Towards a just and sustainable socio-ecological transformation

On 29-30 November 2018, the Moroccan office of Heinrich Böll foundation organised in Rabat a workshop entitled “Towards a just and sustainable socio-ecological transformation” in order to close the first year of its program TransformAfrica. Participants from different African countries (Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, Kenya, Senegal and Nigeria) and various professional backgrounds (local politicians and members of public administrations, researchers, artists, representatives of civil society and members of the various African Böll offices) met over those two days. The goals of this workshop were the following: to present and discuss the various activities carried out in 2018 within the program TransformAfrica; to bring together actors participating in the program and further actors interested in the issues of socio-ecological transformations in Africa; to reflect on potential strategies to sensitize citizens and to advocate local and national decision-makers. While the second day was dedicated to the reflexion on sensitisation and advocacy strategies, the first day focused on the presentation and discussion of the various activities realised during the year 2018. Following an icebreaker session, where the participants were asked to draw a picture illustrating their view on socio-ecological transformation, the first day was divided into four sessions on the issues of energy efficiency, waste management, urban development and agro-ecology.

The first session was dedicated to the issue of energy efficiency in Morocco and was made up of two presentations by Touria Barradi (Ecole Centrale de Casablanca) and by Samira Lakhlifi from the Moroccan Agency for Energy Efficiency (AMEE). Ms. Barradi presented the results of a survey of 204 households carried out together with students. The survey took place in Sidi Maarouf a district of Casablanca. The results of the survey showed that in spite of a positive evolution of the regulatory and strategic frameworks in the sector of Energy efficiency in Morocco, several barriers (financial, expertise, cognitive etc…) are still holding back the development of energy efficiency practices within Moroccan households. Ms Lakhlifi complemented the first presentation by introducing the institutional point of view on Moroccan energy efficiency. She presented the creation (in 2016) and development of the AMEE and the various projects in which the agency has been partaking since then, illustrating thereby the dynamism of Morocco in this field.  

The second session focused on the issue of waste management in Senegal and Morocco. Two surveys have been carried out – one in Agadir, one in Dakar – on households’ waste management practices. The first survey was presented by Adams Tidjani (Institut des Métiers de l’Environnement et de la Météorologie). The survey targeted 155 households in a socially mixed district of Dakar. The second survey, presented by Cholé Poupeville (surfrider foundation), took place in three different places in Agadir and encompassed 105 individuals. Although the Moroccan survey did concentrate more on the use of plastic bags, both studies have shed light on the diversity of waste than can be potentially sorted within households and on the variety of waste management methods that can be implemented. Moreover, both studies pointed out that the change in perception and practices among the population should be better accompanied by an improvement of infrastructure in place (sorting centers, garbage containers etc.). Finally, both speakers could discuss with the participants, and especially the members of local public administrations, on the potential strategies to follow in order to sensitize the local populations, for instance by creating a guideline for good practices.  

The next session focused on the issue of urban participative development in Morocco and Tunisia. The session was introduced by Chloé Nanix, independent consultant in urban development. She presented the main results of a workshop on participative urban development in Morocco organized by the Böll foundation. Addressing the question of how to better integrate the gender perspective within the urban context, this presentation, based on the Moroccan case, did show the diversity of activities that can be carried out and potential instruments that can be used by citizens, and especially women, in order to re-appropriate the city. Following this, Olfa Chebaane from the Tunis office of the Heinrich Böll Foundation presented the main results from a summer school on citizen participation and urban development held in Tunisia. She gave an overview on various aspects that can be addressed in projects linked to this field (historical perspective, public participation, controversy, decentralization of the urban space, art). Finally, Sabrina Hakim presented the first steps of her association that aimed to develop urban agriculture on rooftops in Casablanca. With their first site on the rooftop of a building called Uzine, the scopes and limits of such a project could be presented and discussed with the participants.

The last session, dedicated to agro-ecology in Africa, was open to the public and organized at the 7ème Art cinema in Rabat. Around 80 persons did attend the screening of four documentaries dedicated to agro-ecological projects in Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and Nigeria. All these documentaries showed how agro-ecology can provide a central contribution to climate change and also represent an important mean of empowerment for women, especially in rural areas. After their diffusion, the documentaries were publicly discussed during a roundtable with the filmmakers and experts on agro-ecology from various African countries. The day ended with a public reception and the presentation of cartoons on water management in Morocco realized by the artists Ilyas Benabou and Marta Bettenzoli.

During this first day, several themes linked to socio-ecological transformations were addressed and presented in different formats (studies, video-documentaries, cartoons). This day revealed the richness of the projects realized and the variety of methods and activities that can be used in order to address the complex issue of socio-ecological transformations. Several commonalities and synergies between regions and sectors were identified and discussed, paving the way for more general reflections on strategies to develop in order to bring forward a just and sustainable socio-ecological transformation.