CoP22 on the climate change in Marrakesh: A golden opportunity to the raise awareness of locals and the throngs of visitors on the illegal wildlife trade.

The 22nd session of the Conference of Parties (COP 22) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place from 7 to 18 November of this year, in Marrakesh, in Morocco.

In partnership with the Moroccan association AGIR, as well as with the High Commissioner for Water and Forests and the Fight Against Desertification ('HCEFLCD'), Fondation Franz Weber (FFW) will be there to run an awareness-raising campaign on the illegal wildlife trade.

FFW, the association AGIR, and the HCEFLCD thus have a stand in the Marrakesh airport to raise passenger awareness concerning illegal wildlife trafficking and its consequences. They are seizing this opportunity, with no less than 30,000 visitors expected in Marrakesh for the two-week conference.

Jemaa el Fna Square, with its enormous arch, is a symbol of Marrakesh. It is a popular tourist spot, known for its traditional folk shows—with snake charmers, monkey tamers, and fortune-tellers. Many animals—Barbary macaques, cobras, vipers, and other kinds of snakes have been snatched from their natural habitats and exhibited to many spectators in public spaces.

Morocco is no exception to the trafficking of some of these species and animal parts. This trade affects many species—elephants for their ivory, Greek tortoises, and grey parrots—meant to become ornamental animals or pets. Like for many other species on the African continent, this trade is a serious threat to their survival.

For example, Barbary macaques (commonly called magot monkeys) can only be found in small areas in Moroccan forests and in Algeria now (there are also a few colonies that are still on the Rock of Gibraltar). In Tunisia, they have recently gone extinct. Thus, due to the pressure on these primates, approximately 1/3 of the individuals of this species disappears every year. To a large extent, there is a similar dynamic for ivory, which strongly impacts African elephant populations.

Moreover, the constantly rising migration from Africa to Europe has led to a surge in ivory trafficking, which thus creates a new channel for this illegal trade.

A month after the end of COP 17 of CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora)—where the wildlife trade took center stage in the discussions, Fondation Franz Weber will do everything it can to attract the attention of visitors on the impacts of these practices and this trade on the survival of some species and on animal well-being.

We will share this experience with you, as well as our exchanges with the COP 22 participants, and with all the tourists and visitors we will meet.