IUCN-Med has been invited to participate in a two-day workshop on equitable medicinal plant trade, biodiversity conservation and local livelihoods in Morocco, which ended on June 1, 2013. It marked the start of a 3-year project funded by a UK Darwin Initiative grant awarded to the Global Diversity Foundation (GDF). The project addresses livelihood improvement and threats to the sustainable harvesting of medicinal roots, particularly among the Amazigh (Berber) communities of the Moroccan High Atlas.
Thirty participants attended the workshop which took place near Tahanaout at the Kasbah Angour. They represented government agencies with jurisdiction over natural resources, environmental and conservation NGOs, scientific and academic institutions, and horticultural organisations.
By asking each participant to reflect on individual efforts and institutional commitments, the workshop created a platform for participants to engage in mutual learning about current initiatives on the conservation and sustainable use of plant resources to improve local livelihoods in Morocco. During this exchange, IUCN-Med presented its historic and on-going projects related to plant conservation and medicinal plants in Morocco.
On the second day of the workshop, the Moroccan Plant and Livelihoods Specialist Group (MPLSG) was formed, ensuring continued communication and cooperation among participants. As part of this emerging national and international network of volunteer experts comprising conservationists, natural and social scientists and practitioners, MPLSG members will contribute to documenting, conserving and sustainably using plant diversity in Morocco, thereby leading to a measurable improvement in local livelihoods and a reduction in the loss of biodiversity. The group will also provide information to the general public on the conservation of plants in Morocco and on the inherent value of species to ecosystem health and functioning, the provision of ecosystem services and support of human livelihoods.
Read more on this project here.