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Photo credit: Louis Hansel/Unsplash

Introducing ECOP Morocco

ECOP Morocco is the Moroccan network for the Africa Regional Node of the ECOP Programme. This is the first national ECOP network in Morocco to engage ECOPs from Morocco towards ocean-related issues. The network will comprise of researchers, doctors, post doctorate, PhD students, and other ocean-related professionals. ECOP Morocco is indeed an extension of the spirit and scientific partnership and knowledge sharing towards achieving the objective of the UN Decade of Ocean Science.

Aims and Objectives

The Moroccan Ocean as other Oceans around the world, face numerous challenges and constraints owing to the recent intensification of human colonization of marine and coastal areas to satisfy the desire for socio-economic growth and development.

ECOP Morocco aims to contribute to the promotion and development of the diverse voices of Early Career Ocean Professionals, through:

➢  Organization of conferences, seminars, and workshops related to the Ocean Decade in Morocco and abroad.

➢     National and international scientific cooperation in relation to the main theme.

➢     The coordination and organization of training and scientific research activities.

➢     The publication and distribution of manuals, reviews, and books related to Ocean issues.

➢     The promotion of any project likely to facilitate the achievement of the objectives of the network.

Meet ECOP Morocco

Join Morocco Node coordinator Hind Azidane and her team: Sophia Laarissa, Houda el Hadad, and Zahra Okba as they talk about challenges ECOPs in their country are facing and propose solutions to overcome these.

This video was released in September 2023 as part of the ECOP coordinators campaign.

Meet your ECOP Morocco coordinators

Hind Azidane

Hind serves as the lead coordinator of ECOP Morocco.  She is a researcher at the Faculty of Sciences in Kenitra and holds a Ph.D. from Ibn Tofail University, specializing in geosciences and environmental studies. In 2019, Hind became the first Moroccan to be accepted into the Nf-POGO Centre of Excellence in Germany. As a researcher with a diverse background in various research areas, Hind later specialized in oceanography. Her enthusiasm led her to explore this field extensively. During her academic journey, she conducted risk assessment analyses, erosion rate studies, beach profiling, and shoreline change analyses along the Kenitra coastline. She also simulated sediment transport processes and coupled tidal processes with wave-induced circulation. Furthermore, Hind conducted research on coastal vulnerability and adaptation, aiming to understand the impacts of climate change, particularly sea-level rise and erosion, on coastal communities. Her work contributes significantly to ongoing climate change studies and the broader field of oceanography.

Zahra Okba

Zahra holds a master’s degree in environmental biology from the University Ibn Zohr, Faculty of science Agadir (Morocco), and is currently a Ph.D. student in Marine biology at the University Ibn Zohr, Faculty of science Agadir (Morocco) and co-founder of AIOFAR ( Artificial intelligence in ocean farming). AIOFAR was awarded the Copernicus masters Madrid regional prize 2022 and the third prize in farming by satellite competition in November 2020. In July 2022 the project was selected as a finalist in the emerging Mediterranean.

Sophia Laarissa

Sophia is a Ph.D. student specializing in the Law of the Sea at Cadi Ayyad University in Marrakech, Morocco. She holds a prestigious national excellence research grant, with her thesis focusing on the “Legal Synergy between the Law of the Sea and International Investment Law in the African maritime context.” Sophia is an active member of the International Cooperation for Development Research Laboratory and the African Network of Deep-water Researchers.  She is one of the fifteen experts in Expert Working Group No. 5 of the Ocean Decade Vision 2030 process and actively engages in national and international events, including the “Women In The Law of the Sea” conference, and “African Day of Seas and Ocean” with ECOP Africa and IOC-Africa. 

Othman Cherkaoui Dekkaki

As a doctoral student in Applied Mathematics with a passion for natural resource management, Othman specializes in mathematical modeling and the application of optimal control theory and viability theory. His research provides insights to aid in decision-making processes related to the management of these resources. Othman has worked as a Research Assistant, teaching and preparing exams, and served as a Student Ambassador where he led the Scientific Vulgarization Commission and was a consultant in the commission of sustainable development. He is an active member of the All-Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance and in his free time is a science communicator and advocate for ocean and climate issues.

Houda el Hadad

Houda is 25 years old, and already obtained her master’s degree in biodiversity conservation at the Faculty of Sciences of Rabat.  She is currently a doctoral student in marine socio-ecology at the Mohammed V University of Rabat. Amother of Houda’s responsibilities is to be an advisor in the Association of Moroccan Youth Biodiversity Network.  In her free time, she enjoys photography, and likes to work on projects that are challenging and help her grow as a person.

Future Activities and Projects

1. Identify challenges faced by ECOPs in Morocco

Nowadays, the ocean is facing several difficulties, especially in Morocco, from overfishing and illegal uses to climate change, the rarity of ocean resources, and the challenges to insure the continuity of the biodiversity of the oceans, and marine ecosystems. An inventory of the challenges and prospects of ECOPs in Morocco will be done through a national ECOP survey and the results will be shared on the ECOP Morocco webpage. To identify solutions to the challenges that would be identified; ECOP Morocco, through various projects are established to propose, experiment, model, and study ocean resources to help the next generation to find solutions and increase the performance of organizations and society.

2. Promote the ECOP Programme and encourage more young Moroccans to join the Morocco Node

Using communications tools and strategies such as social media campaigns, and other national media sources, reach and engage a wider range of ECOPs from Morocco.  In this regard, a WhatsApp group has already been established for ECOP Morocco where members are already sharing ideas, and working together.

3. Ocean capacity development and literacy

An Ocean literate person understands the essential principles and fundamental concepts about the functioning of the ocean, can communicate about the ocean in a meaningful way and is able to make informed and responsible decisions regarding the ocean and its resources. ECOP Morocco will strive to increase ocean literacy in Morocco through several hands on activities:

  • Community awareness through ocean cleanups
  • School visits
  • ECOP school clubs
  • Webinars and conference
  • Creation and dissemination of content relating to Ecop Morocco on social networks (awareness, education and announcements of future events)
4. ECOP Conference

ECOP Morocco plans to hold the first ECOP Africa Conference for ECOPs in Morocco (in 2023).

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