Speaking at a high-level panel chaired by the Ambassador Permanent Representative of Morocco to the UN, Omar Hilale, with the participation in virtual format, the Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests, Mohamed Sadiki, the UN official stressed that the “important” strategies put in place by Morocco have given a strong impetus to the sector of the argan tree which contributes to the socio-economic development of local populations.
The sustainable development of the argan sector has enabled the creation of jobs, empowerment and financial inclusion of women, especially in rural areas, she said, noting that cooperatives and community organizations active in this sector contribute to food security and poverty eradication, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Amina Mohammed has also noted that the celebration of this international day allows to raise awareness and appreciate the vital role that the argan tree plays in the lives of millions of people, in addition to its benefits for sustainability and health. She has, in this regard, stressed the need to preserve this “precious and vital” source of nature, and its endemic region.
Agreeing in the same vein, the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Qu Dongyu, said via videoconference from Rome, that the International Day of the Argan Tree is a celebration of the efforts of Morocco to preserve and promote this tree as “ancestral source of resilience and sustainable development.
He also highlighted the importance of Moroccan expertise in this sector which contributes to food security, preservation of ecological habitats and maintenance of biodiversity and resilient ecosystems, saying that the management by Morocco of its argan forests is a “model” to follow in the world to understand the best way to “reconcile sustainable use of natural resources and needs of humanity.
He considered “essential” to continue to learn from traditional socio-ecological systems of argan to achieve an effective transformation of agri-food systems for both people and the planet.
For his part, the director of the UNESCO office in New York, Eliot Minchenberg welcomed the celebration of this international day that highlights a “miracle tree” and its ecosystem, stressing that the argan tree is an essential component of sustainability whose resilience should serve as a source of inspiration for the world. For him, the argan tree and its ecological system contribute to sustainable development, biodiversity, climate adaptation and food security.
The same is true for Moaz Doraid, Director of the Division of Management and Administration at UN-Women, who noted the importance of the argan tree in generating income and improving socio-economic conditions, especially in rural communities.
He expressed the willingness of UN-Women to strengthen its cooperation with Morocco especially to further promote the contribution of women to prosperity and environmental sustainability. The UN official also welcomed the efforts of Morocco to align socio-economic development with the preservation of biodiversity.
For her part, the director of the country programming division of the Green Climate Funds, Carolina Fuentes highlighted the partnership between Morocco and the Fund, particularly in the context of efforts to preserve the argan tree and its ecosystem.
Stressing the importance of this emblematic tree in the history and culture of Morocco, the speaker paid tribute to the contribution of women in the preservation of know-how related to the argan sector.
At the beginning of this panel, the audience watched an institutional film tracing the efforts made by Morocco to preserve the argan tree and promote its sustainable development for the benefit of local populations.
In commemoration of this day celebrated on May 10 each year, a two-week photo exhibition highlighting the argan tree was inaugurated at the United Nations headquarters in New York.
The photos, which are the work of Said Oubrahim and Fadel Brahim, give an overview of the specificities of this tree, which is part of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity and is an ancestral source of sustainable and resilient development.
Similarly, a reception was held in honor of the community of ambassadors and officials of the United Nations system, to taste the products of the Argan and discover the offer of local Moroccan cooperatives.