Interview: "NDCs are not a shopping list, but a societal project”

Two workers wearing safty helmets cleaning solar panels on a rooftop

Mr. Mohamed Nbou, Director in the Ministry of Environment of Morocco, at the Global NDC Conference; photo: GIZ/Reinaldo Coddou

At the sidelines of the Global NDC Conference in May 2017 in Berlin Mr. Mohamed Nbou, Director in the Ministry of Environment of Morocco, showcased in an interview latest developments related to NDC (Nationally Determined Contributions) implementation in his country. Among others, he explained progress in stakeholder involvement and setting up a carbon market.

After the decisions at COP21, what has been done in Morocco to operationalise the NDCs so far?

As stakeholder engagement and good governance are key to the implementation of the Paris Agreement, we created an innovative institution called ‘4C Maroc’. It’s a national competence centre for climate change mitigation and adaptation in Morocco and provides a platform with four colleges for different actor groups: 1. public sector (including agriculture, energy, mining, and water), 2. private sector (with the financial institutions), 3. NGOs, and 4. universities and research institutions. We believe that NGOs play a central role in raising public awareness of small-scale climate projects. The fourth college reflects the importance of innovation for the implementation of our NDCs. The 4C is a platform that supports the switch from a sectoral logic to an integrated logic.

How does Morocco handle this integration, how do these stakeholders come together?

Morocco’s NDC is very clear - there are two figures that we communicate: We aim to reduce CO2 emissions by 34 % compared to business as usual by 2030 on the one hand and mobilise USD 50 billion by 2030 on the other hand. In order to achieve this objective, we need comprehensive stakeholder mapping and an analysis of where we are at. The mapping and an analysis of the challenges that each sector is facing are the prerequisites for coordinating actions, which in turn is crucial for leveraging synergies between endeavours in different sectors.

We also have to clearly communicate the goals to all stakeholders. Creating a common understanding of the goals is essential for the implementation of our NDCs. We must bring all sectors on board. We also believe that the territories must be better involved in the process of implementing our NDCs. There is a huge gap between national and local stakeholders. Developing a differentiated plan to build capacities that takes into account the different backgrounds and visions of all stakeholders is one of our priorities.

I heard that a convention was signed just recently between the 4C and the Ministry of Finance. What is the purpose of this agreement?

Yes, a study had shown that a roadmap for the finance sector was needed for implementing the NDC. According to this roadmap, we had to begin by connecting 4C with the financial sector. That is why we signed the convention between the 4C and the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry plays a central role in the regulation, and we need regulation and incentives to ensure successful implementation. We also need far-sighted planning and a good understanding of the finance sector in order to take the NDCs from the engagement stage to the investment plan.

How do you intend to involve the financial sector?

The financial sector is already involved. Morocco is a leading actor in renewable energy and we are involving the private sector in all projects through public-private-partnerships (PPP). But there is still a lot to do to fully integrate the private sector into public sector activities. We still have to work on our regulation system. Carbon pricing is very important in this context. We should communicate to the private sector that we have something to offer: a price for the climate.

Do you already have a carbon pricing system set up and, if so, how does it work?

In cooperation with the World Bank, Morocco is involved in a major project called Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR). We are going to set up a carbon market in Morocco which corresponds to the capacity of our market and our NDCs. We have just commenced a study on four axes: The first axis deals with past climate action in Morocco. The second axis looks at the capacity-building potential of regulations. The third axis serves to create an MRV system with a data base, which is essential for carbon pricing. The fourth and final axis is the technical axis, dealing with the integration of carbon pricing into technical data.

We will also launch the creation of a Moroccan ‘G20’, with 20 Moroccan personalities that can influence the carbon pricing system – from CEOs of large companies to people working in finance and administration. We plan to organise dinners and summits with this committee twice a year. It will be a forum for calibrating and adjusting the operational framework of the carbon pricing scheme.

Also, we want to contribute to the COP23 in Bonn through the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition. This international coalition gives us the chance to present the results of our studies and to get the input of climate policies from around the world, thus helping to improve our concepts and our operational framework in Morocco.

How do you go about setting the carbon price?

The first step is to choose the three big sectors. We identified the mining (mainly phosphate), cement, and energy sectors as the first sectors for the introduction of the carbon pricing system. They form the backbone of Morocco’s economy. We will subsequently expand to other sectors.

Is there a particular challenge you are facing in regard to climate politics?

Right now, the balance of mitigation and adaptation is not at the same level, because we don’t have a metric for adaptation projects. We are currently working on how we can set up a procedure to have some metrics for adaptation projects. If you have those, it is easier to get finance from the GCF (Green Climate Fund), for instance.

We’ve now talked about many different aspects. Could you try to summarise Morocco’s main priorities and where you see the next steps?

We have three areas: governance, with the management infrastructure for NDC implementation, the operational framework and the financial framework. At the Global NDC Conference, we had the opportunity to listen to other countries and learn about their successes and difficulties in the NDC implementation process. This input is helping us to adjust our model.

The NDCs are not a shopping list, they are a societal project and that is no easy thing. When we use the term societal project, we are talking about how to involve the whole of society in the NDC implementation process. Right now, we have some technical work to do, but our objective is to transform this technical aspect into something that everybody understands. We do not want people to ask: ’NDCs, what does that mean?’ We want the NDCs to be a societal project that creates jobs, has a social impact and works against exclusion.

Thank you very much!

Participants of the Global NDC Conference 2017 are standing together at a meeting area. Photo: GIZ/Reinaldo Coddou

The Global NDC Conference 2017 was jointly organized by the Support Project for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SPA), the Low Emission Capacity Building (LECB) Programme and the Low Emission Development Strategies Global Partnership (LEDS GP) in collaboration with the NDC Partnership. More than 250 participants from 80 countries and several international organizations shared their
perspectives and experiences in the areas of integrated governance; financing, and transparency for delivering climate goals.