Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; and President, 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22): Interview

Salaheddine Mezouar, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; and President, 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22)

Interview: Salaheddine Mezouar

What are the main objectives of COP22?

SALAHEDDINE MEZOUAR: With the Paris Agreement on Climate Change adopted in December 2015 and signed in April 2016 in New York, the world is now witnessing a new revolution that is impacting our way of thinking, producing and consuming. COP22 aims to be the starting point of the implementation of the Paris Agreement. One of the first priorities of the Moroccan presidency of COP22 was to work closely with the French presidency of COP21 to ensure the rapid ratification and entry into force of the Paris Agreement. We are particularly delighted that we succeeded in achieving this goal, which means that the entry into force of the agreement will take place during COP22. This also means that the first Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement – to be known as CMA1 – will take place in Marrakech.

COP22 also seeks to be the conference where concrete measures are taken to enter a new virtuous cycle in favour of the environment and in support of the states most affected by climate change. Combatting climate change must translate into concrete actions by all actors including through the greater involvement of non-state actors. This is why the Marrakech Conference will seek to link up and mobilise state officials, CEOs, presidents of associations and representatives of cities from all over the world to ensure greater commitment from both public and private institutions. That said, there are still challenges to overcome such as the issue of financing and irreversible losses and damages. There is a need for an international mechanism to help and support most-vulnerable countries through technical assistance, capacity building and training. The issue of financing is also at stake since the roadmap of the $100bn pre-2020 needs further negotiations and clarity. Greater commitment is required in this crucial area.

How can the development of capacity building in the Southern countries be ensured?

MEZOUAR: Southern countries are the most exposed to the consequences of climate change, even though they have not contributed to the global rise of temperatures. The least developed countries, along with the Small Island Developing States, are among the most vulnerable. Approximately 60m people have already been displaced by climate change, which is also undermining long-term growth. Therefore, there is a need to develop strong capacities in terms of training, capacity building and technology transfer. This will have to be channelled by funding from the North and the development of technology transfer mechanisms as well as through South-South or triangular cooperation mechanisms. Nevertheless, concrete actions are not easy to take. Up to now, too little financial support had been channelled to sub-Saharan countries, particularly for adaptation.

This is what motivated Morocco to launch the Adaptation of African Agriculture Initiative (AAA), which aims at ensuring food security by reducing the vulnerability of African countries’ agriculture to climate change as well as to support capacity building in this key sector of Africa’s economy. Furthermore, Morocco stands ready to share, through South-South cooperation and triangular partnerships, its rich experience stemming from its national “climate revolution” and energy transition, initiated over a decade ago under the leadership of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, which set very ambitious goals of achieving 52% of the country’s electrical production capacity from renewable sources by 2030 as well as hosting the largest solar plant in the world. Increased solidarity is required to ensure that collectively we can mitigate the impact of climate change and support each other, particularly the most vulnerable countries.

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