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Women-Produced, Climate-Threatened Argan Oil Industry Illustrates Ways to ‘Recover Better’, Deputy Secretary-General Says on First International Day of Argania

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s video message for the first International Day of Argania, observed on 10 May:

I am honoured to join you to mark this first International Day of Argania.  Argan oil in Morocco and other countries is produced primarily by women and helps contribute to sustainable livelihoods.

I congratulate the Government of Morocco for their leadership in spearheading this day and in safeguarding, developing and enhancing the argan groves that constitute a unique ecosystem with great potential and opportunities for improving the well-being of rural populations and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Sadly, this unique ecosystem is threatened.  Its area has shrunk by around 50 per cent over the past century.  Its genetic diversity is being eroded and there is a risk of biodiversity loss.  The local knowledge and know-how, often ancestral, are also being lost.

By proclaiming the International Day of Argania, the United Nations honours a dynamic illustration of climate adaptation and highlights the importance of the protection of ancestral cultural heritage.  This is also an opportunity to recover better as we shape our response to COVID-19 by ensuring we simultaneously protect biodiversity, empower women economically in rural areas and invest in inclusive economies.

Efforts such as these will be key as we seek to realize the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Decade of Action.  I look forward to working through our presence in country to chart the path of sustainable livelihoods.

For information media. Not an official record.