Institut Royal des Etudes Stratégiques
Climate change

Today, climate change has become a reality largely accepted. Its effects felt and those anticipated encourage all political and socio-economic stakeholders to establish strategies and adaptation plans to face it. Caused by the increase of greenhouse gases, climate change is a global issue that requires a global response.

Morocco is being hit hard by climate change. It is located in one of the most arid regions in the planet where impacts would concern more and more the amplification and the increase in frequency of extreme phenomena (droughts and floods), ecosystems degradation, growing scarcity of water resources, development of emerging illnesses or more, force migration of populations.

Conscious on the challenges and threats that weigh on Morocco, IRES initiated, in November 2008, an important brainstorming on climate change complexity in its multiple dimensions: environmental, political, economic, social and human. It explores adaptation paths, through a holistic approach, to tackle issues as a whole and define durable and politically, economically and socially acceptable responses. It is, ultimately, about providing adapted solutions to challenges that the country needs to adress in terms of security, hydraulic, food, sanitary, economic and environmental.

The study program "Climate change: impacts on Morocco and global adaptation options" aimed initially to heighten awareness policy-makers on climate change impacts in order to integrate it into public policies. The methodological approach retained in the context of this program include a reliable scientific diagnostic with an interdependancy analysis between the studied phenomenon.

The first phase (2008-2011) is based on an ecosystemic approach and has the following objectives:

  • To elaborate an overview on the current scientific knowledge.
  • To refine climate change projections in Morocco and to determine the impacts, in particular, on hydrologic regimes.
  • To further assess climate change impacts on the following ecosystems: the coastline, the forests and the oases.
  • To study climate migration impacts and consider adaptation measures.
  • To establish a benchmark on best international practices in terms of adaptation and mitigation policies to climate change.

This phase led to the organization in October 2009 of an international meeting on "Climate change: impacts and adaptation options for Morocco", to which national and international experts have contributed. It was completed by a synthetic strategic report, providing a national roadmap aiming to prepare Morocco to adress climate change challenges:

  • By securing nation’s fundamental needs and in managing durably natural resources.
  • In rethinking how public policies are conceived, in taking into account climate change effects.
  • In including Morocco’s development within the concept of green economy.
  • In seizing opportunities in financing and international cooperation and in increasing the visibility of the Kingdom on the international scene.

The approach through ecosystems, requiring an important amount of information, exceeding what current observation systems could provide, has been abandoned during the second phase of the study program (2012-2014), in favour of a more strategic approach, that of water, food, sanitary, economic and more globally human security. This approach to security turned out to be more in line with the strategic vocation of IRES.

While updating climate data, IRES has analyzed in the second phase the climate change consequences on water resources and security, in its different dimension. It has stressed out the necessity to have coherence between the sectoral strategies, to include climate change et adapt their temporal horizon, in order to take into account the impact, in the long-term, of this phenomena.

In this regard, many thematic studies have been conducted by IRES: "Climate vulnerabilities and development strategies", "Food and health security, amidst climate change: tentative for a coping strategy, in the context an integrated governance framework in Morocco" and "Transgenic cultures: what potential for development in Morocco, in terms of future challenges in food security?".

Relying on the diagnoses and recommandations outlined in the above mentioned studies as well as on the conclusions from meetings organized by IRES, a second synthetic strategic report has been finalized. It has highlighted Morocco’s vulnerabilities, to combat climate change with the aim to provide public policies proposals that would increase the resilience of the country, against this phenomena. The report recommended to put the issue of water at the heart of public policies, to raise food security to the level of strategic priorities, to reinforce health security in a context of development of emerging diseases and to put in place an adequate gouvernance on climate.

The third phase (2014-2015) is marked out by the achievement of a study intitled “What climate diplomacy to Morocco?” and by one ongoing study on “Anticipation and risk management of extreme climate events and disasters”.

The study on climate diplomacy is in line with the Guidance contained in the Royal Message of August 30, 2013, calling the institute to “… devote more effort to diplomacy and issues related to Morocco’s international relations in all fields — political, economic, social, cultural and environmental…”.

Insisting on the importance in reaching a global agreement on the climate in Paris, end 2015, the study on climate diplomacy outlined the necessity to establish the fondation of a bold climate diplomacy in order to better defend the Kingdom’s interests and ensure sucess factors for the global meeting on the climate (COP 22). This climate diplomacy should rely on a national project of the climate with a political dimension at the highest level of the State and be at the heart of the diplomatic mission mandate.

The study related to the issues and implications of COP 21 and COP 22 for Morocco has, particularly focused on strategic and scientific aspects as well as keys to success of the organization of the International Climate Conference to be held on November 2016 in Marrakech.

By end of 2015, the study program on climate change has led to the achievement of 2 strategic reports and 16 thematic studies and mobilized 39 research associates as well as the organisation of an international conference and around twenty seminars, attended by national and international experts.