By Mantoe Phakathi
The world will focus on Africa, as the Moroccan city of Marrakech will be host in November 2016 to the upcoming UN conference of parties to the Convention on climate changes (COP 22).
The north African country is expected to advance the decisions of the Paris Agreement which is expected to be concluded on December 30.
According to Tasneem Essop, WWF head of delegation to COP 21, Morocco already provides leadership in the north African region and Middle East on climate change.
"While Morocco ranks 146th in the world in terms of its own annual greenhouse gas emissions per capita, and in addition to that, it has seen serious impacts of climate change in terms of water scarcity and desertification, they have submitted a strong INDC," said Essop.
An INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions), according to the World Resources Institute, is an outline that countries prepared before COP 21 stating their goals on reducing emissions after 2020.
The INDCs will largely determine whether the world achieves an ambitious 2015 agreement and is put on a path toward a low-carbon, climate-resilient future. Morocco has committed to an unconditional 13 percent reduction of emissions by 2030 and a conditional commitment of 32 percent on condition they get support.
"That is a strong commitment," said Essop.
Morocco has also considered reducing its energy consumption by 15 percent by 2030.
She said the fact that Morocco has set itself a 50 percent target on the use of renewable energy sources by 2025 is very ambitious for a country that relies on gas and fossil fuels.
"Certainly, when it comes to climate action, Morocco is on the path of providing leadership," said Essop.
But Morocco's challenge would be to outpace its predecessor, France, considering the accolades the European country has already received from both the government and civil society delegates at COP 21. The French government and civil society organization's in France, according to Pirrer Cannet, WWF France head of climate and energy, have worked together to facilitate the COP 21 process. The process of negotiation at COP 21 has been described as smooth and progressive in that at the last but one day of the two-week conference, countries were almost moving towards the same direction, something that was no longer happening since Copenhagen in 2009.
"The decision of COP 21 is not the end of the process," said Cannet. "Morocco will have to ensure that the decisions taken at COP 21 are implemented."