France and Morocco have forged strong ties in space in recent years, as illustrated by the framework agreement between CNES, the Royal Centre for Space Studies and Research (CRERS) and the Royal Centre for Remote Sensing (CRTS) on 28 May 2015 in the presence of French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and his Moroccan counterpart Abdelilah Benkirane. This agreement has engaged bilateral cooperation in the exploration and use of space for peaceful purposes and defined the legal framework for future specific accords between CNES and Morocco’s space institutions.
Over the past year, the two nations have organized two seminars, the first in September 2015 in Rabat on satellite imagery applications and the second in March in Toulouse on water resources, agriculture, oceanography and coastal monitoring. The topics addressed at these gatherings were closely related to efforts to curb climate change, since Morocco will be hosting the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) from 7-18 November in Marrakesh.
With this in mind, yesterday’s meeting in Rabat provided the opportunity to review all of these topics just days before the New Delhi Declaration comes into effect, materializing the commitment of the world’s space agencies to implement the decisions reached at the COP21 conference, in particular with respect to regional monitoring of greenhouse gas emissions. The idea behind the declaration is that space agencies will meet regularly to review and coordinate follow-up of space aspects of the agreement reached at the COP21.
After the meeting, Jean-Yves Le Gall commented: “Our cooperation in space with Morocco has advanced greatly in recent months, following the framework agreement signed in Paris a year ago. We are going to step up this cooperation and the New Delhi Declaration now coming into effect on the heels of the success of the COP21 will enable us to move forward and pave the way for the space agenda of the COP22.”