ECE Environmental Performance Reviews Series

2412-107X (online)
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An Environmental Performance Review (EPR) is an assessment of the progress a country has made in reconciling its environmental and economic targets and in meeting its international environmental commitments. The EPR Programme assists countries to improve their environmental management and performance; promotes information exchange among countries on policies and experiences; helps integrating environmental policies into economic sectors; promotes greater accountability to the public and strengthens cooperation with the international community.
Environmental Performance Reviews: Morocco

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04 June 2014
9789210565172 (PDF)

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The present publication contains the Environmental Performance Review of Morocco. This report also covers 13 issues of importance to the country related to policymaking, planning and implementation, the financing of environmental policies and projects, and the integration of environmental concerns into economic sectors, in particular agriculture, energy, health, industry, biodiversity and protected areas, water and waste management. The Morocco review was notable as it is the first country outside of the region to request an EPR from ECE, and the process was undertaken in cooperation with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). The publication is aimed at officials and experts working for public authorities responsible for environmental policy, representatives of civil society, the business community, academia and the media.

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  • Foreword
    In 1993, Environmental Performance Reviews (EPRs) of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) were initiated at the second Environment for Europe Ministerial Conference, in Lucerne, Switzerland. They were intended to cover the ECE member States that are not members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Subsequently, the ECE Committee on Environmental Policy decided to make them part of its regular programme. Since then, the Ministers affirmed their support for the EPR Programme, and decided in 2003 that the Programme should continue with a second cycle of reviews, and lately they formally endorsed the third cycle of reviews in 2011.
  • Preface
    The EPR of Morocco began in February 2012 with a preparatory mission. During this mission, the structure of the review report was discussed and the time schedule established. A review mission took place on 7-14 November 2012. The review team included experts from France, Portugal and Switzerland, together with experts from the ECE Secretariat and experts provided by ECA and UNEP.
  • Key abbreviations
  • Signs and measures
  • Currency conversion table
  • Executive summary
    The Environmental Performance Review (EPR) of Morocco began in 2012. It analyses the progress made by the country from 2003 on environmental protection, and proposes recommendations on how Morocco can improve its environmental management and address recurrent environmental challenges.
  • Introduction
    The Kingdom of Morocco is located in North Africa. The country has a great range of elevation, from the highest point of Jebel Toubkal, which rises to 4,165 m, to the lowest point of Sebkha Tah, 55 m below sea level. A large part of Morocco is mountainous. The Atlas Mountains, running from the south-west to the north-east, are mainly located in the centre and south of the country and form a backbone of the country. The Rif Mountains are located in the north, stretching from the north-west to the north-east over the region bordering the Mediterranean Sea. Most of the southeast portion of the country is sparsely populated as part of the Sahara Desert.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Policymaking, planning and implementation

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    • Policymaking framework for environmental protection and sustainable development
      Before 2003, most of the early programmes on environmental protection in Morocco were very general and primarily addressed water management issues. Since 2003, however, Morocco has put in place the foundations for a more diversified environmental protection policy and is increasingly placing emphasis on matters of sustainable development.
    • Compliance and enforcement mechanisms and evaluation of their effectiveness
      Morocco has several “historical layers” of environmental regulation and went through several phases of institution-building. Some of the legal acts relevant for environmental management date back to 1914, even though most of the legal framework has been gradually updated since the mid-1990s. The resulting mix of obsolete and relatively modern legal acts poses problems of consistency and general applicability. While most of the principal instruments for environmental compliance assurance (such as environmental assessment, permitting, compliance monitoring, enforcement and compliance promotion) are available, capacity for their implementation remains limited. Efforts are made in Morocco to address capacity problems and adopt strategic planning that would allow for a more effective use of available resources.
    • Environmental monitoring, information and education
      The network for stationary monitoring of air quality was established in Morocco in 2003. It included two pilot stations in Casablanca-Mohammedia. Since 2005, the monitoring network has been continuously i proving. In November 2012, the national air quality monitoring network included 29 automatic stations in 15 cities and four mobile laboratories.
    • Economic instruments for environment and expenditures for environmental protection
      Morocco is a middle-income country with a population estimated at 32.5 million in 2012, up by 3 million compared with 2003. Although Morocco’s economic growth has been adversely affected by the global economic crisis in 2008–2009, its economic performance over the past decade was, overall, positive. Real gross domestic product (GDP) rose at an average annual rate of 4.6 per cent during 2003– 2011. Real GDP per capita (in national currency units) rose by about 35 per cent over the same period. Inflation has remained very moderate with an average annual rate of just below 2 per cent, although this partly also reflects sizeable government subsidies designed to shield domestic prices of some foodstuffs and energy products from price hikes in international commodity markets. The unemployment rate has been relatively stable at around 9 per cent in recent years. The poverty headcount ratio at the national poverty line corresponded to 8.8 per cent of the population in 2008, which suggests that there is a sizeable segment of the population that is economically and socially vulnerable.
    • Implementation of international agreements and commitments
      Morocco is a party to over 100 multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) on environmental protection and sustainable development (annex I). It has developed a legal and policy framework in order to implement its commitments under MEAs. The laws and regulations adopted in recent years are mainly based on the provisions and principles contained in MEAs to which Morocco is party. The MEAs also serve in terms of setting the priorities for the country’s international cooperation.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Pollution and natural resource management

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    • Air protection
      Over the period 2003–2012, the population of Morocco increased by 10.4 per cent while its urban population increased by 18 per cent, with a strong urban concentration in coastal zones (94 per cent of the population in Laâyoune-Boujdour-Sakia El Hamra, 92 per cent of that in Grand Casablanca and 83 per cent of that in Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaër is urban). Economic activities, such as energy production and industries, are mostly concentrated in these zones, thus triggering the rapid development of road transport traffic. As a result, in addition to the industrial sector, the transport sector is becoming a main contributor to emissions into air, in particular of sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxide (NOx), particulate matter (PM) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which also produce ozone pollution – a major source of pollution in urban and suburban zones – when exposed to sunlight.
    • Water management
      Morocco has limited potential with respect to water resources and faces substantial challenges in that regard. An uneven distribution of water in space and time is the main feature of the hydrological regime. Yearly precipitation may diverge significantly (almost on a 1:10 ratio) and the same asymmetry may be observed among water basins in the course of the hydrological year. Furthermore, similarly to most Mediterranean countries, Morocco has experienced severe droughts in recent decades with occasional extreme precipitation episodes and disastrous flash floods. The water quality is also questionable.
    • Waste management
      In recent decades, Morocco has experienced strong growth in its urban population and a proliferation of peripheral areas, with a significant increase in access to basic services (of 10 per cent from 2003 to 2011). With population growth, rapid urbanization and changing consumption patterns, production of household waste in Morocco is increasing. This has made more difficult the collection, removal and disposal of household and similar waste. These wastes are often disposed of by wild or spontaneous discharges and dumping without any treatment or control, resulting in serious consequences for public health and the environment.
    • Biodiversity and protected areas
      Morocco has a great diversity of ecosystems because it incorporates a range of climatic and physiographic regions. Five main categories of ecosystems are identified in the country’s 2004 Strategy for the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Biodiversity (Biodiversity Strategy), namely, forest and steppic ecosystems, Saharian ecosystems (e.g. regs and ergs), marine and coastal ecosystems, ecosystems of the continental humid zones, and cave ecosystems. These act as a repository for several species of conservation importance. Morocco is indeed important for biodiversity conservation within the broader area of the Mediterranean Basin, which region is considered to be a biodiversity hotspot.
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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Integration of the environment in health and other sectoral policies

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    • Health and environment
      In its most recent study of the health status of the population, the Ministry of Health of Morocco notes an epidemiologic transition between infectious and chronic diseases. The prevalence of contagious diseases and malnutrition is progressively declining, while non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer and chronic respiratory diseases are on the rise. These changes have resulted in significant increases in national health expenditure and high social costs.
    • Industry and environment
      The industrial sector in Morocco can be subdivided into five main subsectors: (i) food processing industry, (ii) textile and leather industry, (iii) chemical and parachemical industry, (iv) engineering and metallurgic industry and (v) electrical and electronics industry. According to 2011 statistical data, of the total number of enterprises, nearly one third were in the chemical and parachemical branch, just over one quarter in the food processing branch, around one fifth in each of the textile and leather and engineering and metallurgic branches, and only three per cent in the electrical and electronics branch.
    • Energy and environment
      As a developing country, Morocco has a growing demand for energy. Throughout the period 2003– 2011, the total final energy consumption of Morocco steadily increased from 8.2 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2003 to 13.1 Mtoe in 2011 (table 12.1). The total final consumption per capita was also marked by an increase from 0.28 tons of oil equivalent (toe) in 2003 to 0.41 toe in 2011. Even though it has been steadily rising, the level of consumption per capita remains relatively low in comparison with the global average rate of 1.7 toe. However, further consumption growth can be expected as the Moroccan population becomes wealthier.
    • Agriculture and environment
      The agricultural sector’s importance in Morocco is reflected in its share of the country’s GDP and its contribution to employment, especially in rural areas where agriculture remains the leading provider of jobs (74 per cent in 2010) and the main source of income. Over the past 10 years, the average annual agricultural GDP growth rate has been 3.98 per cent. Food exports account for 19 per cent of the country’s total exports. Produce from irrigated areas contributes significantly to agricultural value added.
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