Image Source: Flickr. By: Vince Millett.

In a great step towards environmental action, Morocco plans to announce a National Charter for Environment and Sustainable Development this Earth Day. The commitment is the first of its kind for both Africa and the Arab World.

Personally spearheaded by the King of Morocco himself (Mohammed VI), the charter will guide policy and future laws on natural resources, the environment and sustainability for Morocco. In its most basic form, the charter simply states that “everyone is entitled to live in a healthy environment that ensures security, health, economic growth, and social progress, where natural and cultural heritage and quality of life are the preserved.” It also encourages environmental education and that environmental preservation must be “a permanent concern of all Moroccans”.

The nation will also be holding the first ever major Earth Day observance in the region this week. It is the first African, Arab, and Muslim country to commit (at high government levels) to hold a national event honoring the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. According to Kathleen Rogers, president of the Earth Day Network:

“Morocco, which sits at the crossroads between Africa and the Middle East, is leading these regions in groundbreaking environmental practices, inspiring millions of people to make a personal commitment to the environment for Earth Day and beyond. We are thrilled to partner with Morocco for what we hope will be the largest global observance of Earth Day to date.”

On top of their big Earth Day plans, Morocco has made great strides in their environmental efforts. They recently invested $9 billion in solar energy, they plan to plant 1 million palm trees by 2015, and they’ve set a goal to have 42% of the country’s total power come from renewable energy by 2020. They’re also the host country for the big IWC conference this June.

By Heidi Marshall