The Global Geoparks Network expresses its deepest sympathy and solidarity to the people of Morocco, the authorities of Beni Mellal – Khenifra Region, the local authorities of Marrakech and the colleagues of the M’Goun UNESCO Global Geopark for the devastating earthquake on Friday 8th September, which led to huge loss of human lives and severe damage to villages, houses, public facilities, infrastructure and heritage sites, especially in the rural communities of the High Atlas mountain range.
The members of the Global Geoparks Network, the UNESCO Global Geoparks officials and professionals, and the delegations from 50 countries, who were warmly welcomed in Marrakech for the 10th International Conference on UNESCO Global Geoparks, experienced the shock of the earthquake during Friday night and the subsequent efforts made by the Conference Organizing Committee and the M’Goun UNESCO Global Geopark team to guarantee the safety of the conference participants and to provide help and support.
The Executive Board of the Global Geoparks Network, in close collaboration with UNESCO representatives, supported actively the emergency measures proposed by the Conference Organizing Committee and the M’Goun UNESCO Global Geopark team: to smoothly finalize the Conference, to cancel the Conference Field trips in M’Goun Geopark, as well as to inform all the conference participants on the real situation in the city, the minimal remaining risk and the measures to help stress release, reduce panic and the safe departure of participants from Marrakech after the earthquake.
Taking in mind all the information and guidelines from the Authorities of Morocco, on the morning of Saturday 9th an extraordinary meeting of all the parties involved led to the following outcomes:
- The safety and good health of all colleagues and the conference participants were reported;
- The M’Goun UNESCO Global Geopark provided all necessary support to all participants at the big conference tent next to the Conference Center. The organizers provided lunch in the tent for all participants to ensure their safety and very quickly arranged a highly professional and appropriately sombre closing ceremony. In lieu of a field trip, a visit was organized to the Water Museum to ease stress of the remaining participants;
- Blood donation by the Conference participants to demonstrate their solidarity with the earthquake victims and the people of Morocco;
- The decision that fees paid for the field trips by the participants will be donated to people suffering from the earthquake;
- The M’Goun UNESCO Global Geopark has taken all possible measures to assist participants to move safely to the airports.
In this framework, Global Geoparks Network expresses its deep condolences and solidarity to the people of Morocco, to the authorities of Beni Mellal – Khenifra Region, the local authorities of Marrakech and the M’Goun UNESCO Global Geopark and stands by to support their efforts.
The Global Geoparks Network Executive Board,
Marrakech, 11th September 2023