Rabat: The City of Storks


Last week (25-30 January 2015) with the invitation of FAO Silva Mediterranea Secretariat,   I visited to Rabat/Morocco in order to participate the Steering Committee of the FFEM project and CPMF Steering Committee.

We also had time to discuss Mediterranean side event and pavilion during the World Forestry Congress in Durban, Presentation of the new Forest and Landscape Restoration Mechanism, Fourth Mediterranean Forest Week in Barcelona.

At the first day (25th of January, Sunday) I flew from Ankara to Casablanca via İstanbul by Turkish Airlines. There were three colleagues from Turkey, Nilgün Temerit, Ayşe Ayata Kelten and Kiymet Keleş.  At the airport we met Mr. Youssef Saadani, The Director General of General Directorate of Forests with in the Ministry of Agriculture.

We went to Hotel Mercure in Rabat. It took nearly one and half hour from Casablanca Mohamed V Airport to hotel by a minivan. When we arrive to Hotel it was about 6 pm.

My dear friend, Mr. Hicham Mharzi Alaoui,  from “The High Commission for Waters, Forests and Combating Desertification (HCEFLCD)  of Morocco” welcomed us and we had a quick tour to Hassan Tower and Mausoleum of Mohammed V and the Mohammed VI Museum for Modern and Contemporary Art.



Before the meeting started, I visited to Chellah. Chellah was a center of Christianity since the second century. Apart from historical importance, the population of storks was very impressive. There was also a monster tree.


Chellah is alongside with the The Bou Regreg River.  The Bou Regreg is a river located in western Morocco which discharges to the Atlantic Oceanbetween the cities of Rabat and Salé. I was told that this name comes from “The Father of Storks- in arabic  – Ebu Rag Rag. The number of storks I have seen was a signal of this!



At the second day, 26th of January, Monday, we started to meeting at 2 pm.  The opening ceremony has held by;

  • Mr.Faiçal Benchekkroun, Director of Planning Information Systems and  Cooperation Directorate, from “The High Commission for Waters, Forests and Combating Desertification (HCEFLCD)  of Morocco.
  • Mr. Michael George Hage, FAO Representative in Morocco
  • Mr. François-Xavier Duporge, Secretary General, French Global Environment Facility

Then we followed this program;

  • Monday 26-Tuesday 27 January 2015- FFEM project
  • Wednesday 28-Thursday 29 January 2015-CPMF evaluation
  • Friday 30– Forest Lanscape Mechanism- Possible GEF Regional Project

Agenda of Rabat Sessions in January 2015

Apart from this formal agenda; at 27th of January, Tuesday, together with Turkish Delegation we visited to Turkish Embassy to Rabat and we meet HE Ethem Barkan Öz, the Ambassador and  Tolga Budak, The Undersecretary. Below from left; Ms. Kıymet Keleş, Mr. İsmail Belen, Ms. Ayşe Ayata Kelten, HE Ambassador, Ms. Nilgün Temerit and Mr. Tolga Budak


In the evening of this day, The Plan Bleu- http://planbleu.org/en kindly provided a social dinner.

At the 28th of January, Thursday, we paid a courtesy visit to Mr. Abderrahim Houmy, Secretary General of The High Commission for Waters, Forests and Combating Desertification (HCEFLCD)- http://www.carfu.org/?p=285

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In the evening of this day, my dear friend Hicham M’HARZI ALAOUI hosted us at his home. With this opportunity we were able to test the wonderful Moroccan food prepared by his wife Ms. Nora.  Mr. Khalid Cherki, Chief of Service of Cooperation Service of HCEFLCD was also present with us.


During the lunch, 29th of January, Thursday, we came together; (below from left)

  • Mr. İsmail Belen– The President of Silva Mediterranea
  • Mr. Youssef Saadani– The Director General of General Directorate of Forests with in the Ministry of Agriculture, Tunisia.
  • Mr. Abdelaziz HAMMOUDI– General Engineer of HCEFLCD, Morocco
  • Mr. Christophe Besacier – Silva Mediterranea Secretariat
  • Mr. Michael George Hage, FAO Representative in Morocco
  • Mr. Abderrahim Houmy– Secretary General  (Vice Minister) of HCEFLCD
  • Mr. Chadi Mohanna, Director of Rural Development and Natural Resources of Lebanon, Ministry of Agriculture.


During this mission, Ms. Sabina Bianchini made an interview to evaluate of CPMF and I shared my thoughts as the President of Silva Mediterranea.


Also we had a meeting with Alain CHAUDRON from the International Association for Mediterranean Forests (AIFM)- http://aifm.org/ about possible collaboration between CARFU and AIFM.


  • For several years I have been dealing with FAO and Mediterranean Forestry issues. My master degree thesis was about  chesnut and a brief information about it was published at FAO Non-Wood News in  2002.
  • The  Collaborative Partnership on Mediterranean Forests has been launched in 2010. On September 29th the formal agreement of the Partnership was signed in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • The First Mediterranean Forestry Week has been launched in 2010, Antalya, Turkey. I attended the Second and Third MFW and possible join to Fourth.
  • Turkey become a member of Mediterranean Model Forest Network in 2010.
  • I was chosen as the President of Silva Meditarranea in 2011

Personally, I evaluate this collaboration on Mediterranean Forestry as a real success starting from 1908 by French Foresters. We have an umbrella under FAO and recently we have several projects and initiatives.

During our mission to Rabat, there were some discussions about CPMF and Silva Mediterraena. For me it is not necessary and I have already shared my ideas at my report prepared at 10 February 2014. I also shared some ideas during the 21st Session Opening Ceremony.

In 2015, we have a perfect agenda for international forestry issues.  Two of them are World Forestry Congress and UNCCD COP12. UNFCCCCOP21 is also very good platform for further collaboration and dissemination of our ideas and works.

For bilatarel colloboration between Morocco and Turkey, like the other sector, in forestry sector two countries have wonderful relations and in 2014,  they signed an Agreement.



Letters for Future