MOROCCO: EIB commits €100m over five years to preserve urban forests

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MOROCCO: EIB commits €100m over five years to preserve urban forests ©EU

In 2024, Morocco will be focusing on the ecotourism sector in order to meet the 15th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG15) by 2030. To support the Moroccan authorities in this endeavour, the European Investment Bank (EIB) is committing €100 million over the next five years to promoting urban forests.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is earmarking €100 million (more than a billion Moroccan dirhams) for the protection of biodiversity in Morocco’s urban environment. The funds, spread over a five-year period from 2024 to 2028, will be used primarily to develop “inclusive and sustainable forests”. According to the Luxembourg-based financial institution, this initiative supports Morocco’s Forest Strategy 2020-2030.

It is being implemented in the Kingdom of Morocco via the National Agency for Water and Forest (ANEF), based in the capital Rabat. The aim of the EIB’s financing is to “manage natural resources sustainably, promote ecotourism and value chains, and improve the socio-economic development of people living in and around forest areas“, according to the bank, which has been headed by Germany’s Werner Hoyer since 2012.

In concrete terms, ANEF will use this funding to restore more than 600,000 hectares of forest, combat soil erosion and regulate water run-off. These various actions will create 27,500 direct jobs and help generate up to 500 million euros a year (around 5.25 billion dirhams) for the ecotourism sector in Moroccan cities.

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In recent years, North Africa’s urban forests have fallen victim to a series of fires, exacerbated by the drought, which have resulted in several plant species going up in flames and the displacement or death of thousands of animals such as Barbary macaques (gossamer monkeys). The last brush fires in August 2023 razed 780 hectares of forest cover in the locality of Maghraoua in the northern region of Fès-Meknès.

Benoit-Ivan Wansi

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