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Supporting Morocco’s Quest to Close USD24 Billion Green Investment Gap

Friday Phiri interviews NICOLE PERKINS, the GGGI country representative in Morocco

Morocco has in recent years emerged as a continental leader in terms of modelling green growth. Credit:Celso Flores/CC By 2.0

PEMBA, Zambia, Oct 22 2018 (IPS) - Science has increasingly made it clear that the world is on an unsustainable growth model where economic development is occurring at the expense of the environment. The need for a well-balanced approach has therefore become a necessity rather than a luxury.

The green growth model, according to experts, is seen as having the required balanced approach that fosters economic growth and development while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which people’s well-being relies.

While Morocco has in recent years emerged as a continental leader in terms of modelling green growth, the country has an estimated green investment gap of USD24 billion.

The Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), an international treaty-based organisation that assists countries develop a green growth model, is actively supporting initiatives to help the North African country close this gap and transition to a green economy.

IPS had an opportunity to speak to Nicole Perkins, the GGGI country representative in Morocco on the specific aspects of support being offered, and how it relates to the green growth model being spearheaded by GGGI. Excerpts of the interview follow:

Inter Press Service (IPS): The government of Morocco has requested technical support from GGGI to support the transition to a green economy. The design of the project is dedicated to the development of inclusive green territories in order to contribute to Morocco’s goal of a national overall GHG emission reduction target of 42 percent below business-as-usual (BAU) emissions by 2030, and contribute to the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) target of closing the green investment gap of USD24 billion in conditional investments. Could you briefly shade more light on this project?

Nicole Perkins (NP): GGGI’s work in Morocco provides technical support to accompany the implementation of the National Sustainable Development Strategy, aimed at promoting a green, inclusive, integrated and sustainable development model at the territorial (regional) level, and the realisation of Morocco’s NDC number 9, which is to develop a model, low-carbon city centred on optimised energy, transport and waste management.

Our support focuses on the development of policies and incentives, identification and design of bankable projects, and assistance in mobilising funding for their implementation, in alignment with the advanced regionalisation process adopted by the Kingdom of Morocco.

On Oct. 23, 2017, GGGI and the Moroccan government signed in Rabat, a Memorandum of Understanding during a workshop they co-organised on the theme: green growth and development of the green territories in Morocco.

In June 2018, GGGI Morocco received two official letters requesting technical support from both the ministry of interior and the secretary of state for transport, for a total of eight measures in the areas of increasing sub-national access to climate finance, and sustainable mobility, which provides a solid focus for the 2019-2020 programme.

Nicole Perkins, the GGGI country representative in Morocco. Courtesy: Nicole Perkins

IPS: The general thematic area of support is green cities and territories. Could you explain in some detail, the concepts of green cities and territories? What are they, and how do they relate to the green growth model? 

NP: For GGGI, green cities are:

• Innovative and smart: This implies cities that provide a unique environment and an opportunity for innovation, through technology, information, communication and good governance – and the synthesis of these.

• Resource-efficient and based on circular economies: Waste-to-resource and circular economy to lower resource footprints. They are transformational and creative: they decouple growth from resource use.

• Climate smart and resilient: In pursuing low-carbon pathways in support of the Paris Agreement, and underpinned by resilient infrastructure, systems and communities.

• Inclusive and pro-poor: Green cities must provide livelihood opportunities beyond BAU. They are pro-poor, ‘connected’, accessible, and provide affordable solutions for all.

• Healthy and liveable: With an improved quality of life, cleaner air and accessible green spaces.

• Prosperous and bankable: Cities that are competitive, create opportunity and are attractive for (new) investment.

Green territories can be geographically defined as a region or province that inclusively encompass both the urban and rural populations. They leverage the characteristics of green cities and ensure healthy linkages between the urban and rural components in terms of access to economic opportunities and sustainable services such as transport, waste, water, energy, education and health.

IPS: Aside from the key strategic outcome of greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions, the project aims to achieve, among others, green jobs, sustainable services, air quality, ecosystem services, and enhanced adaptation to climate change. Briefly explain how the project intends to achieve these targeted outcomes?

NP: The programme aims to increase access to climate and green growth finance; strengthen national institutional capacity to develop policy in the transport/mobility sector; accelerate national and sub-national investments in the National Sustainable Development Strategy (NSDS), NDCs, and Sustainable Development Goals; and improve the enabling environment in the territories in order to catalyse pro-poor, pro-youth, inclusive, and gender-sensitive investments in environmental goods and services. To achieve these outcomes, GGGI in Morocco is focusing on: supporting the design, implementation and operationalisation of a multi-sectoral National Financing Vehicle, its institutional framework, capacity building, and mechanisms for monitoring and evaluation.

This will contribute to the NDC target of closing the green investment gap of USD24 billion in conditional investments and contribute to Morocco’s goal of a national overall GHG emission reduction target of 42 percent below BAU emissions by 2030.

Regarding the transport and mobility sector, GGGI is providing policy advice and project development services to increase access to sustainable transport and mobility, transition to green transport/mobility, and support the implementation of the National Sustainable Mobility Roadmap, contributing to the NDC target of 23 percent energy savings in the transport sector by 2030.

At a sub-national level, GGGI support is to catalyse the development of Morocco’s inclusive green territories and support the Regional Project Execution Agencies in selectively and strategically developing a pipeline of bankable, sustainable, inclusive and scalable projects in order to attract investments into Environmental Goods and Services and transition to a low carbon economy, contributing among others to Morocco’s NSDS target of 23 percent energy savings in the transport sector by 2030; 20 percent recycled materials rate by 2020; 50 percent wastewater reuse rate in inland cities by 2020; 60 percent wastewater treatment rate by 2020.

IPS:  What financing model have you used to raise funds for the project? Is it a wholly public financed project or a mixture? This comes on the back drop that Green cities—the roads, pavements, street lights are all public sector and are owned by governments not the private sector. 

NP: GGGI Morocco has been building ties with in-country priority donors and conducted comprehensive partner and donor consultations on a national level, which provide the foundation for the 2019 – 2020 biennial country programme. Both GGGI and Morocco’s various donors and international financing institution partners have indicated interest in supporting the government of Morocco’s requests for technical support and GGGI’s efforts to assist Morocco in implementing its NSDS territorial approach to transitioning to inclusive green growth. The structuring of project financing, and avenues for partner involvement and contribution is currently in process.

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