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Speech of HM the King

His Majesty King Mohammed VI, May God Assist him, on Monday translated a speech at the Summit of Heads of State and Government on Drought and Sustainable Land Management, which is being held in Abidjan.

Here is the full text of the Royal speech, which was read by the Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Waters and Forests, Mr. Mohamed Sadiki.

“Mr. President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, Dear Brother,

Ladies and Gentlemen Heads of State and Government,

Distinguished High Representatives of International and Regional Organizations,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

First of all, I would like to congratulate My brother, His Excellency Mr. Alassane Dramane OUATTARA, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, for the successful organization of this Summit on Drought and Sustainable Land Management, on the sidelines of the 15th session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

This laudable initiative of Our Auguste Hôte is the determined face of a concrete mobilization in the face of the problem of drought which, in our African continent more than elsewhere, constitutes a structural challenge. It is also the dazzling reflection of this Africa that is so dear to us: an enterprising Africa, which takes its destiny into its own hands.

Climate change is not a theoretical subject or an object of rhetorical debate. It is a harsh and relentless reality, which is rife with increasingly developed, increasingly intense and increasingly devastating droughts.

The recurrence of drought episodes and the rate of soil degradation have really turned into a major challenge. Over the past twenty years, they have impacted more than 1.5 billion people worldwide, and resulted in more than $124 billion in economic losses.

In Africa, millions of hectares are threatened by desertification due to the advance of the desert, which progresses in certain regions at a rate of 5 km per year. Or, land degradation is a vulnerability multiplier.

Along with environmental security, food security, human security and security “in general” are at stake. A land lost to life is a land won over to insecurity. We see them, the areas in the grip of an extreme degradation of environmental conditions, are very often also those where conflicts break out, where populations are displaced and where terrorist and separatist groups seek to infiltrate.

Mister President,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is clear that climate change, water resources are becoming scarce, populations are growing, cities are expanding and agricultural land is triggered and degraded.

We are resolutely determined to lead the fight against this common enemy, through coordinated and united action. Several flagship regional initiatives, adapted to African realities, contribute to the emergence of African resilience to drought.

We welcome, in this regard, the Abidjan Initiative, which will sanction the work of Our Summit. We hope that it will be the platform for sustained and practical mobilization, in order to translate political commitments into concrete actions. In this sense, we call for the establishment of a true African alliance against desertification, with adequate financial and technological resources suitable for effective action.

Because, alongside the conventional deadline of COP.15 on desertification, the Abidjan Summit provides a logic of action, which is welcome. Against drought and land degradation, Our conviction is made. The time has indeed come to speed up the implementation of operational programs to combat desertification, within the framework of concrete, pragmatic and reinforced regional cooperation.

We are pleased that the Abidjan Initiative is part of the continuity of the momentum given by the African Summit of Action in favor of continental co-emergence, which We organized in Marrakech on the sidelines of the COP. .22 on the climate. The complementarity is, indeed, perfect between the Abidjan Initiative, and the three Climate Commissions for Africa resulting from the Marrakech Summit of 2016: the Congo Basin Commission; the Sahel Region Commission; and Island States Commission. The Abidjan initiative also resonates with the Triple A Initiative for Adapted African Agriculture, and the 3S Initiative for Sustainability, Stability and Security in Africa.

Mister President,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The fight against climate change is not only a matter of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, but also of sustainable land management. Our fight involves a commitment on several fronts, in particular those of the preservation of ecosystems, the safeguarding of biodiversity and the alleviation of the precariousness of vulnerable populations.

We are undertaking these efforts with determination at regional and international levels, each time with a national application.

Thus, Morocco, which hosted COP.22, is also the one which has revised its National Determined Contribution upwards to a 45.5% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030. he adaptation and mitigation that we defend internationally, are also those that we carry at the national level, in order to provide our country with an inclusive and sustainable management model. The “Forests of Morocco 2020-2030” and “Green Generation 2020-2030” strategies contribute to the objective of reversing the process of land degradation, reducing the extent of desertification and mitigating its effects, for human and social development.

At the intersection of Our commitment to the fight against drought, the safeguarding of biodiversity and the preservation of ecosystems, is also Our resolution to preserve and protect the essential resource for life: water.

The “National Water Plan” that We have put in place serves the objective of ensuring water security and the necessary water resources, in quantity and quality. For its part, the New Development Model that We have initiated places the preservation and promotion of water resources among the priorities of a development model that is as anchored in the present as it is turned towards the future.

And, because the water sector is vital, the “Hassan II World Water Grand Prix” is both a place for global conscience prizes and a prestigious space for emulation where innovative, sustainable solutions compete. and integrated to carry the cause of water.

Mister President,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

The fight against desertification and land degradation is characterized by an existential struggle, which concerns everyone, and Africa, with singular acuity. This fight must not be stymied either by the absence of technological capacities, or by the lack of economic resources, or – even less – by a lack of political will.

Reduce vulnerabilities to drought; build capacity for sustainable land management; to converge regional and international efforts; allow the deployment of specific solutions and control water stress – these must be the front lines of our fight against desertification; a fight for everyone, and at all times”.


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