Blue economy: After financing, the World Bank approves technical assistance – The World Bank has just approved technical assistance to the government to accelerate the development of the blue economy in Morocco. This support is financed by a grant of 5 million dollars granted by Problue, a trust fund initiated by the Bretton Woods Institution and supported by 14 donors.
This technical assistance was requested by the government, which in June 2022 launched the implementation of a new national blue economy programme in cooperation with the World Bank. This programme aims to unleash the economic potential of this new engine of growth through sustainable development of marine and coastal resources and better vertical and horizontal institutional coordination within and between the sectors concerned. It is based on three pillars: national food security, economic development and job creation, and the protection and use of natural resources.
Within this framework, a loan agreement of 350 million dollars was signed on 9 June 2022 between Morocco and the World Bank to contribute to the financing of this programme for the “Development of the Blue Economy in Morocco”, managed by the Ministry of the Economy and Finance through a Management Unit (UGP) housed within the Budget Directorate.
Nevertheless, the government believes that the innovative nature of the programme, which involves the creation of a new integrated and collaborative business model across the blue sectors, requires additional capacity building and technical support. This request was reiterated in a letter to the World Bank on 26 December 2022.
Based on this request, technical assistance is provided. It will include capacity building activities on institutional development, technical analysis, environmental and social management and fiduciary aspects.
Three components for technical assistance to accelerate the development of the blue economy in Morocco
Overall, the technical support will be implemented through three components: “Developing collaborative governance for the blue economy”, “Strengthening resilience and integrated planning” and “Project management”, including coordination, environmental and social risk management and fiduciary management.
For Component 1 (funded with $3.21 million from Problue), the objective is to enable the government to establish an analytical basis for Blue Economy (BE) policy development and to create an enabling condition for collaborative governance. Strengthening coordination and collaboration between stakeholders in the sector is necessary to manage marine and coastal natural resources in a sustainable manner.
This component comprises three axes: Accelerating institutional and policy development; Applying behavioural science and collaborative leadership; and Deepening the analysis of long-term shoreline change. For the latter, the project will fund the development of a Methodological Guide for assessing shoreline change. This guide will describe the steps to be taken to analyse satellite images and assess long-term changes and trends in coastal erosion and flooding. These analyses will help monitor the impact of climate change and inform future development plans in coastal areas, especially as “the country is facing intensifying effects of climate change”.
Strengthening climate action in coastal tourism and fisheries
Component 2 (approximately US$1.06 million) aims to apply integrated spatial planning tools and strengthen climate action in two key blue sectors: coastal tourism and fisheries.
For tourism, two flagship projects are planned. The first is the development of a climate action plan for the Aghroud tourism area to provide an operational guide to enhance sustainable tourism.
The action plan will include climate mitigation and adaptation measures to improve energy efficiency, water conservation, wastewater reuse, provision of climate-smart utilities and awareness-raising activities for operators and visitors, among others. This project aims to help the government develop a more sustainable tourism model, as part of its strategy for the sector.
The second project will further support the sustainable development of coastal tourism by providing training and capacity building for Regional Development Corporations (RDCs). This training will help coastal tourism RDCs to apply standards and certification schemes to ensure sustainability, apply sustainability standards and certificates, such as green building certificates, to be applied prior to civil works. The Ministry of Finance will implement these activities in close technical collaboration with SMIT (Société Marocaine d’Ingénierie touristique).
Regarding fisheries management, the technical assistance will support “climate-informed spatial planning“, in particular for the identification of suitable locations for marine protected areas (MPAs) in Larache and Cap Trois Fourches. It will also help integrate climate actions into the management plans of the MPAs in Agadir and Larache. The Ministry of Finance will implement these activities, aimed in particular at the sustainable management of fish stocks, in close technical collaboration with the Department of Maritime Fisheries.
Finally, concerning component 3 of the technical assistance, dedicated to the management of the project (approximately 725,000 USD), the PMU will establish a mechanism for environmental and social monitoring and evaluation of the activities. It will track progress and results, prepare regular progress reports, monitor risks and emerging issues, and plan responses to new circumstances. This component will also support communication and outreach to mobilise stakeholders and raise awareness of the EB and project activities. Similarly, the PMU will collect and share project results and lessons learned and disseminate them. It will organise knowledge-sharing events and webinars, inviting national and international stakeholders working on the blue economy, including the Problue donor countries.
These knowledge sharing events will not only enhance the visibility of the project and the EB government programme as a whole, but also contribute to the capacity development of the blue sectors involved in the government programme.
Blue economy: After financing, the World Bank approves technical assistance