From left to right: Siham Cherraj, Communication Advisor, Driss Ouaouicha, Minister Delegate in charge of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner and A. Rahhou, Ambassador of Morocco to the EU.
The European Union (EU) and Morocco signed yesterday (Tuesday 8th December) an administrative arrangement on cooperation in marine research and innovation, as part of the Alliance for Atlantic Ocean Research.
This Administrative Arrangement sets common objectives and areas of cooperation in marine research and innovation in the context of the Atlantic Research Alliance. It also aims to strengthen the networking of scientific activities between Moroccan research structures and their counterparts in countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean, in order to take advantage of the opportunities offered by international cooperation in a transatlantic context.
Signed during a virtual ceremony by the Minister Delegate in charge of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Driss Ouaouicha, and the European Commissioner in charge of Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and the youth, Mariya Gabriel, this arrangement could give new impetus to cooperation between Morocco and the EU in the fields of higher education, scientific research, technology and marine innovation.
Speaking during a virtual ceremony, which took place in the presence of the Ambassador of Morocco to the EU and NATO, Ahmed Rahhou, Mr. Ouaouicha indicated that “through this administrative arrangement and this increasingly structured cooperation with the European Union, particularly in terms of scientific research, our ambition is to strengthen the capacities of Moroccan students and researchers in priority areas ”.
“Our desire is to encourage joint research, in particular in the fields of climate change, biodiversity and food security,” he stressed, adding that “our commitment is to promote the role of Morocco and its universities as poles of regional excellence in fields related to higher education and scientific research ”.
For her part, Ms. Gabriel announced that Morocco, given its strategic position bordering both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, is an important partner in ocean science, insisting on the need to “work together to deepen our understanding of seafarers and the link between the Atlantic Ocean and climate change ”.
According to the European Commissioner, the administrative arrangement signed between Morocco and the EU should help strengthen cooperation between the European Commission and the Kingdom of Morocco within the framework of the Alliance for Atlantic Ocean Research.
In 2011, the European Commission adopted an Atlantic maritime strategy aimed at responding to the aspirations of different partners in order to establish ambitious and effective cooperation in the Atlantic region. The Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance was created following the Galway Declaration on Cooperation in the Atlantic Ocean (2013) and the Belém Declaration on Atlantic Cooperation in Research and Innovation ( 2017), in order to improve understanding of the Atlantic Ocean and to promote the sustainable management of its resources.
Since the signatures in 2013 of the “Galway Declaration” between the European Union – the United States and Canada and of the “Belém Declaration” in 2017 between the European Union – Brazil and South Africa on cooperation in research and innovation in the Atlantic Ocean, efforts are undertaken annually and directed towards an Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance; many joint activities have been carried out to strengthen the community of the Atlantic Ocean.
Following the signing ceremony chaired by the Minister Delegate in charge of higher education and scientific research in Morocco, Driss Ouaouicha and the European Commissioner in charge of innovation, research, culture, education and youth, Mariya Gabriel, a scientific event was organised involving EU and Moroccan experts to discuss questions in the field of marine research in the Atlantic Ocean.
The participants included Dr Karim Hilmi, an eminent Moroccan expert in the oceanographic field, researcher involved in the work of the IPCC / IPCC (WGII), research director at the National Institute of Fisheries Research in Casablanca (Morocco) and Vice President of the Group V (Africa and Arab region) within the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.
During his participation in this scientific conference, he emphasised the climatic variability and the characteristics of the water masses of the Moroccan Atlantic margin as well as the issues and challenges of global warming, a phenomenon which has an important impact on the Atlantic Ocean and its marine ecosystems.