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Volkan Bozkir (General Assembly President) on International Day of Argania 2021
10 May 2021 -  H.E Mr. Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Agriculture, Maritime Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests,
H.E. Mr. Omar Hilale, Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations,
Ms. Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations,
Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen,
It is an honor and pleasure to help commemorate the first International Day of Argania.
I commend the Kingdom of Morocco for taking the necessary steps to preserve Argania and for raising awareness to its vital role in maintaining ecological balance, preserving biodiversity, and contributing to sustainable development.
I would also like to commend the General Assembly for adopting, by consensus, the resolution recognizing its environmental, cultural, and socio-economic importance, as well as the support of the FAO and UNESCO for recognizing the indispensable and ecological value of the argan tree.
Colleagues, the efforts undertaken by the Kingdom of Morocco have protected and expanded a sector now estimated at over 10% of market share.
Argan oils and byproducts can be found in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, fashion, and food, boosting economic growth both at the local and national levels.
I would like to recognize the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, who launched, in 2020, a flagship project to plant 10,000 hectares of argan trees in Morocco.
This project is a strong example of adaptation to climate change and the promotion of sustainable development for people and the environment.
Colleagues, the work that has been done in Morocco stands as a best practice to be studied and emulated, representing a transformative approach for action on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Local communities working in Argania have benefited from the boost in livelihoods, while the sector has expanded exponentially into newer products.
And the trees themselves support environmental protection by absorbing carbon; fending off desertification and land degradation; boosting water management; and providing a haven for rich biodiversity.
Whether we are talking about poverty eradication; food security and nutrition; climate adaption; decent work and job creation; the empowerment of women; health and well-being; protecting biodiversity; or protecting culture – this 65 million year old tree plays a monumental role in Morocco’s efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda for present and future generations.
I commend the Kingdom of Morocco on the development of its action plan to promote the dynamic conservation of Argan.
Through training on soil and water conservation, to beekeeping and forest conservation, to the empowerment of women-led cooperatives and agro-tourism activities, this plan represents a comprehensive, sustainable and forward-looking approach to resource management.
In closing, allow me to emphasize that we would be remiss if we did not share the experiences of the Kingdom of Morocco, particularly as it pertains to the strengthening of partnerships across sectors, including grassroot actors, for the betterment of all.
Excellencies, dear colleagues, as we aim to make progress on the Decade of Action and to ensure an inclusive, sustainable, resilient, and green recovery from COVID-19, projects such as that of Argania stand out as best practices for us all.
Thank you very much and I wish all the best to your endeavors today.
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