• 27 JUL 15
    • 0

    Morocco passes new law to protect coastal zone

    The Moroccan legislature unanimously voted to adopt Law No. 81-12 relating to the Coast on June 23, the country’s Ministry of the Environment reported.

    With this law’s adoption, “Morocco now disposes of a tool of chief importance for the preservation and sustainable management” of its 3,500-kilometer long coastal zone, the Ministry said, noting that coast’s degradation had until now been exacerbated by insufficient, inefficient, obsolete and sectorally fragmented laws, “completely unadapted to the present context.”

    The new law balances the need to protect and promote the natural assets of the coastal zone, with the requirements of the country’s economic, social and cultural development, which are “no less important,” the Ministry stressed.

    The law establishes that scientific data be the basis for the integrated management of the coastal environment, taking the impact of climate change on the coastal zone into consideration.

    Bouregreg Marina, Rabat, Morocco Source: Moroccan Ministry of the Environment

    Bouregreg Marina, Rabat, Morocco
    Source: Moroccan Ministry of the Environment

    The law aims to:

    • Preserve the coast’s biological and ecological balance, natural and cultural heritage – including archaeological and historic sites and natural landscapes – while combatting coastal erosion
    • Prevent and reduce pollution and the coast’s degradation, while rehabilitating polluted and damaged areas
    • Improve planning, by means of a national plan for the coast and compatible regional spatial planning documents
    • Guaranty free and unpaid access to the seashore
    • Enable the involvement of organizations, the private sector, and affected local and regional authorities in decisions pertaining to coastal zone management
    • Advance research and innovation promoting the coast and its resources

    Importantly, the law establishes a national commission and various regional commissions for coastal management, bringing together and mobilizing stakeholders, and provides a legal definition of the coastal zone, incorporating marine and land components. The coastal zone also includes a 100-meter wide strip free of construction, and a two-kilometer wide zone free of transportation infrastructure.

    All solid wastes that contribute to the pollution of the seashore are forbidden by the law, and liquid wastes will be subject to permits within explicit limits and the payment of fines in case the limits are exceeded.

    As inspiration for the law, the Ministry cited the Rio and Rio+20 UN conferences on the environment and development, the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development, the ICZM protocol to the Barcelona Convention – ratified by Morocco in 2012 – and Morocco’s own National Charter for the Environment and Sustainable Development.

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