Morocco held Tuesday, in New York, a ministerial meeting on the African Initiative for Sustainability, Stability, and Security (3S), launched at the 1st Africa Action Summit, held in Marrakech on November 16, 2016, on the sidelines of COP22.
The meeting, organized jointly with Senegal and in collaboration with the Secretariat of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), on the sidelines of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum 2018, was marked by the participation of several African environment ministers, as well as senior European officials and international organizations, in addition to Ms. Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD, and Mr. Zhang Jianlong, President of the 13th Session of the Conference Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (COP13) and Minister to the National Forest and Grasslands Administration of China, as per maroc-diplomatique.
On this occasion, the focus was on the great potential of the 3S initiative as an African intergovernmental initiative to tackle the root causes of migration and instability exacerbated by land degradation and climate change.
Speaking as Co-Chair of the meeting, the Secretary of State for Sustainable Development, Ms. Nezha El Ouafi, noted that the 3S initiative could become an instrument to accelerate the achievement of many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a tool for implementing the Global Compact on Migration, endorsed last week by the UN General Assembly and which will be formally adopted next December at an international conference in Marrakech.
The Pact, said El Ouafi, is intended to cover all dimensions of international migration through a comprehensive approach, noting that the text of the Global Compact is quite innovative because it explicitly recognizes the environmental causes of migration and solicits countries to find solutions.
And the Secretary of State to emphasize, in this regard, that "Morocco, under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, intends to mark its South-South cooperation by sharing values, far from any ostentation". "It is in this spirit that we intend to make our contribution, alongside our African brothers, to the building of the 3S Initiative," she said.
Senegal's Minister of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Mame Thierno Dieng, stressed the relevance of this meeting on the 3S initiative, noting the "undeniable link" between environmental degradation and security and immigration issues in Africa.
According to him, there is thus a direct link between the phenomenon of desertification, caused by human activity, and immigration. "The degradation of the environment is pushing young people to risk their lives by trying to immigrate illegally," said the Senegalese minister.
"As a result, the 3S initiative launched in Marrakech is of paramount importance for us to promote security and stability," he said.
For her part, the UNCCD Executive Secretary, Monique Barbut, deplored the fact that today some 1.4 million people migrate each year, while this figure is expected to increase to 3.5 million by 20. years.
"We believe that the 3S initiative offers a new perspective, a promise of social inclusion that goes hand in hand with an environmental management based on the exploitation of Africa's great forces, namely its lands, its traditions and its inhabitants, "she said.
This initiative, she explained, aims to create 2 million jobs and rehabilitate 10 million hectares of land. "It's a bold, ambitious initiative because it's about creating jobs and saving land."