Like the international community, Morocco celebrated, Tuesday, March 21, 2023, the International Day of Forests. This day initiated by the UN is the perfect opportunity to highlight the national will to preserve the forest, a pillar of natural heritage, to ensure its sustainability and to raise awareness of its importance in maintaining the ecological balance.
The celebration of this international day was an opportunity for the National Agency for Water and Forests (ANEF) to highlight a number of its achievements and to share with the general public its various actions in the sustainable management of our forests. In this context, the Agency organized in the province of Khenifra, a set of activities related to the conservation and development of the forest, which is part of the implementation of the strategy “Forests of Morocco 2020- 2030”, launched by King Mohammed VI.
Thus, the day was marked by the signing of an agreement between the ANEF and the Forest Development Organization (ODF) of the Aguelmam Azegza commune which brings together several local associations made up of different users of the forest. This is the 1time agreement signed between the two parties since the launch of the strategy, knowing that more than 30 agreements with ODFs are being prepared.
This agreement is part of the first axis of the “Forests of Morocco 2020-2030” strategy, which plans to reinvent and structure the participatory approach and to ensure the reconciliation of Moroccans with their forest area, with the establishment of a new relationship between forest users, ANEF and local authorities in which the ODFs will play an interface role.
In addition, within the framework of cooperation between Morocco and Canada, the day was an opportunity to sign a cooperation agreement between ANEF and the Canadian Society for International Development Cooperation (SOCODEVI) . This agreement concerns a project aimed at strengthening women’s adaptation to climate change in the Khenifra National Park area with funding of 10 million Canadian dollars.
It was then proceeded to the presentation of the various actions initiated by the ANEF for the preservation and enhancement of the National Park of Khenifra, in particular the action plan of the Park and the ecotourism development of Lake Aguelmam Azegza. This Park was created in 2008, it covers an area of more than 80,000 hectares and is located entirely in the Atlas Cedar Biosphere Reserve (RBCA). These presentations were made in the presence of the various partners of the ANEF, in particular the NGOs working in the field of the promotion of the various ecotourism and sports activities within this National Park.
The celebration of the day was also marked by the launch of the operation of regeneration and reforestation, in particular of cedars and holm oaks, in the region of Khenifra. This operation, which covers an area of 1,300 hectares, is scheduled for the period 2023-2027. It is planned, in this context, compensation for the protection of the local user populations of nearly 5.5 million DH.
Finally, this day shed light on the efforts made by the various actors involved in raising awareness of the preservation and enhancement of natural resources at the regional level, namely the Association of Teachers of Life Sciences and the Earth (AESVT) and the associative network of the Atlas Cedar Biosphere Reserve (RCBA). The network, made up of 15 local associations, aims to make the biosphere a space for reconciling economic and social development and the preservation of natural resources.