Morocco’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to UNESCO, Samir Addahre, stressed that the Kingdom’s hosting of the International Conference on UNESCO’s Global Geoparks is a testament to Morocco’s pioneering role in the promotion and preservation of natural and archaeological assets of global value.
Addahre stated to the press that the holding of this conference (Marrakech, September 4-11) for the first time on Arab and African soil reinforces the efforts of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) to promote the geopark concept in Africa and the Arab world, recalling that out of one hundred and 95 UNESCO Global Geoparks in 48 countries worldwide, the Arab and African region is home to only two, namely M’Goun in Morocco and Ngorongoro-Lengai, in Tanzania.
The Moroccan diplomat affirmed that this conference is an opportunity for the Kingdom to reaffirm its leadership in this field and place its expertise at the disposal of Arab and African countries as part of its South-South cooperation policies.
Addahre emphasized that in light of the importance of this international conference, Morocco, which was competing with three other countries (France, Mexico, and Brazil), submitted the M’Goun geopark proposal, which was certified in 2014 as the first geopark in Africa and the Arab world, underlining that the Moroccan bid satisfactorily met all requirements, including technical and budgetary aspects, and highlighted, among other decisive criteria, Moroccan efficiency and expertise in geoparks, geosciences, communication, and sustainable tourism.
The Moroccan ambassador said that in addition to the Kingdom’s world-renowned potential and expertise in organizing large-scale events, the M’Goun Geopark was chosen thanks to the strong support that the bid enjoys from all stakeholders at the local, municipal, governmental, and ministerial levels.
In this regard, Addahre stressed that this massive support is “a clear testament to the credibility of the Moroccan approach and the Kingdom’s commitment, in accordance with the High Directives of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, to the protection and preservation of our natural, geological, cultural, and architectural heritage, which are part of our identity.”
The Moroccan diplomat stated that the 10th edition of the International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks, organized by the Global Geoparks Network (GGN), the Béni Mellal-Khénifra Regional Council, and the M’goun Geopark, will be the first to be held in person following the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Moroccan ambassador also affirmed that this meeting, which will bring together over 1.500 participants from 50 countries, will enable participants to discover, during post-conference field trips, Morocco’s beauty and its diverse natural landscapes, geo-tourism, and archaeological sites of great value, as well as the local culinary and musical traditions of the M’Goun region.
Addahre added that the M’goun Geopark was revalidated in 2023 by the UNESCO World Geoparks Council following the positive recommendations of evaluation missions, noting that today, following almost 10 years of its labeling, this geopark stands out as a “perfect model” for the exploitation of natural cultural heritage in the service of promoting sustainable community development, while conforming to the overall concept of protection, education, and sustainable development.
The Moroccan diplomat concluded that the M’Goun Geopark, as a member of the Global Geoparks Network (GGN) and leader of the African UNESCO Global Geoparks Network (AUGGN), places its expertise at the disposal of national and foreign actors with geopark projects aspiring to join the Network, as part of a responsible and supportive approach.