[posted on 24 June 2008]
technical assistance for management of the site of Moulay ‘Abd al-Salâm
ibn Mashîsh and other natural sites with religious values
On the kind initiative
from CVSPA member Dr Zakia Zouanat, Gonzalo Oviedo and Josep M.
Mallarach were invited by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs of Morocco to
visit the site of Moulay ‘Abd al-Salâm ibn Mashîsh, in Jabal La’lâm,
Site of Biological and Ecological Interest of Jbel Bouhachem, to assess
the management conditions and provide recommendations for improvement,
as well as to more broadly discuss the relevance and opportunities of
the protection of sacred natural sites in the context of updating
protected area legislation and policies.
The team made two field
visits to the Jabal La’lâm area, the 9 and 12 of June, and had meetings
in Rabat with various government officials, namely the Minister of Habous and Islamic Affairs, the Haut Commissaire des Eaux, Forêts et
Lutte contre la Désertification, and the Director of Operations of the
Agence pour la Promotion et le Développement Économique et Social des
Préfectures et Provinces du Nord. We also met with the Président-Délégué
of the Fondation Mohammed VI pour la Protection de l'Environnement – a
Foundation presided by HRH The Princess Lalla Hasnaa.
All the meetings were
highly successful for the objectives of the visit, and offered useful
ideas for potential follow-up. In summary, our recommendations were:
relation with the site of Moulay ‘Abd al-Salâm ibn Mashîsh: to
assess more in detail the current management conditions of the area,
as well as the ongoing and proposed works for improving the
infrastructure of the site for both pilgrims and custodians, and
suggest some changes that would ensure that proper environmental
considerations and respect for spiritual and cultural values are
included. It is also suggested to undertake some short-term
improvement measures, such as cleaning and waste management.
relation to sacred natural sites: to undertake an inventory of
sacred natural sites of Morocco, assess their conservation values,
and facilitate integration of the management of such sites in the
national protected areas legislation and policies.
technical tools to guide improvement of management of sacred natural
that the third Delos Initiative international workshop be held in
Morocco in the autumn of 2009, with a focus on (i) international
lessons in integrating sacred natural sites in nation-wide protected
areas planning, (ii) advancing technical approaches and tools to
support such integration in Morocco.
This visit was coordinated
with the IUCN Office for the Mediterranean, in charge of work in North
We submitted a concept
proposing such activities to the Président-Délégué of the Fondation
Mohammed VI for his discussion with HRH Princess Lalla Hasnaa. Depending
on the feedback to these ideas, there might be follow-up work to do by
the Delos Initiative and the IUCN Med Office, which is very interested
in integrating work on cultural and spiritual values across the North