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The young Moroccan driving climate action (YOUNG CLIMATE ACTIVIST SERIES)

20-year-old Fatna Ikrame El Fanne is ensuring that young Moroccans are fully aware of the dangers of climate change - and the opportunities for climate action.

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When COVID-19 struck in 2020, Fatna Ikrame El Fanne saw an opportunity. She could now engage more young people - who were out of school due to the pandemic - in a campaign to fight climate change.

Together with a team of like-minded friends, El Fanne launched Youth for Climate Morocco. a non-profit that she has used to bring the youth closer to climate action issues and to increase information relating to climate change, climate action, and environmental issues in Morocco.

“What we do at the Youth for Climate Morocco is to create programs and projects that not only raise awareness on climate change but also those that involve the youth and demonstrate to them why they should be part of the positive climate action decisions,” she explained.

Fatna Ikrame El Fanne, co-founder of Youth for Climate Morocco. Photo Credits : El Fanne

By the time she launched her organisation, El Fanne was already a seasoned campaigner. While pursuing her bachelor's in water and environmental engineering, the then-17-year-old was introduced to climate change and the threats it posed to the world through the courses she was taking. She started to take the changing climate seriously and began motivating for actions that could stop global warming in its tracks.

“The course exposed me to the changing rain patterns, drying up water masses, overheating oceans, the flash floods and drought, I could not help but seek to reverse all these,” she said.

She was also inspired by her elder sister, already a climate and environmental activist. In her sister, she found not only support but also a reason to press on as a committed climate action advocate. She could see for herself the impact her sister was making, she explained, simply by making sure more people were informed of the issue.

Fatna Ikrame El Fanne, co-founder of Youth for Climate Morocco. Photo Credits : El Fanne

“I knew there were many young people who didn’t know the impact the climate change situation was creating in the world because many do not get to access this kind of information,” El Fanne explained.

Her target then became young people in Morocco.

Youth for Climate Morocco prepares and circulates digital petitions, plants trees, and holds green education campaigns targeting the youth.

El Fanne is passionate about, among others, sustainable urbanization. She appreciates the progress global leaders have attained in adopting green solutions in the planning and management of urban places but sees a need for the global community to unite to drive the action required to steer humanity out of the crisis.

Fatna Ikrame El Fanne, co-founder of Youth for Climate Morocco. Photo Credits : El Fanne

“The Paris Agreement which essentially is where the journey to climate action began, urged countries to collaborate in this fight at the financial, technical and capacity-building levels,” she explained.

Part of the agenda at Youth for Climate Morocco is to bring youth together to compel policymakers to continue to improve on past commitments - and to remain true to them.

“As young climate activists, we have a moral obligation to be part of making decisions and for that, groups such as the Youth for Climate Morocco have to take the lead role in speaking about regional and global agreements on climate mitigation and how they can be achieved and improved,” she explained.

El Fanne is also passionate about the transition to clean energy alternatives - a path she agrees has not been easy considering the rise in energy demands, the continued dominance of fossil fuels, and Morocco's dependence on imported clean energy infrastructure.

She believes the emission reduction targets will be reached if the youth in Morocco - and more widely, across Africa - know how important it is for them to use clean energy solutions. And that they recognise they have agency, both in a personal capacity and as a united force.

Fatna Ikrame El Fanne, co-founder of Youth for Climate Morocco. Photo Credits : El Fanne

“We, the young people are the majority. In Morocco, the government passed the National Energy Strategy in 2009 which enabled it to have 40% of its energy being drawn from renewable sources. Youths need to know these efforts for them also be part of the solutions,” she concluded.

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