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International Cooperation

EPA Collaboration with Morocco

For over ten years, EPA has cooperated with Morocco in support of the U.S.-Morocco Joint Statement on Environmental Cooperation, which provides the framework for environmental cooperation under the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement. Morocco has been an important bilateral and regional partner and is the only country in Africa which has a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. EPA’s current efforts in Morocco focus on strengthening solid waste management, crisis communications, and public participation in order to increase environmental protection and sustainability throughout Morocco. 
 

Highlights

May 2018: EPA officials, along with representatives from Department of State, Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Forest Service, participated in the U.S. - Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Environmental Cooperation Meeting, held in Rabat, Morocco.  The purpose of the meeting was to review activities conducted under the Environmental Cooperation 2014-2017 Plan of Action supporting the FTA, as well as to discuss and finalize the 2018-2021 Plan of Action.  

Under this new phase, EPA will continue to work on solid waste management capacity-building and public participation/crisis communication issues.  This will include supporting a waste management pilot project in a selected municipality.  EPA and other U.S. agencies also participated in a site visit to the Oum Azza Landfill in Rabat where Moroccan officials highlighted some of the country’s waste management successes and remaining challenges. 

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Current Activities

The overarching goal of EPA’s current activities with Morocco is to strengthen solid waste management, crisis communications, and public participation in Morocco. EPA, with funding from the U.S. Department of State, is working in coordination with the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Sustainable Development, as well as the Ministry of Interior, on this program. 

Workshops in Rabat

In December 2017, EPA worked with Moroccan partners to organize two workshops, held consecutively in Rabat, Morocco. Following the workshops, then-EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt also held high level discussions with key Moroccan government officials, representatives from the private sector, and experts from policy institutes, to advance environmental cooperation between the two countries.

EPA shares solid waste management principles with workshop participants.
Morocco Municipal Solid Waste Management Implementation Workshop

EPA collaborated with Moroccan partners to conduct a workshop to build capacity to develop and implement integrated solid waste management plans in Moroccan communities. Workshop participants came from national government agencies and representatives from three rural communities in the process of developing solid waste management plans. EPA facilitators shared considerations and best practices to assist with completion of integrated local solid waste management plans. Participants also began early planning for potential solid waste management pilot projects in the participating communities. As a next step, EPA plans to provide technical assistance in one of these communities.

Morocco Crisis Communication and Public Participation Workshop

The Public Participation and Crisis Communication workshop drew a wide variety of participants, including national government agencies, the Moroccan Royal Navy and Air Force, and civil protection units (fire and ambulance services).  This workshop focused on the various elements of public participation and communication related to waste management, providing a framework for agencies, community groups, and citizens to explore how to work together to advance waste management efforts and reduce potential adverse health and environmental impacts. EPA facilitators presented fundamental concepts and tools for both public participation and crisis communication, stressing the crucial role that social media plays in managing communications with the public on environmental incidents. As a follow up, EPA will provide a list of public participation/crisis communication resources and references to the participants.

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Past Activities

Under an inter-agency agreement with the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency worked with the Moroccan Ministry of Environment on a variety of technical assistance and capacity building projects on environmental governance and enforcement and public participation in environmental decision-making. This work built upon previous projects funded under the U.S. Agency for International Development and Middle East Peace Initiative (MEPI), and included: 

  • Technical assistance and training to the Moroccan Department of Environment, Department of Water and Hydraulic Basin Agencies to implement a robust and sustainable permitting and compliance assurance program. 
  • Partnerships with government institutions to develop permitting, enforcement and compliance assistance programs for water and wastewater treatment plants.
  • Development and implementation of enforcement, permitting and compliance programs for air pollution and hazardous waste at industrial facilities. 
  • Integrated municipal solid waste planning pilot projects to assist with the implementation of national and regional laws and regulations. 
  • Launch of the International Public Participation Guide and training, including January 2013 workshop in Rabat, Morocco on Strengthening Public Participation in Environmental Decision-Making: Building Connections for Africa and the Middle East.
EPA's Landscape Ecology Branch also developed several publications on landscape and land use change in Morocco. These documents may be downloaded here.
  • Regional Assessment of Landscape and Land Use Change in the Mediterranean Region, Morocco Case Study (1981–2003) 
  • Locating Changes in Land Use from Long Term Remote Sensing Data in Morocco 
  • Booming markets for Moroccan argan oil appear to benefit some rural households while threatening the endemic argan forest 

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Agreements and Relevant Documents

  • U.S.-Morocco FTA
  • 2014-2017 United States - Morocco Plan of Action for Environmental Cooperation

Partners

Moroccan Secretary of State in charge of Water, and Environment/Department of Environment (website under construction) Moroccan Ministry of Industry and Commerce
Moroccan Ministry of Interior (text version) Enforcement Royal Gendarmerie
U.S. State Department, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs
US Embassy Morocco

Moroccan Directorate of National Meteorology (website under construction)

Moroccan Basin Agencies (no website available)

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Learn More About Morocco

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Contacts

For additional information on EPA's work in the Middle East, contact:
Cristina Mercurio
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of International and Tribal Affairs (2650R)
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20460
(202) 564-6600