Address by Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Hasnaa
at the ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the program "Young Reporters for the Environment"
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 join you today to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the "Young Reporters for the Environment" program.
I should like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the partners with whom the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment has the privilege to work and whom I commend for their untiring efforts and for their resolve to ensure this pilot program serves as a model for raising awareness about environmental issues.
This ambitious project is part of the mission entrusted to the Foundation by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God be with him. His Majesty is keen to make sure environmental protection features prominently in the societal project he has clearly defined for the country. The awareness raising efforts fall within the ten-year program developed by the Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of National Education - a program which seeks to sensitize young people to environmental issues, for it is they who will be in charge of preserving the balance of different ecosystems in the future, making sure sustainable development objectives are met.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We are convinced of the paramount importance of environmental education in raising awareness about the environment and in fostering responsible attitudes towards the environment. Because we realize that no environmental policy can succeed without environmental education, the Foundation has signed several important agreements with a number of partners with a view to mustering resources and energies to promote environmental education and implement sustainable development programs.
As the preservation of the environment has implications at both the domestic and international levels, the Foundation has sought to cooperate with regional and international partners. Thus, it has signed partnership agreements with several international organizations actively involved in environmental education and sustainable development issues, such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which our Foundation joined as early as 2002. We were the first institution from the Arab and Islamic world to join the Foundation for Environmental Education. Since then, we have implemented several environmental education programs, including the "Young Reporters for the Environment" program, whose tenth anniversary we are celebrating today.
This program aims to introduce secondary school students to environmental education, using internationally recognized approaches and tools, to make them knowledgeable about the environment and to encourage environmentally friendly behavior. The program also makes it possible for young people to participate in international events concerning the environment, giving them the opportunity to meet young people from around the world and to compete for the annual international environmental education award. We pride ourselves on the fact that our students have been honored time and again at the international level. We owe this achievement to the dedication and enthusiasm of the teachers supervising the students, and I want to take this opportunity to commend them for the leading role they are playing, and for their mobilization alongside the Foundation to serve environmental causes.
Considering the success of this program and the positive reactions at the national, regional and international levels, and in order to promote the exchange of expertise and experience between the stakeholders involved in the area of environmental education, Morocco will, under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI and in partnership with our Foundation, have the honor of hosting the Seventh World Environmental Education Congress in June 2013. This Congress, which will be attended by representatives from 80 countries, will convene for the first time in an Arab or Islamic country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As far as the Foundation is concerned, the praise this program has received at the international level never was an end in itself. In fact, it has provided an incentive to build on what has been achieved and to continue improving this model program in order ensure sustainability. Our approach, in this regard, is based on three elements:
First: make sure the competition is held at regional level in order to increase the number of participants and have items of a better quality that reflect the reality of local environmental issues, taking into account applicable national guidelines.
Second: make the involvement of secondary school students and the teachers supervising them a priority for the stakeholders concerned, particularly elected officials and local authorities. Regional connections should be established between these students and teachers and the civil society groups involved in environmental conservation and sustainable development, within the framework of the National Charter launched in 2010.
Third: promote training and capacity building activities for the benefit of the stakeholders involved in the program, especially journalists, given their key role in promoting sustainable development principles and environmentally sound practices.
Pursuant to one of the recommendations made at the conference on the Sahel, held in Tangier in October 2010, which called for the mobilization of the media in connection with the program on environmental awareness and education, the Foundation, in partnership with the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has launched a project involving Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. It aims to ensure capacity building for the benefit of young communication professionals through the development of a digital learning platform that would enable them to acquire new skills and capabilities in this field, and engage in community action. The ultimate objective, however, is to build bridges between secondary school students and journalists when addressing environmental issues.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a contribution to the preparations for Rio+20, and in celebration of the tenth anniversary of the "Young Reporters for the Environment" program - whose theme this year is sustainable consumption - we decided to hold a meeting under the theme "Education and awareness to promote responsible consumption".
Through this activity, we seek to encourage all segments of our young population to engage in responsible consumer behavior, and to lay the foundations for a green economy – an economy that protects the environment and preserves available resources so that current generations may live in a society where justice and fairness prevail, and future generations can expect to enjoy prosperity.
The recommendations made at that meeting, which was attended by a fine group of competent, creative environmental advocates, students, teachers, media representatives, civil society groups, professional associations and public and private sector institutions, were both important and useful. The mere fact that such a diverse group of stakeholders came together to discuss environmental issues means they can agree on a program of action for the next decade as well as on the objectives to be achieved, keeping in mind the social transformations of this 21st century.
Before concluding, I should like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to all the partners of the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the Environment who share our sincere, fervent desire to protect the environment so that our beloved children may enjoy a safe and secure, now and in the years to come.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.