After a first workshop organized in Azrou on March 18, 2022 in partnership with the Ifrane National Park, Living Planet Morocco (LPM) and the National Parks of Khenifra, Haut Atlas Oriental and Ifrane organized, on Thursday March 24, 2022 at the Khenifra Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Services, a second awareness-raising workshop for local stakeholders and managers on the importance of sustainable water and land use practices in conserving the values, functions and services of the ecosystems and biodiversity of the Atlas Cedar Biosphere Reserve.

The event was attended by a number of scientific and technical speakers, including Mr. Hassan BELAHCEN, Director of Khénifra National Park, Mr. Abdelaaziz EL MOUDEN, Director of Haut Atlas Oriental National Park, Ms. Yousra MADANI, Director of LPM, Dr. Hassan ACHIBAN, Head of Biodiversity at Ifrane National Park, Mr. Oualid EL MDERSSA, an expert in sustainable water and land management practices, and Dr. Oussama BELLOULID, LPM Freshwater Programme Manager.

After presentations highlighting the specific features of the three National Parks, as well as the issues involved in safeguarding their natural and cultural heritage, the speakers discussed the need to promote good water and land management practices within the Atlas Cedar Biosphere Reserve (RBCA), recognized in 2016 by UNESCO as a world heritage site for humanity.

Listed by LPM in a practical guide (distributed to participants in the two workshops and available online), these techniques, already tested as part of the Sebou Water Fund program, are based on ancestral know-how and heritage, enabling local people to build effective structures (conventional water mobilization, land management, vegetation cover management, etc.) at low cost and with a positive impact on biodiversity.

Conventional water mobilization techniques, for example, use local materials and are designed to meet the diverse needs of upstream populations without penalizing downstream residents. These techniques can be adapted to suit local environmental conditions, demonstrating a genuine Moroccan hydraulic genius that needs to be safeguarded and capitalized on.

In order to foster a virtuous and participatory dynamic to combat the threats identified in the RBCA perimeter, good practices for the sustainable management of water resources, land and plant cover were therefore introduced by the speakers as an important and appropriate choice for its conservation and the sustainability of its ecosystem values, functions and services.

During the workshop, participants from local civil society and various public institutions were also able to discover a number of best practices, the techniques used to implement them, the needs they meet and the average cost of their implementation and maintenance.

The aim of the workshop was also to enhance the knowledge of local stakeholders and decision-makers in charge of managing and exploiting the Cedar groves extending over the perimeter of the three National Parks, in order to understand and integrate the needs of the ecosystems and species of the Atlas Cedar Biosphere Reserve into the planning and sustainable management of water and land.

It should be noted that this second workshop is part of the “Revive Atlas Cedar: Managing and conserving natural resources through sustainable water and land use practices in the Middle Atlas” Project, whose overall aim is to promote sustainable water and land use practices for the sustainable management of natural resources in the Middle Atlas Cedar Forest, through:

  • Improving the knowledge and skills of a network of local trainers and natural resource users,
  • Implementing a new integrated monitoring and surveillance system for optimal use of local resources,
  • Implementation of 4 pilot projects to develop agro-sylvo-pastoral products and services,
  • The projection and dissemination of the best techniques for the sustainable management of the Atlas Cedar Biosphere Reserve.

The project is being implemented under the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), which provides grants to non-governmental and community-based organizations in developing countries to enable them to address global environmental challenges, while meeting local sustainable development needs.

Tags: , Last modified: November 24, 2023