Argan Tree: social, economic and environmental sustainability

Last March, thanks to a resolution tabled by Morocco, the UN proclaimed 10 May as “International Argan Tree Day”, already an intangible cultural heritage of ONESCO since 2014. To learn more about this precious tree and the ecosystem that revolves around it, and to celebrate this first International Day promoted by the United Nations, the event “Argan Tree: Social, economic and environmental sustainability“, strongly desired by Abdessamad El Jaouzi, Founder of the association Legami and Head of Sustainable economy of MACTT Ngo, which will have Imprese del Sud as official media partner, and will be supported by many other realities such as NGO Legami, University of Rome Tor Vergata, National Network of Social Farms, Atlantis, NGOs CGIM, LeVert, ASEET and AMIGHA and MACTT Ngo.

The online meeting, which will take place on 15 June 2021 at 10:30 am, will be attended by Italian and Moroccan experts on biodiversity, economics and sustainable development, journalists and testimonies from the world of women’s cooperatives.

Goals

In Italy, Argan oil is very famous, especially in the cosmetics sector, but its many beneficial properties extend to many other fields and applications, from medicine to gastronomy, which the speakers will attempt to illustrate, starting with its genesis, environmental, agricultural and social role, the development of local communities and the empowerment of women, digital innovation and sustainable tourism, and the opportunities and richness of the circular economy around this rare species endemic to Morocco, from planting to production.

Italy and Morocco share many of the typical geo-environmental characteristics of the Mediterranean area, as well as the capacity for resilience, adaptation and agricultural development. This represents an excellent opportunity for cooperation, networking and know-how sharing, also in order to face the challenge of climate change to which they are both subject.

This first event in Italy is intended for all those interested in learning more about the Argan fruit and its ecosystem (students, universities, professionals, journalists, entrepreneurs, cooperatives etc).

Speakers

Moderator

Dr. Abdessamad EL JAOUZI, Founder Legami, Sustainable Economy and International Cooperation

From Italy

  • Prof. Andrea VOLTERRANI, University of Rome Tor Vergata: Community, social development and communication for sustainability
  • Dr. Berardo DI STEFANO, National Network of Social Farms: Social agriculture as a tool for sustainability and integration
  • Domenico LETIZIA, Journalist for “Atlantis”, expert in environment and sustainable development: Geopolitics of Argan and the fight against desertification

From Morocco

  • Eng. Mohemmed BENABBOU, Expert in Climate and Sustainable Development: Geopolitics of Argan and the fight against desertification
  • Dr. Srhir BAALI, President of the National Association of Water and Energy for All (ASEET): Aseet and awareness raising for water and energy saving and resilient and adapted territorial agriculture
  • Houcine ABENKCER, Journalist and Ceo “LeVert.ma”: Arganie and the role of media in raising awareness for sustainable and inclusive development
    Testimonials

Testimonials

  • Dr. Fatima AMEHRI, President AMIGHA, Moroccan Association for the Geographical Indication of Argan Oil: From production to marketing, its applications, the role of women, sustainable tourism
  • Dr. Mohammed JILO, President CMMNC – Ceo CoopMaroc.com: Digital platforms at the service of social cooperatives

The Argan tree: short description

The Argan tree (Argania Spinosa) withstands a hostile environment characterised by water scarcity, risk of erosion and poor soil. It plays an important role in preserving biodiversity, maintaining the balance of nature and combating climate change. In addition to its many culinary uses and its therapeutic and cosmetic virtues, this generous tree has primary ecological functions in maintaining the soil and combating water and wind erosion.

This extraordinarily beautiful ecosystem is not only essential in terms of conservation, but also for research and socio-economic development, thanks to its forest, agricultural and animal use.

It is a versatile tree that generates income and improves climate resilience and adaptation. It plays a very important role in achieving the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – at the local level.

The sustainable argan production sector contributes to the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of local communities, particularly women living in rural areas. Cooperatives help promote local employment opportunities and can play an important role in contributing to food security and poverty eradication.

The argan tree is a versatile tree. The potential for South-South cooperation around the argan tree is enormous. It will allow Morocco to share its know-how with other countries on the continent and will be an opportunity to put Moroccan expertise at the service of Africa’s prosperity. By celebrating this day, we also honour women, farmers and entrepreneurs “

What is Argan oil?

Argan oil is one of the rarest oils in the world and is considered the ‘liquid gold’ of Morocco. It has multiple uses. Its ability to prevent cardiovascular disease and its benefits for the skin are scientifically recognised. Rural women guide the entire extraction process with knowledge passed down from generation to generation.

Recognised as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in 2014, and as a World Agricultural Heritage System by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in 2018, the Aargan Tree has richly deserved its titles of nobility.

Argan Day: a brief history

  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) designated the endemic production area in 1988 as an Arganeraie Biosphere Reserve . All the know-how concerning the argan tree was also inscribed in 2014 in the representative list of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • In December 2018, the FAO recognised the argan-based agro-sylvo-pastoral system in the Ait Souab – Ait Mansour area in Morocco as an ingenious world agricultural heritage system .
  • Finally, in 2021, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 10 May as International Argan Day. The resolution, tabled by Morocco, was co-sponsored by 113 UN member states and adopted by consensus.

This UN resolution recognises the colossal contribution of the argan sector in implementing the 17 goals of the 2030 Agenda and achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions: economic, social and environmental. It also underlines the role of this sector in the empowerment and emancipation of rural women, strengthening the solidarity economy, poverty eradication and human development by supporting and promoting the role of cooperatives and other forms of agricultural organisation active in this sector.

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