Green Mosques and more: Morocco is leading the way in environmental protection and climate change mitigation

04.11.2016 – From 7 to 18 November, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP22) will take place in Marrakesh. The host country has set itself some ambitious climate targets.

As of Monday, Marrakesh will be playing host to the 22nd Session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22). Thematically speaking, the main focus of this year’s climate summit will be on ways of mitigating and adapting to the impacts of climate change. The host country Morocco is itself seriously affected by this phenomenon – longer periods of drought and more severe storms are becoming increasingly frequent here and pose a threat to the people, most of whom depend on agriculture for a living.

This North African country has therefore adopted an ambitious body of environmental protection and climate mitigation laws. By 2030, Morocco aims to source 52 per cent of its domestic energy needs from green power and it intends to have reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by some 32 per cent. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is assisting Morocco in achieving these goals.

On behalf of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is helping to equip mosques with energy-efficient technologies. Modernisation work took already place in 40 mosques. Completely implemented by Moroccan companies, this energy modification employs an interesting financing concept. ‘The companies invest their own capital in the mosques to make them energy efficient. Their earnings then come from the energy savings the technology generates,’ says Project Manager Jan-Christoph Kuntze. ‘The more efficient the buildings, the more money they earn.’

Energy entrepreneurs such as Yassine Alj, whose company is working for the project, are benefiting sustainably from this measure – and creating jobs in the process: ‘We have been able to improve our work in the field of energy efficiency in public buildings and so become more internationally competitive, too. This has allowed us to recruit new engineers and technicians.’