Young Moroccan Researcher, Imane Saidi, Champions Climate Action and Geopolitics

Imane Saidi praises the introduction of the IMAL initiative in November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh as the inaugural Moroccan think tank dedicated exclusively to climate research. She considers it a valuable platform for promoting climate action in Morocco, tackling climate patterns in Africa and beyond, emphasizing that it is a shared responsibility.

Saidi is a young Moroccan researcher with a strong academic foundation in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies, who has cultivated a keen interest in climate geopolitics. Motivated by her studies, she has emerged as a passionate advocate for climate action within her country.

As a young climate advocate, Saidi is currently working as a diplomacy & cooperation researcher at the Morocco-based and independent think tank called the IMAL Initiative for Climate & Development. The think tank aims to uplift the climate-ambitious and climate-vulnerable voices of the African continent, the Mediterranean, and the Middle Eastern region.

Despite growing up in an environment that prioritizes conventional career opportunities in the public sector, Saidi’s community’s perception of her venture into civil society organizations did not deter her from professionalizing herself in climate research and advocacy.

“Professions within the climate space that fall into the civil society sector are not considered robust and income-generating, as most parents want to raise lawyers, civil servants, and doctors. Society perceives Climate Advocacy as an activity that should be done during your free time, a hobby on the sidelines of your day-to-day life but that is where I found genuine interest and engagement and the opportunity to use my voice as a researcher,” the climate researcher said.

In her efforts to mobilize vulnerable and ambitious voices, communication barriers posed a challenge. Different generations do not speak the same language when it comes to collaboration and strategizing, which affects the broader, collective advocacy efforts throughout Morocco and the region.

“It can be very difficult to foster intergenerational dialogue, action, and collaboration, leaving advocacy groups to work in generational silos instead of merging ideas and efforts on the ground. Moroccan youth-led initiatives are also not always connected to the ones of the continent, despite sharing similar priorities and narratives. This is a drawback in the effort towards climate action across Africa,” lamented the climate advocate.

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Moroccan Climate Leader Imane Saidi

In that regard, the IMAL initiative for Climate and Development is working across the climate action ecosystem (green economy, finance & investment, resilience, and climate diplomacy and cooperation) to activate synergies and mobilize the relevant stakeholders to build common agendas and comprehensively engage with the diplomatic processes that are in play.

“With IMAL, we have made it our personal goal to use research as an advocacy tool to motivate and mobilize youths and other public and private stakeholders in Morocco to take initiative towards synergetic climate action,” said Saidi.

Moreover, Saidi also feels that there is a crucial need for financial education and more adequate funding for youth-led initiatives because most of them have to compete over funding while the rest lag behind in leveraging grants that can boost their activities as climate action advocates.

“Financial literacy in Morocco and the Global South, in general, is still lacking because most local climate action initiatives do not know where to get the proper funding. They are unaware that there are philanthropies that are more than happy to support their activities,” Imane said.

Lastly, the climate researcher calls on those who have not prioritized climate action to take a personal interest in sustainability and climate change science, as the wrath of climate change is inevitable and affects already everyone across the globe. Climate vulnerability exacerbates poverty and inequality in so many ways but is somehow left at the end of the priorities order.

Interview organized by Africa Youth Climate Assembly

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