North Africa unites to influence its future

The IUCN North Africa Members Forum took place from 5 to 7 October 2011 in Rabat

IUCN has brought together the main voices concerned with nature conservation in North Africa at the IUCN North Africa Members Forum in Rabat, Morocco. IUCN members and partners reviewed achievements to date and devised a new programme of work.

The approach is more pragmatic, offers clear ecosystem-based solutions to current environmental challenges and can become a reality even with limited financial resources.

“This new priority-setting programme for North Africa feeds on past experience but also looks to a more concerted approach in the future,” says Antonio Troya, Director of IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation.

“We want to offer our members and partners more training and better communication resources to effectively put in place concrete actions and solutions based on nature.”

Working for a sustainable development

National efforts to deal with sustainable development, while creating jobs for people, need governments to take appropriate decisions and reinforce adequate legislation. Also scientists need to fill the gaps on current knowledge and to make it accessible to the world. Society in general has to be aware that their future really depends on conserving nature and it is the responsibility of all of us to contribute to our future.

IUCN is encouraging its members and partners to agree together a common approach to dealing with environmental challenges. With this objective, the signing of a new agreement for the creation of an IUCN national committee in Morocco will strengthen the outreach of conservation activities in the country and merge forces between the government, conservation organisations and scientists.

“ With our new IUCN Morocco National Committee in place we will have a unique voice in the international arena and will join our common efforts to save our Mediterranean biodiversity,” adds Mohammed Ribi, Head of the Department of Parks and Natural Reserves at the High Commission on Water and Forests and the Fight Against Desertificaton in Morocco.

After two days of intense debate amongst representatives from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt, a new document reflecting their concerns will be prepared and submitted to the World Conservation Congress in Jeju in 2012. Though this might seem a long way ahead, an agreed path to sustainability for the region that translates into action is the only way to go.

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