integration of climate change perspective and its adaptation in the territorial development planning and implementation are essential.

The identification and implementation of funding mechanisms for adaptation at national and local level are also critical issues.

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