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HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa Underlines in Monaco Morocco’s Firm Commitment to Africa, as Part of Ocean Decade

Morocco is firmly committed, within the framework of the Ocean Decade, to cooperation across Africa, as advocated by His Majesty King Mohammed VI in person, stressed, on Wednesday in Monaco, HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa, president of the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection and patron of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development Alliance.

“Indeed, Africa needs substantial and massive support. That is why we are striving to jointly undertake and share concrete steps towards successful sustainable development on a continental scale. We are also taking action on behalf of Africa, its young people and the countries of the South as a whole. Their resilience should be strengthened in the face of the threats of climate change that affect the entire African population,” stressed Her Royal Highness in her address to the high-level opening segment of the 3rd edition of the Foundations Dialogue for the Ocean Decade.

This commitment was reiterated in the Bouknadel Declaration, presented at the United Nations Ocean Conference, held in Lisbon in 2022, and will be reaffirmed at the Barcelona Conference scheduled for 2024, Her Royal Highness told participants at this meeting, the second edition of which was organized by Morocco in 2022, at the Hassan II International Center for Environmental Training in Bouknadel.

HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa called for determined and swift action to protect the coastal strips of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans from rising sea levels and pollution, noting that this appeal concerns the whole of Africa.

On the occasion of the third edition of Foundations Dialogue, which the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation is hosting this year, Her Royal Highness welcomed the fact that the North and South shores are engaged in a two-way interactive dynamic, so that “Our Mare Nostrum is asserting itself as a vector of unity, rather than a dividing line”.

Her Royal Highness stressed that the aim of this gathering was to ensure the success of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development, recalling that as a founding member of the Alliance, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection was associated with this initiative launched by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission.

“If we are gathered here today, it is to work for the Decade, because we are in line with the mission we have set ourselves. In fact, we have always believed that action is the most efficient way to ensure the triumph of the Causes we defend”, said HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa.

She added that, under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Morocco has been implementing the “Clean Beaches” program since 2001, pointing out that, in addition to the Blue Flag project, Morocco has successfully rehabilitated the Marchica lagoon on the Mediterranean coast.

This exceptional natural site, once condemned to asphyxiation by effluent, is now in such a good phase of regeneration that oyster farming has been reintroduced, said Her Royal Highness.

“From now on, the Decade will include two programs that have been carried out for years, namely the ‘Clean Beaches’ program and the ‘Sustainable Coastline’ Awards. The first recognizes and rewards concrete actions carried out in Morocco, notably in terms of improving beach cleanliness, creating artificial reefs for fry populations, setting up mobile purification stations and promoting scientific research on algae. The second program, entitled #bharblaplastic or #beachwithoutplastic is deployed during the summer season and aims to raise awareness of the need to clean up the oceans by eliminating plastic waste,” noted HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa.

Her Royal Highness emphasized that the #bharblaplastic campaign involved collecting and reprocessing waste using the circular economy approach, adding that this large-scale campaign had raised the awareness of millions of young people, adults, companies, associations, researchers and coastal communities.

“Currently, we are in the process of introducing a third program in line with the Decade’s objectives”, which aims, among other things, to support the university student community in developing knowledge of the ocean, said Her Royal Highness, noting that this project is dedicated to the entire African continent.

In collaboration with the Hassan II International Center for Environmental Training, training resources, mainly online, have been developed that the Kingdom intends to mobilize for the benefit of the Decade, noted HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa, recalling the launch, four years earlier, as part of Morocco’s actions in favor of Africa, of the African Youth Climate Hub, which is meant to involve young people, provide training via an online platform and, as an incubator, support various projects.

The high-level opening segment of this 3rd Foundations Dialogue for the Ocean Decade, co-organized by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the Albert II of Monaco Foundation, featured speeches by His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, UNESCO director-general Audrey Azoulay, HRH Princess Hala Bint Khaled Bin Sultan and vice-president and managing director of the Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Olivier Wenden.

On this occasion, the torch was passed from the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection, which held the second edition of the Foundations Dialogue for the Ocean Decade, to the Albert II of Monaco Foundation, which is organizing this third edition.

Gathered together for three days, some twenty international foundations are looking at ways of supporting, particularly financially, the actions already underway within the framework of this decade, and those yet to be launched, in order to achieve the objectives by 2030.

In its role as a founding member of the Ocean Decade Alliance and the Ocean Decade working group in Africa and adjacent island states, the Mohammed VI Foundation for Environmental Protection has, since the first edition of these dialogues, acted as the voice of the South and of Africa to obtain the necessary means to deploy the Decade in countries lacking sufficient resources, but particularly exposed to climate change and its consequences on the oceans.

At the second edition, held in Morocco under the aegis of the Hassan II International Center for Environmental Training, participants jointly promulgated the Bouknadel Declaration, a call for action and international financial solidarity. Implementation of the Bouknadel Declaration was the focus of the 3rd Dialogue in Monte Carlo.

The Ocean Decade, which began on January 1, 2021, is a global initiative to deepen scientific knowledge of the sea and protect ocean health.

On her arrival at the Mediterranean Garden of the Monte-Carlo Bay Hotel & Resort, which hosted the opening of this event, HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa was greeted by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and the vice-president and managing director of the Albert II of Monaco Foundation, Olivier Wenden, before being greeted by HRH Princess Hala Bint Khaled Bin Sultan and the director-general of UNESCO.

Her Royal Highness then posed for the official photo of the 3rd Foundations Dialogue.

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