September 27, 2022

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Morocco's oases... a natural treasure that is taxing climate change

Morocco’s oases… a natural treasure that is taxing climate change

and suffer oases Morocco has many crises, the first of which is persistent drought, water scarcity, desertification and sand encroachment, while population pressure, urban sprawl, pollution and subsequent fires are the most important human factors.

Oases play an important role in social organization and ecology MoroccoIt stands as a green belt that prevents desert encroachment and protects the environment.

Located in the eastern and southeastern parts of the country, the Moroccan oases comprise about 15 percent of the kingdom’s population, according to official data, and their area is estimated at about 226,000 square kilometers.

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Environmentalists are calling for the conservation of the oasis ecosystem. Weather changes or the search for solutions that preserve the factors related to human intervention and the central place it has always played in the lives of local people.

Mubarak Ocharft, an environmentalist from the Tata Region (South) and a member of the Moroccan Environmental Movement 2050, says that oases are a human and ecological heritage that needs to be protected, and for this purpose, associations are constantly raising the issue and sticking to it. For the claim that oasis areas should be added to the world human heritage as well as areas of argan trees.

In a statement to “Sky News Arabia”, Ocherft considers today that the oases in Morocco are paying the tax for climate change, in addition to human effects such as fires and population pressure, neglecting the renewal of palm trees and fruit trees, and the depletion of water beds.

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The environmental activist continues that the condition of the oases is deteriorating due to high heat, low rainfall, desertification and increased soil erosion in these fragile ecosystems, as species die out due to hunting and overgrazing.

Ocharft emphasizes that adaptability and suitability are two key characteristics to ensure stability and adaptability in oases, while keen to raise awareness of the role they play in human life, preserve their components, and educate new generations.

Pointing out that the area of ​​oases is decreasing year by year, the speaker emphasizes that neglecting them and continuing the current situation will lead to the destruction of many of their components and lead to the risk of extinction.

Challenges and recommendations

Climate change and the harsh conditions in the desert regions of Morocco have forced many people to migrate to major cities, while others are trying to adapt and change their lifestyles.

Muhammad al-Darwish, head of the Fikr Foundation for Development, Culture and Science, said the local population has been paying the price for the past years, in addition to the weakness of political activity in these areas and the harshness of nature. Difficulty adapting to climate changes.

Al-Darwish, who recently oversaw the organization of the National Seminar on Deserts and Social Transformations, notes the absence of economic structures in those areas known for their promising potential in various sectors, bringing in important investments and providing employment opportunities. youth.

In a statement to “Sky News Arabia”, Darwish called for concerted efforts by all concerned to end the isolation of the oases in Morocco, give them the status they deserve, protect and respect them.

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The civil actor adds that the participants of the symposium on oases and social changes made several recommendations, calling on the government to urgently create the necessary conditions to declare the oasis as a national heritage and to protect Moroccan oases with UN organizations to register. A world heritage.

Al-Darwish continues, “The restoration of all oasis palaces, water fountains and kadars (a traditional technique for irrigating oases) located at the base of oases is due to their clear importance in conserving surface water. Creation of industrial units linked to oase products such as dates, and oasis tourism and industry. Promoting, as well as improving and modernizing agriculture in oases, working on their biodiversity sustainability.

The speaker stressed “the need to find real alternatives to ensure human stability in oases, to face the challenges of living in them and to help its inhabitants adapt to the latest changes in them”.

Protecting and conserving oases

Morocco has launched several projects and initiatives to assess oases and ensure their protection from the threat of disappearance, including the creation of a specialized agency to provide adequate and sustainable development services for oases and argan areas.

As a result of the period between 2012 and 2021, the company signed eight agreements with UNESCO, FAO and German cooperation, and launched seven major projects in the framework of international cooperation aimed at protecting the environment and biodiversity. Adaptability of the sector and population to climate changes, as well as women’s economic empowerment.

A number of projects are being implemented, including a project to adapt to climate changes in oases and another project for agriculture and rehabilitation, funded by a donation to the Adaptation Fund estimated at 90 million dirhams. Ecosystems in oases through an estimated approach of 96 million dirhams from the Global Fund for the Environment.

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For its part, the Ministry of Agriculture, through the Agricultural Development Agency, is working to diversify income sources and improve people’s living conditions by creating a number of programs related to all production chains.

According to Fouad Djaint, Director of Project Management of the Agricultural Development Agency, during the “Oases and Social Transformations” symposium, 94 solidarity farming projects in oasis areas have been completed with an investment cost of more than three billion dirhams. 179,000 beneficiaries with the aim of protecting oases.

Keenet revealed that the ministry is implementing a program to adapt to climate changes in desert areas that was launched in 2015, with an initial funding envelope of more than $9 million provided by the Climate Change Adaptation Fund for 40,000 beneficiaries.