By Edmund Smith-Asante, Rabat, Morocco
|The African journalists with some key officials of COP 22 after some interactions.|
Two Ghanaian journalists have participated in a tour of Morocco as part of about 26 environmental journalists from selected Africa countries ahead of the 22nd edition of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) annual conference dubbed COP 22 (the 22nd Conference of the Parties Climate Change Conference) to be hosted by Morocco.
Other journalists invited by the Steering Committee of COP 22 for the 10-day press tour from July 10 to July 20, 2016 were from Morocco, Mauritania, Cameroon, Gabon, Tunisia, Algeria, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Benin, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Burkina Faso and Mali.
According to the Head of Press and Communication for COP 22, Ms. Samira Sitail, the tour was to afford the journalists firsthand knowledge on preparations being made by the Moroccan government to host the climate change conference and also steps being taken to mitigate the effects of the global phenomenon.
It was also to educate the journalists on the issues related to climate change, introduce them to some key players and officials responsible for the various aspects of the upcoming conference and adequately equip them to report on the upcoming COP 22 conference scheduled for November 2016.
|Journalists at the site for COP 22 in Marrakech.|
The tour took the journalists to five cities in Morocco, which were Casablanca, the commercial capital, Rabat the political capital, Marrakech the city that will host the conference, Quarzazate, where the world’s largest solar plant is still under construction and Tanger, all in the northern part of the country.
Water, climate conference et al
The journalists attended a two-day international conference on water and climate (ICWC) in Rabat on July 11 and July 12, 2016.
The conference, which was on the theme “Water Security for Climate Justice” was held to situate water in the upcoming climate change conference. Specifically, the aim of the ICWC was to place water at the heart of COP 22 and measures for the implementation of the Paris Agreement developed at COP 21 in France last year.
The journalists were also trained on the upcoming conference in a school dubbed COP Academy in Rabat, participated in a renewable energy forum and carbon forum in Marrakech, and also attended a climate change conference of countries in the Mediterranean region dubbed MEDCOP Climate 2016 in Tanger.
Visits were also made to the site for the COP 22 conference in Marrakech known as the Bab Ighli, the Noor Solar Power Station in Ouarzazate, the Maghreb Arab Press Agency (MAP) in Rabat and the 2M TV and radio station in Casablanca.
Meetings with officials
The journalists also met with ministers of State in the Moroccan government as well as key officials responsible for various aspects of COP 22.
|Mr Abdeslam Bekrate, Head of Logistics, Security and Safety welcoming the journalists to the interaction with the COP 22 Steering Committee.|
They included the Head of Civil Society Activities and President of the National Council of Human Rights in Morocco, Mr Driss El Yazami; COP22 Commissioner, Mr Abdeladim Lhafi; the Head of Logistics, Security and Safety, Wali at the Ministry of the Interior,Mr Abdeslam Bekrate and the President of the COP22 Scientific Committee, Mr Nizar Baraka.
Others were the Head of Side Events and Director at the Ministry of the Environment, Mr Mohamed Benyahia; the Head of Public-Private Partnership, Mr Said Mouline; the Ambassador for Multilateral Negotiations, Mr Aziz Mekouar and the Ambassador Counsellor to the COP22 President, Mr Said Benryane.
Also met were the Minister of Agriculture and Maritime Fishing, Mr Aziz Akhannouch; Minister of the Interior, Mr Mohamed Hassad and the Delegate Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Nasser Bourita.
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• The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) entered into force in 1994 and is aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere and the Conference of Parties (COP) was designated as the supreme governing body of the Convention.
• The 22nd session of the COP (COP 22) and the 12th session of the Meeting of Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP), take place in Marrakech, Morocco from November 7 to November 18, 2016.