HM King Mohammed VI sent a message to the participants in the 6th Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers, which kicked off Thursday in Rabat under the chairmanship of HRH Princess Lalla Hasna,
Here follows the full text of the message read out by Delegate Minister to the Minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment, in charge of Environment, Hakima El Haite.
Praise be to God. May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to address the participants in this Sixth Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers.
I should like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), to its Director General, His Excellency Dr. Abdulaziz Othman Altwaijri and to the Organization’s experts and staff for their untiring efforts to uphold the Muslim Ummah’s immutable values and principles.
I also wish to commend the Organization’s constructive efforts to raise awareness about environment issues in the Islamic world. By doing so, it is showing that it realizes the great importance of the environmental dimension in efforts to conserve Islamic countries’ resources and safeguard the rights of future generations.
I should like, in this respect, to congratulate the conference organizers on their choice of topic for this session: Climate Change: Future Challenges for Sustainable Development. The conference will indeed shed light on some of the major environment issues facing the world in general, and Arab and Islamic countries in particular.
I am convinced this conference will contribute to the success of the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to be held in Paris in December. It will also be an important step in the Kingdom’s preparations to host the COP22 in Marrakech next year.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Climate change is one of the major issues facing humanity today since it now represents a real threat not only to the environment, but also to economic and social development and to global security and stability.
Thus, Islamic countries which, like the rest of the world, are suffering from the negative impact of global warming on their economies, should support the multi-party negotiation process aimed at adopting a new global system to tackle climate change. The latter is to be based on the provisions included in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, particularly the principle of states’ shared but differentiated responsibility, in accordance with each country’s abilities.
The new system should also be based on the principle of justice as well as on the right of developing countries to respond to their current and future development needs. Special focus should be placed on the leading role advanced countries should play in reducing the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and providing developing countries with the financial and technical support they need.
This is why the Tangier Call, which was signed on September 20 by the French Republic and the Kingdom of Morocco and which stressed the imperative need to take urgent action to address climate change in a serious, effective and equitable manner, is so important.
The North-South divide is not inevitable, and the fight against climate change should be a common struggle, so long as the principles of solidarity and commitment to collective action prevail.
With this meeting today, Ladies and Gentlemen, you are not starting from scratch. Fourteen centuries ago, the precepts of our Islamic faith essentially called for sustainable development. Thus, many Quranic verses and sayings of the Prophet (PBUH) point to the finite nature of resources and to the need for their sensible, rational use because they belong to everyone. The Almighty says: “And there is not a thing but its (sources and) treasures (inexhaustible) are with Us; but We only send down thereof in due and ascertainable measures” (Al Hijr, 21); He also says: “Those who, when they spend, are not extravagant and not niggardly, but hold a just (balance) between those (extremes)”; (Al Furqan, 67).
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Kingdom of Morocco has engaged early, resolutely and proactively in combating the effects of climate change, using an integrated, participatory and responsible approach.
My country’s commitment to fighting climate change can be seen through the regular overhaul of its institutional, legal and financial systems. Enshrined in the Moroccan Constitution adopted in 2011 are the right to a safe environment and the need to strike a balance between the requisites for development and the necessity to protect the environment and the quality of life. This is a key component of the tangible and intangible capital of states.
In this connection, my country has adopted an outline law, which is the National Charter for the Environment and Sustainable Development. The aim is to build on achievements and include the environmental dimension and climate change in all development programs and policies from the start.
A national strategy for sustainable development has also been drawn up on the basis of the provisions included in the afore-mentioned outline law, giving the strategy its legal force. This strategy will make it possible to develop a comprehensive, coherent policy framework to harmonize economic, social and environmental programs and plans of action with a view to promoting the transition to a green economy that can create wealth as well as new job opportunities.
At the same time, we launched an ambitious renewable energy program for the production of clean solar and wind energy. We also adopted a national energy efficiency strategy.
A competence center for climate change was also set up to ensure capacity building in order to combat the effects of climate change at the national level. We are keen to ensure that similar centers or branches are created at African, Arab and Islamic levels within the framework of South-South cooperation so that we may consolidate the close ties we have with many sister nations.
At the international level, and as I pointed out in the message I sent the Seventieth Session of the United Nations General Assembly, we look forward to seeing a global, comprehensive, sustainable, balanced and legally binding agreement adopted at the Paris Conference.
As part of the ongoing negotiations for the preparation of this agreement, and in keeping with its international obligations in the area of the protection of the environment, the Kingdom of Morocco was the first Arab country - and one of the first in the world - to prepare its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to identify its needs in terms of coping with the negative effects of climate change. We were keen to submit our contribution to the Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change prior to the deadline set.
Given my country's active involvement in addressing the effects of climate change and the leading role it is playing in this domain, we have decided to submit the Kingdom's candidature to host the 22nd Conference of the Parties in 2016.
I sincerely hope this conference will be an opportunity to develop practical mechanisms to implement the Paris agreement. I truly hope the Paris agreement will be adopted, particularly provisions regarding adaptation, which is a priority for developing countries in general, especially Islamic ones.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you know, the UN General Assembly recently adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, together with a set of bold new global objectives which include 17 goals and 169 associated targets relating to the eradication of extreme poverty, the fight against inequality, the provision of quality education for all, the elimination of illiteracy, the fight against desertification, land degradation and drought, the preservation of ecosystems and the conservation of biodiversity, along with several other lofty objectives which must be achieved over the next fifteen years.
Today, Islamic countries are expected to work towards achieving sustainable development and take all necessary measures to that end in order to attain the goals included in the UN Sustainable Development Agenda. Emphasis is also laid on the future of humanity and the planet, as well as on the need to achieve prosperity for all, promote peace and deepen partnership at all levels, making sure it serves sustainable development.
I firmly believe the Muslim world today has the ingredients needed to embark on such a vast project. Islamic countries have indeed laid the foundation for closer partnership in environment and sustainable development issues through the historic Declaration adopted at the First Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers, held in Jeddah in June 2002.
Nevertheless, Islamic countries are at a crossroads today. In addition to development and security challenges, they are facing pressing popular aspirations for further rights, freedoms, human dignity and social justice. There is no other way to meet those aspirations except through complementarity and the sharing of successful experiences in various fields, such as the protection of the environment and action to pave the way for sustainable development.
I should like, in this respect, to draw your attention to the pertinence of the proposal I made in my message to the participants in the Third Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers, held in Rabat in October 2008, concerning the establishment of the Islamic Academy for the environment and sustainable development, to serve sustainable development objectives in the Muslim world.
Given the importance of such an Academy for the Islamic world, a new vision for the proposed Academy has been set out so that the latter may support Islamic countries’ endeavors towards achieving sustainable development goals.
My hope is that you will deepen the debate and step up efforts to develop a road map in order to bring this important project to fruition and achieve its lofty objectives.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Considering the eminent figures participating in this conference and their vast competence and experience in environmental and sustainable development issues, and given their earnest desire to promote progress in the Islamic world, I am sure your meeting will come up with constructive recommendations and proposals that will consolidate the partnership between Islamic countries, thus fuelling hope for the future, in a climate of fraternity, unity and solidarity.
Let this conference serve as a reminder of the great responsibility lying with all of us. Let it induce us to work - each in his or her respective field of competence - towards shaping a new development model, whose cornerstone would be sustainable development for all. Surely, this would be in line with the spirit of the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change adopted by the International Islamic Symposium held in Istanbul, in August 2015.
I would like to extend a warm welcome to our guests and wish them an enjoyable stay among us. I also wish your conference every success.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.