Tangier-based environmentalist Hajar Khamlichi also believes adapting to climate change and solving the water issue is possible. Some Moroccan programmes are encouraging steps in the right direction, she says, including the use of sewage treatment plants to treat water for irrigation, the building of new dams and the desalination of seawater powered by renewable energy. “There are still policies in place and a vision,” she says.
Khamlichi, the president and co-founder of the Mediterranean Youth Climate Network, which brings together different organisations of young people from Mediterranean countries, believes that mounting climate challenges in Morocco must be met head-on. “There is a lot of work to do and the challenges are great,” she says. “As time goes, we notice more problems, but we are also coming up with solutions.”
Rachid Ennassiri, a Moroccan environmentalist, founded the Moroccan Youth Center for Sustainable Energy in 2018. This national organisation counts among its members people from the region of Ouarzazate in the south, where many of the mega-projects, including the Noor plant, are located. Over the years, Ennassiri has worked on several climate change initiatives, including a project that aimed to make mosques more sustainable by using solar panels.
Morocco cannot simply continue to follow its initial plan for expanding renewables, Ennassiri says. “2021 is not 2009,” he says, referring to the date of Morocco’s first plan to cut carbon emissions and curb the reliance on fossil fuels. “In order to increase renewables, major reforms must be made.”