Conducted by Aisha Khan, CEO, MGPO

Q. How well is Morocco prepared to host COP22?

A: I am pleased to answer questions evocated in your interview. I thank you very much and  seize this opportunity to shed some  light on the efforts provided by the Kingdom of Morocco to organize the 22nd  session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change scheduled to take place in Marrakech in Morocco  from 7th to 18th November 2016.
Obviously Morocco is fully involved in preparing for this great international event and it is working relentlessly to host it successfully. In this regard, I would like to recall that Morocco had hosted in 2001 the 7th United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Marrakech, during which legal translation of the implementing rules of the Kyoto Protocol, creating an ad hoc committee of observance, financial and technical resources were made available to developing countries.

COP22 to be convened after the Paris Agreement will be a litmus test for climate diplomacy. In this sense, parties will begin preparations for entry into force of the Paris Agreement. So Morocco wants this Conference of the Parties to be action-oriented.

Q.  How many people are expected to attend the conference?

A: The World Climate Conference (COP22) will see the participation of between 25,000 and 30,000 people, according to what is stated by the Moroccan Minister for Environment, including 8,000 delegates from civil society, 1,500 journalists and deputies from around the world.

Q.  How much effort has Morocco put in toward highlighting the importance of climate change and the need for seeking solutions acceptable to all?

A: Since last December, when Marrakech was chosen to host the COP22 in November, Morocco has been laboring constantly. For it, the challenge is not only environmental, it is also diplomatic, economic and image.
Making COP22 a successful event is the great challenge for the Kingdom of Morocco in 2016. Even before the COP21 of Paris and its agreement of 12 December 2015, Morocco participated in many international meetings, like the Warsaw conference negotiations (COP19, 2013) and Lima (COP20, 2014).
Other significant episodes: September 20, 2015, H.M. King Mohammed VI, and President Hollande signed the "Call of Tangier," a joint statement "for a united and strong action on climate."

Q. How do you view the Paris Agreement?

A: Adopted by 196 parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) last December in Paris. I think that the Paris Climate Agreement is a remarkable and ambitious international agreement on climate change never signed by such a large number of states before. However, many steps remain to be taken, fortunately several positive early signs bode well, we could mention that just now 61 Countries accounting for close to 48 percent of emissions have joined Agreement among them China the biggest emitter of greenhouse gas in the world, with 24% of the world total, ahead of the U.S. (17.9%).

Q. What are the major adaptation and mitigation concerns and challenges faced by Morocco and how does your country propose to address these? What is Morocco’s contribution towards global warming as an emitter?

A: I think that risks which threaten Morocco are water scarcity, global warming, desertification, deforestation.
To respond to these challenges, in June 2015, the kingdom was one of the first countries to announce its contribution to the fight against climate change in view of the COP21, pledging to achieve a reduction of at least 13%, compared to 2010, its emissions of greenhouse gas by 2030.
To reach these targets, Morocco launched an ambitious program in the field of renewable energies, explaining that the fixed national objective of 42 % for the share of renewable energies, as a response to the needs of the country in 2020, is now taken to 52 % for the horizon 2030. Morocco has also launched a non-polluting rail project through its own fast shuttle train - TGV which will be operational in few years.

Q. Do women play an important role in decision making at the political and bureaucratic levels to influence policy?

A: Morocco’s women’s movement has succeeded in communicating the need for improved rights for women. So they have been able to drive change from inside the establishment and make the most of opportunities, to be partners and actors in most fields of activities, and to be associated in making decisions , developing and implementing policies in economics, social, cultural policies either as an official, senior official, voter, elected parliamentarian, minister, adviser to the king; ambassador; governor.

Q. How aware is the common person in Morocco with regard to climate change and how active is civil society on this subject?

A: Most of Moroccan people primarily those living in rural areas are very aware of the impact of climate change and threats of drought and water scarcity and disturbed cycles of rainfall that threaten agriculture, flora and fauna. So they expect an action for a rational management of their ecosystems, a protection of their rural heritage and the improvement of the living conditions of the populations.

Q. Is security a major concern for organizers of COP22?

A: Yes obviously, so Morocco will mobilise 10,000 police officers to be on duty during COP22 to ensure the security of the event. The officers were selected and will undergo special training. The training focuses on skills development, weight training, and new technology to ensure the safety of guests

Q. France campaigned with “Agenda of Solutions” for COP21. Does Morocco have a campaign slogan for COP22?

A: The slogan is “The Action and Concrete Projects”. Morocco intends to take this opportunity to highlight its commitment to the climate. According to the Moroccan Ministry for Environment, this conference will be "one of adaptation and innovation in mitigating the effects of climate change" and "the opportunity to develop operational tools as part of the Paris-Lima plan and now Paris-Marrakech" plan.

Q.  As host of COP22 is there any message that you would like to share with the readers?

A: At the end of this interview, I would like to recall that as His Majesty King Mohammed 6 said in one of his speeches, “True to a longstanding tradition, the Kingdom of Morocco will show its solidarity with those who are most vulnerable or threatened by climate change. Throughout its presidency, Morocco will devote special attention to Island States, to Africa and, more generally, to all developing countries”.