The environmental challenges facing Morocco require the mobilization of significant funds and the establishment of sustainable financing mechanisms.
During the event, agreements were signed between the Sebou Water Fund and the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) benefiting from the first grants, in the presence of national and international partners: the Ministry of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water (Water Department), the Sebou Water Basin Agency, the Department of Water and Forests, the Ifrane National Park, the Province of Ifrane, the Provincial Directorate of Agriculture, the MAVA Foundation, WWF International, Wetlands International, IUCN Center for Mediterranean Cooperation, and the Tour du Valat.
The Sebou Water Fund, the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, is a sustainable financing mechanism based on payment for ecosystem services that makes possible the conservation of water resources, the restoration of biodiversity, and the preservation of socio-economic and cultural activities that depend on them.
Six priority lakes in the Middle Atlas, whose water resources are under serious threat – Aoua, Hachlaf, Ifrah, Aguelmam Afennourir, Aguelmam Tifounassine, and Aguelmam Sidi Ali – have been identified for the implementation of the pilot phase of the Sebou Water Fund, which will be deployed in the Sebou basin in the medium term.
The objective of this first round of projects is to demonstrate how water and soil conservation management, sustainable agriculture, and the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems contribute to securing water supply, following the four priority axes below:
- Axe 1: Sustainable use of water and soil.
- Axe 2: Sustainable agriculture.
- Axe 3: Conservation and restoration of rivers and wetlands.
- Axe 4: Protection and sustainable management of natural resources.
Six CSOs were selected by the Sebou Water Fund Committee from 17 proposals submitted during this first call for projects:
- Hajjajaj Association (Territorial Commune)
- Association des Sources Amghas (Territorial Commune of Sidi El Mekhfi);
- Association Ayt Mhamed (Territorial Commune of Timehdit);
- Federation El Amal (Territorial Communeof Dayet Aoua);
- Association Ayt Mouly (Territorial Commune of Ain Leuh);
- Association ASEET (Territorial Commune of Sidi El Mekhfi).
It should be recalled that the Sebou Water Fund is being launched as part of the WAMAN Sebou project, coordinated by WWF Morocco. The Sebou is one of three pilot basins chosen by the “Partnership for integrated management of water resources for nature and people in the Mediterranean”, funded by the MAVA Foundation and coordinated by Wetlands International. This partnership was launched by seven international organizations* in the Mediterranean basin to achieve change on the ground and to build capacity of stakeholders in the region to tackle the problem of unsustainable water use and management. Learn more about the Partnership here.
* Global Water Partnership–Mediterranean (GWP-Med); The IUCN Centre for Mediterranean Cooperation (IUCN-Med); The IUCN Regional Office for West Asia (IUCN ROWA); WWF North Africa; The Research Institute for the Conservation of Mediterranean Wetlands; Tour du Valat (France); and The Mediterranean Wetlands Initiative (MedWet).
Yousra Madani, WWF North Africa, Moroccan Office