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Environment and development
in coastal regions and in small islands
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ANNEX 5 CSI info 5



Statement by Mr. Ahmed Hafedh, Chief of the Sanitation Service of the Office National de l'Eau Potable (ONEP)

Proposed master plan for waste water treatment in the town of Essaouira

The socio-economic development of Essaouira is responsible for the fact that the pollution problems assume ever increasing dimensions. Thus, with the realization that an effective fight against pollution sources in general and the impact of waste water on the environment and water resources, in particular, is necessary, ONEP could not remain indifferent to this concept. Its involvement corresponds entirely to its formal responsibilities, namely:

From this standpoint, action has been taken by ONEP, in collaboration with the Directorate-General of Local Communities (DGCL), with the aim of establishing a healthy and solid basis for the realization and the management of the sanitation infrastructure.

Present situation of the town's water-treatment system

For the present population of 60,000 inhabitants, the average consumption of drinking water is about 5000 cubic metres per day, of which 80% enter the sewers; that is, 4000 cubic metres per day of waste water are discharged untreated directly into the sea. The town has a water-treatment system of the mixed type with a major part providing unitary treatment and the rest, pseudo-separation treatment.

Domestic waste water mixed with that from the industrial zone is discharged as is, through four outfalls on the north coast of the town.

Problems posed

The presence of deposits in the network results in some collectors being 80% clogged up, owing to:

Assessment of the ONEP's contribution to liquid-waste treatment in Essaouira

Since ONEP took over the drinking-water distribution network of Essaouira, it has included in its priorities its contribution to the solution of the water-treatment problems of the town. ONEP has therefore undertaken a study of the master plan for water treatment, in the context of Moroccan-Belgian co-operation. This began in early-October 1997 and is expected to end in April 1999.

This study is expected to define the technical, institutional and financial proposals for providing, at the least possible cost, solutions to the problems posed by the drainage and removal of waste water. Within the next six months, a programme for the priority phase, covering the needs for the next five years, will be prepared.

While waiting for the completion of the water-treatment master plan, ONEP carried out an expert evaluation in April 1997 of the water-treatment network. This evaluation identified urgent measures that should be undertaken, at a cost of 45 million dirhams. These measures will improve the environmental and sanitary situation.

ONEP has already sought financing from its customary sources, which expressed an interest in the project. It is likely that, before the end of the current year, agreements will be reached. Then, as for the other places for which ONEP has prepared specific projects, ONEP will sign a convention covering the co-management of the water-treatment system for Essaouira.

Statement by Mrs. Svetlana Lalic, representative of Kotor, Montenegro, and of the regional agency of the Montenegro Coastal Water Supply

Action plan for the integrated development of the town of Kotor

The Action Plan that has been prepared for the integrated development of Kotor fixes several primary objectives, specifically concerning the town's water-management, namely:

  1. rehabilitation of the water-supply system
  2. prevention of contamination of the sea water of Kotor Bay
  3. prevention of flooding of the old quarter of town due to rain storms
  4. solution of the problem of solid waste
  5. development of a youth education project on the environment.

Rehabilitation of the water-supply system

The water-supply system of Kotor municipality is very old. Part of the network dates from 1915. Today, with two water reserve zones, it supplies 90% of the inhabitants, but with losses of 50%. The project to rehabilitate the Kotor water-supply system (KWSS) is very closely linked to the project on the construction of the regional water-supply system for the Montenegran coast (RWSSMC), which is the principal development project in the region. This project, started in the 1970s, is ongoing (25% of the system has been built), but its implementation is slow, due to the lack of funds. Its principal aim is to meet the drinking-water needs of the entire Montenegran coastal region, and to eliminate major shortages, particularly in the dry season. The KWSS will be one of the major means of water distribution and should meet the needs of the Kotor area; so a project for the reconstruction of the KWSS seems essential.

The main objectives of an efficient distribution system are:

To achieve a complete rehabilitation of the network, it will be necessary to:

Prevention of contamination of the sea water of Kotor Bay

The Bay of Kotor is one of the places on the Montenegran coast most affected by pollution. Several discharge points are concentrated in a small area, thus contributing strongly to the contamination of surface water. The situation is particularly critical in the inner bay, where urgent intervention is necessary. A project supported by UNIDO for the construction of a sewer system is underway (80% of the network has been built), but its completion requires a lot of work still, namely:

Prevention of flooding of the old quarters of the town due to rain storms

The town's sewer system does not have sufficient capacity to receive run-off and floodwater due to rain storms, which are frequent in thisregion. It is therefore necessary to enlarge the network by constructing an underground retention system to remove the threat to the historical and cultural patrimony of Kotor.

Solution of the solid waste problem

The solution to the problem of solid waste in Kotor falls under a specific project, the documentation for which is still in preparation. This is the Solid-Waste Treatment and Disposal in Montenegro project.

Development of a youth education project on the environment

A population that is responsible and aware of its problems, and that actively participates in decision-making for the future of its town, is indispensable to the achievement of concrete results in urban sustainable development. To this end, it is important that education, from childhood onwards, be concentrated on ecological and environmental problems.

Statement by Mr. Børge Lund Jensen, representative of the Danish Water Supply (DWS) and of Odense (Denmark)

Presentation of the DWS experience: water supply and wastewater treatment

The DWS is a company that handles a dozen large municipalities in Denmark; its objective is to co-ordinate and to spread knowledge and competence in the field of water-resource management.

Thanks to its very solid financial foundation, Denmark has been able, over the last thirty years, to develop this sector strongly, at technical, educative and administrative levels.

Today, this allows DWS to offer its assistance and technical contribution in most fields of water resource management and, in particular, in:

DWS suggests a programme of close co-operation with the town of Essaouira which would benefit from the provision of new techniques and qualified experts.

Statement by Professor Giovanni Campeol, Professor of Urban Planning, Department of Social and Economic Analysis, Faculty of Architecture of the University of Venice.

Identification of the environmental indicators for land-use development

For some time now, the international community has been encouraging the application of "environmentally sustainable" urban planning. It is, however, necessary to clarify the purpose, so as to arrive at truly sustainable development, especially for the most sensitive parts of the ecosystem, notably the coastal zone. The first step to be taken in defining a reliable reference framework is to identify "indicators" for the application of planning instruments, with the possibility of testing their efficiency.

The main problem that urban and rural development policies have to face is the interpretation of the compatibility of objectives related to the various thematic sectors of the various projects. This process can be carried out by conducting research on:

"Environmentally compatible" planning objectives should be pursued at two levels:

Possible "indicators"

Evaluation techniques in the planning process land-use development should identify a complete series of indicators that would allow priority intervention lines to be established and the various actions in ongoing projects to be co-ordinated.

A preliminary group of "indicators" is included in the very definition of an ecosystem, of "ecological" energy flow, of carrying capacity. In other terms, the indicators can be evaluated after determination of the physical limits of the urban context; that is:

Consequently, one should not be limited exclusively to a study that is restricted to the urban area, but one that should include the total area of interaction between the town and its environment, considering, among other things, the available natural resources.

By defining these indicators, it should then be possible to foresee a series of priority actions to improve living conditions in the town and to evaluate the results obtained.


Statement by Professor Wolfgang Rosenthal, oceanographer, member of the UNESCO project Steering Committee

Analysis of the report of the mission to Essaouira in May 1997

The object of the mission of Professor Rosenthal was to analyse the local environment and explain the serious damage to the historic ramparts of Essaouira.

In its present state, the historic town wall is subject to the mechanical force of the waves and to chemical corrosion. Acting together, these two phenomena are destroying the wall and its associated buildings little by little, menacing the inhabitants.

a) Mechanical force of the waves

As historic documents show, wave impact has always been violent. Now, the wave force is such that buildings near the town wall receive the shock waves and the local inhabitants can feel the ground tremble. It is important to stress that, at present, the wave regime near the wall has changed substantially, especially in respect of the presence of corals, which used to form a natural inshore barrier against the waves. A detailed study of nautical charts has shown that today the rocky barrier close to the ramparts has almost completely disappeared; its surface is now hardly visible at low tide. The waves at high tide therefore sweep the bay without attenuation.

b) Chemical corrosion

This phenomenon is manifested by the presence of vast cavities at the base of the ramparts and in the rocks on which they stand. In fact, the rock is highly susceptible to acid liquids issuing from a burst wastewater outfall pipe near the town wall. The rising tide transports this liquid from the pipe to the wall where it destroys the coral foundations of the wall. There are now deep cavities in which the water remains throughout the tidal cycle.

Proposal for treatment - a proposed action plan

To improve the situation, several recommendations can be made, with a view to arriving at:

To attenuate the chemical corrosion due to the infiltration of acid liquids means opening the cavities at the base of the town wall, treating them appropriately, drying them out over several days, and then closing them up. Moreover, it would be necessary to ensure that, at high tide, the water of the bay does not touch the base of the wall, and that, at low tide, the base of the wall also be dry. To achieve this, it is first necessary to attenuate the force of the impact of the waves.

The simplest solution envisaged to reduce wave impact on the wall consists in returning to the situation of many centuries ago; that is, the re-establishment of the former topography of the bay. It would also be necessary to put back the obstacles to the ocean waves, and particularly to establish artifical barriers against the wall, where the corals used to be. The best solution would be to use flexible components, such as geotextiles (very resistant synthetic textiles). Bags made of this material and filled with sand should be piled up to create an artificial barrier. Such artificial rocks should be sufficiently high to emerge above the mean sea level at high tide. Their horizontal disposition should correspond approximately to that of the natural rocks in the past. This technique is considered to be a very promising solution.

If financial decisions are taken rapidly, a first protective wall of artifical rocks could be ready as soon as the summer of 1998, so that, during the winter of 1998-1999, the force of the waves against the wall would be significantly reduced.

Following the mission of Mr. Rosenthal, another expert mission (22-25 August 1997) was carried out jointly by Messrs. Perrot and Ropert, of the Cultural, Scientific and Co-operation Service of the French Embassy in Morocco, with the aim of resolving urgently the problems raised by the ramparts of Essaouira.

Study of the report of the expert mission carried out by Mr. Alain-Charles Perrot, Chief Architect for Historic Monuments

As was stressed by Mr. Rosenthal, the ramparts of Essaouira are in a bad state, especially the wall curtains facing the sea. The diagnosis of the ramparts has shown that the causes are essentially of three kinds:

  1. attack by rain water
  2. attack by wind
  3. attack by the sea.

If the attack by the sea is the strongest, the direct action of wind and rain on the ramparts should not be under-estimated.

1. Attack by rain

Changes in the ramparts due to rain water and run-off water are mainly identifiable by the horizontal bands on the ramparts, which show the degradation of the plaster used to protect the lime. Once the plaster becomes detached, the water attacks the exposed masonry and the consequences are much more serious. The most effective method of protecting the wall consists of replastering the wall. This work, which should be done regularly, should not await the total disintegration of the mortar. This work will comprise:

2. Attack by wind

Changes in the ramparts due to the wind are mainly found on the seaward face. The wind acts not only on the plaster but also on the exposed wall surface, abraiding the mortar and the stonework. Ordinarily maintenance of the ramparts would ensure the upkeep of the affected plaster and the re-cementing of the stonework if this become detached, or its replacement if it was badly affected. In Essaouira, however, the lack of upkeep for many years has created a serious situation that calls for much greater attention:

Urgent intervention designed to prevent major collapse due to weathering is essential for the part of the wall with a fountain, between Hassan II Square and the Skala.

In certain sections, specially facing the sea, houses have been built against the wall. From the structural standpoint, this seems desirable, since the house walls contribute to the stability of the ramparts. However, the guard walkways of the ramparts should be made impermeable to water and to the domestic waste water, the more so, since, at present in the Jewish quarter, the walkways have been transformed into latrines; it is not only water that penetrates the wall but also organic matter.

3. Attack by the sea

Wave impact occurs essentially on that part of the curtain wall protecting the Jewish quarter up to the corner tower of the Bab Doukala Gate. In this part, there is a real danger of collapse. The work required here is therefore the most urgent but also the most difficult and most costly.

Diagnosis of the state of the ramparts

As noted already by Mr. Rosenthal in his report, an examination of the ancient topography shows that, since the 18th century, whole rock barriers, which were the main natural defence of the ramparts, have now disappeared. Attack by the sea is now extremely fierce; during storm surges, the waves on this face may be up to 10m high. The masonry in this part of the ramparts cannot resist such force. There is therefore a great need to create an effective breakwater in front of the ramparts so as to limit the force of the waves reaching them. The solution envisaged by Mr. Rosenthal - an artifical barrier of geotextile bags - seems most interesting.

From the architectural point of view, the situation is no better. Houses have been built all along the ramparts and most of them are very old. Some have even crumbled and many have been abandoned, but most are still inhabited.

On the outer side, the curtain walls are in variable condition. The upper parts are in relatively good condition. The lower parts, in contrast, are in a poor state due to the impact of the sea. Slow erosion of the rampart foundations has been observed for many years. Some very deep cavities exist in the rocks underlying the ramparts.

One factor that contributes greatly to the deterioration of the ramparts is the state of the sewer system of the old town:

Work proposals

The state of the buildings and walls is such that work should be started without delay. Three phases may be distinguished:

Urgent work

Medium-term work (2-3 years)

This work will counteract erosion by the wind and sea:

Long-term work (to be decided)

This covers the overall restoration of the ramparts. It implies restoration of the Jewish quarter; recovering its former glory, while respecting what remains.


The complexity of the work to be undertaken calls for programming in several phases:

It would be very useful to train the municipality's masons in all necessary techniques, so that the restoration work could be followed by regular maintenance, as was done in the past.


Statement by Mr. Abderrahmane Chorfi, consultant to the UNESCO Essaouira project, UNESCO Office in Rabat

The state of the projects of various national and international partners, ongoing or foreseen, in Essaouira

  1. Creation of a centre for reflection and urban action, and an old-town group (Cellule Medina). A decentralized municipal structure will be set up and will comprise:

The Cellule Medina and the related services centre will be located in the old Palais de Justice.

  1. The availability of a neighbourhood house (House of Charity) for a social centre; the agreement has been finalized.
  2. Restoration of the ramparts. A report, including proposals for the restoration of the ramparts, has been prepared by Mr. Perrot, Chief Architect, Historical Monuments and Buildings, Paris, with the support of the French Co-operation. Work will begin as soon as possible.
  3. The Portuguese church. A survey was carried out by Spanish students in the summer of 1997.
  4. Bab Doukkala. The restoration undertaken by the municipality and the Heritage Office is well advanced (about 60%); the gate should be transformed into a municipal gallery.
  5. Building of a documentation centre in a former Anglican church. The project is ongoing; it is supported by GERPE.
  6. Creation of children's nursery in the Jewish quarter. A 600-square-metre plot has been set aside for this purpose, but the work has not yet started.
  7. Project for the restoration of the Naval Gate and the Skala in the port. A restoration project has been started; some work has been done under the supervision of the Heritage Office.
  8. UNDP project. Several public fountains have already been restored. The project foresees, among other things, the creation of guest rooms. A UNDP team will be set up to work with Agenda 21 in the old Palais de Justice.
  9. Master plan for wastewater treatment. The second phase of the study has started and has been assigned to a Belgian office that will work with the Moroccan BET (CGS) which carried out the first phase.
  10. Pilot project in the Jewish quarter. The project has been submitted by Agenda 21 to the ANHI.
  11. Development of a buffer zone between town and dunes, creation park in the dunes. The project is underway:
  1. Controlled discharge. Studies, and proposals, have been made (mini-projects on composting, solid-waste treatment, garbage collection).

Statement by Mr. Zoubeïr Mouhli, ASM Tunis (Association for the Safeguard of the Old Town of Tunis - Municipality of Tunis)

Policy of intervention in historic areas

A good policy of intervention in historic areas is based on the preservation of the historic centre and its cultural identity. This type of challenge has already been met in Tunis, as in many other Mediterranean towns.

The old town of Tunis

Subject to various conquests since antiquity, Tunis only became really famous at the end of the 7th century AD. Its entrenched position affords it first-class strategic and defensive advantages. The general configuration of the place (between a lake to the east and a lagoon to the west) determines the nord-south axis of its urban development. The site incorporates a central area, the old town, and two suburbs. Boulevards constructed on the site of the old ramparts bound this urban unit and separate it from the rest of town. The historical centre of Tunis covers 270 hectares and has over 100,000 inhabitants. The old town today constitutes the historic centre around which new suburban and residential areas have developed.


The Association for the Safeguard of the Old Town of Tunis is the first of its kind in the Arab world; it was created by the municipality in 1970. Its mission is to help the city of Tunis to maintain its life style, its traditional treasures, its architectural and urban characteristics, while allowing development, which, of course, should be achieved without incurring any marginalization of specific groups.

An ASM strategy has gradually been created:

  1. At the level of statutory management, by giving the ASM the technical and scientific tools, as well as a multidisciplinary team to:

This has allowed the preparation of a development plan for the city of Tunis, which proposes a specific arrangement for the old town, including any future action for the safeguard of its urban fabric. It was only in 1994 that the Heritage Code promulgated a law definitively incorporating plans for protection and development, as well as specifying the areas to be preserved.

  1. At the level of creating awareness of the problem, by developing a plea for preservation and rehabilitation and demonstrating that this is culturally enhancing and socially necessary. From now on, preservation and enhancement of historic towns will depend on the degree of awareness of technocrats.
  2. At the level of actions and projects on the ground, by seeking to maintain a balance between conservation of cultural heritage and the evolutionary reality of the city. The final aim being no doubt to enhance the latter.

The first opportunity taken by the ASM to become involved in operational projects in the old town was the restructuring of a working-class district: the Hafsia, a former Jewish quarter in the old town. The second opportunity was the "oukalas" project in which the political will to resolve the problem of overhousing became very clear.

Considered as a pilot case by the World Bank, the Hafsia restructuring project, which the Bank co-financed to the extent of 40%, was carried out in two phases.

The first phase included new construction which called old urban development into question. This first phase was awarded the Aga Khan Prize in 1983. The second phase was an integrated project involving the municipality as construction supervisor and the ARRU (Agency for Urban Rehabilitation and Renovation) as assistant supervisor.

One of the primary objectives of this project is the rehabilitation of existing buildings, ensuring that every family has an independent home.

At the level of town development, the Hafsia project was conceived to ensure urban homogeneity between this new development and the old urban fabric.

The "oukalas" (houses abandoned by the first owners and rented by the room) have historically been insanitary and overcrowded. The oukalas rehabilitation programme is based on a strategy of intervention according to the urgency and the degree of degradation of the building. this results in two categories: those that are not recoverable and which should evacuated immediately and demolished, and those that are recoverable and which should be rehabilitated and cleaned thoroughly:

The main objective of the rehabilitation of the oukalas is to assist in the restoration of degraded but historically important housing, thus improving the general housing stock of Tunis.

  1. At the level of enhancement of historic monuments, the old town of Tunis has numerous unclassified historic monuments. Since 1960, about forty monuments have been restored, through private as well as the public level funding.
  2. At the level of the old-town neighbourhood. By carrying out a policy of direct intervention to raise public awareness of the necessity and the urgency of increasing efforts in the preservation and protection of the heritage of the European town adjacent to the old town, since it also is of significant architectural and historical interest.

In conclusion, the projects carried out by the ASM mark an important stage in the evolution of urban policy in Tunisia which is turning towards formal recuperation of the historical heritage of town centres.

Statement by Mr. François Dubin, President of PACT ARIM International

Rehabilitation of the urban fabric, whether in a country of the Maghreb, Latin America, or central Europe is, without doubt, an effective response to the difficulties confronting the owners of somewhat rundown buildings, and tourists seeking less "elitist" tourist destinations while still requiring decent lodgings.

Efficient rehabilitation cannot be achieved without taking into account the notion of sustainable development: rehabilitate today, but for future generations.

The notion of sustainable development and rehabilitation of historic buildings begs various questions:

In Essaouira, there is another problem: there are too many doctors. A strong political will is needed to establish an effective local medical structure.

The actions to be undertaken require a strong will, and political support, if they are to be carried out.

A list of priorities for intervention must be established, as follows:

Statement by Mr. Gérard Fourestier, President of ADEFRAM (Association for the development of exchanges between France and Morocco

ADEFRAM is an NGO that, for the last ten years, has been developing various programmes in Morocco in partnership with Moroccan and French organizations. The ADEFRAM co-operation project proposes an exchange of experience, know-how and technology amongst French and Moroccan artisans. This exchange takes place through the the Working Man's Association of "Compagnons du Devoir du Tour de France" (which has since become the Tour of Europe, the USA and Morocco). The Compagnons du Devoir was started by the cathedral builders of the Middle Ages. Now, 12,000 young people in France are apprenticed in the hostels and centres of the Compagnons. After an apprenticeship comprising practice and theory; practical work by day, theoretical work in the evening, in the Hostels of the Compagnons; the apprentices become craftsmen in their chosen trade and travel abroad to transfer their knowledge. The training of a Compagnon is accomplished as an itinerant journeyman. The aspiring Compagnon spends five to seven years in France, although nowadays more and more in the rest of Europe and overseas. He spends about six months in each town in contact with old workers and master craftsman, refining his ability, broadening his knowledge, his professional experience and, above all, enriching his humanity. A Compagnon is therefore a practician and a teacher.

In Essaouira, a project to rehabilitate buildings was proposed at the Summer University in September 1997. The proposal consists of the creation of a "teaching work site" where maâlems and young Moroccan trainees can learn according to tradition. The exchange programme covers various crafts: masonry, stonecutting, joinery, cabinet-making, etc. The teaching work-site will start at the beginning of 1998, with the rehabilitation of a building in the old town which will require the know-how of several crafts. The trainers will come from France and will work in two six-month sessions with their accommodation provided by the Moroccan authorities.

Three sites have been proposed for urgent rehabilitation:

The building chosen for the first teaching work-site is the former French Consulate. A Steering Committee has been established under the authority of the Governor for the supervision of the project. Finance is provided by the Ministry of Public Works.

Statement by Mr. Pascal Canonge, School of Avignon

Effective rehabilitation of historic urban fabric requires adequate training of young building technicians and should be accompanied by precise actions, such as:

The training of young building technicians calls for courses lasting 3-4 days, up to a week; however, this process has several limitations; namely:

This work could be done with MEDA/CORPUS and the fifteen countries of the Mediterranean basin.

Statement by Mr Abdelaziz Belkeziz, Director-General of ANHI (National Association for the Fight against Insanitary Habitation)

The degree of insanitary accommodation in the old town of Essaouira

The major part of the insanitary accommodation is in the centre of the old town, in the Jewish quarter. 50% of the population of the city lives in the old town, at a density of 2000 inhabitants/hectare in the Jewish quarter and of 1000 inhabitants/hectare in the rest of the old town. Nevertheless, the city of Essaouira has no shantytown in its vicinity.



30,000 hectares of land have been chosen for the reconstruction and relocation of 2000 households, with a budget of 70 million dirhams.


The rehabilitation project will call upon the PACT ARIM Association. The rehabilitation of the buildings housing 2000 households is necessary and should be carried out with effective preservation of the heritage while maintaining ownership status and without population displacement.

Intervention strategy:

Statement of Miss Wafâa Wessous, Bibane al Medina Project

Project on the restoration of house doors in cut stone, in the city of Essaouira

One of the characteristics, indeed one of the urban and architectural features, of the old town of Essaouira that gives it its charm and originality is the cut stone that forms not only the architraves of the rampart gates, but also those of most of the front doors.

What is the importance of these doorways? They are both a historic and an ornamental wealth. The city of Essaouira was born out of a desire for union between men and women of several countries, cultures and different origins, all moved by ideals of tolerance and openness towards others. These ideals can be found inscribed above most of the city gates, making them veritable witnesses to the past. A victim of time, this wealth of cut stone, which is both visible and hidden, is slowly disappearing. Most of the street archways and doorways in cut stone have been whitewashed, painted over or covered with cement.

The "Bibane al Medina" (City Gates) project is therefore aimed at:

The objectives of this operation are, therefore:

These actions can only be carried out with the collaboration and support of several institutional partners, among which are:

At the local level:

At the national level:

It is the concept of participation that will be the cornerstone of this project.

Statement by Messrs. Abderrahim Harabida and Ahmed Harrouz, Association for the Exposition of Plastic Arts

Rehabilitation of the site of Sidi Kaouki

The case of the site of Sidi Kaouki is especially close to the hearts of the people of Essaouira. It is situated 20km from the city; the zaouia (tomb) of the holy man (also known as the "guardian of the ocean") retains the marks of a whole cultural and spiritual heritage, and has become a symbol of cohesion of the tribes throughout the region. The site is also the expression of a particular type of architecture, which is being progressively degraded. Likewise, the harmony of the site of Sidi Kaouki is threatened by advancing decay, adversely affecting the environmental equilibrium as well as its possibilities as a tourist attraction.

The need to act is now essential at Sidi Kaouki, to ensure the intervention of experts and follow-up by specialists other concerned partners.

Statement by Mr. El Mostafa Hbibi, Historical Monuments Architect at Essaouira

Presentation of a project for conversion of the former Danish Consulate (now occupied by 16 households) into a cultural centre

This project is proposed by the local UNCHS/Habitat group and is aimed at restoring and rehabilitating the Danish Consulate a 17th century building.

This project has value as an example to:

The conversion of the Consulate into a cultural centre would include the establishment of:

Statement by Mr. Med. Tita, Directorate-General of Urban Development, Architecture and Land-use Development

What type of urban development and architecture will preserve and enhance historical heritage?

Since the start of new land-use development schemes and new urban systems, more and more distant from Moslem tradition, ancient urban structures and old towns find themselves disarticulated and disorganized. They feel the effects of socio-economic changes and exhibit all the signs of degradation of the building stock; lack of facilities and overpopulation. In spite of these negative aspects, the old town remains a very dynamic economic focal point, a focus of urban integration as well as a point of reference of architectural and artistic value.

The awareness, however late, of the critical state of old towns has brought out the importance of saving them. However, the absence of an overall intervention strategy for old towns, the lack of means and the extreme vulnerability of the traditional fabric constitute strong constraints on preservation.

As to re-evaluating and preserving the national architectural heritage, the Ministry of the Interior, through the Office of Urban Development and Architecture, has launched a programme of research on the preservation of old towns, which incorporates an architectural study of the old town of Essaouira.

The object of this study is the old town as an architectural and urban creation bearing witness to a particular civilization and its evolution.

The fundamental objectives of this study are:

This study should lead to concrete proposals. The study falls into two main categories:

  1. elaboration of an analytical report and general diagnosis, to have available a source of detailed information on the architectural heritage of the old town of Essaouira
  2. elaboration of a research report and proposals, containing solutions at the urban-planning, architectural, technical and regulatory levels.

At the general level, the recommendations should concentrate the following points:

These needs constitute the basis of the intervention programme for the improvement of the standard of living in the old town of Essaouira.

Concerning the institutional and architectural framework, it is necessary to:

Another important point to be underlined regarding the rehabilitation of the old town is the lack of special documents on urban planning from the development standpoint. At present, to discuss intervention strategies for the old town requires the establishment of a judical and operational framework to regulate work on the old buildings. In this regard, the Office of Urban Development and Architecture has initiated the preparation of a preservation plan aimed at the development of the old town taking into account its cultural and historical aspects and its present socio-economic reality.

Finally, the preservation of the old town should not be limited simply to rebuilding the physical structure, but should take into account its complexity as a living historic organism and thus be part of a larger organism, the city itself.

Statement by Mr. Khalid El Assal, Architect, Chief of the Multidisciplinary Team for the Preparation of the Preservation Plan for the Old Town

Presentation of the Preservation Plan for the Old Town: Operational Actions

The preservation plan is above all a plan of action with a global vision within an overall development perspective. The rehabilitation of the historical buildings should in effect go beyond an approach to rehabilitation essentially reduced to the conservation of the physical framework. The plan sees the old town in terms of its spatial, cultural and historical components, placing it in its socio-economic context and relaunching it as a dynamic, self-regenerating system.

The action plan is based on the following actions:

Preparation of a scheme to define the current position and detail the work needed:

The scheme will describe the area to be preserved in terms of: zoning, city planning, the architectural value of the buildings, and areas in need of specific work

Creation of a register of architectural descriptions, the objective is to record the architecture of the city reflecting the architectural features specific to the old town of Essaouira. It will also serve as a guide to new architectural development.

Preparation of high-impact projects, for the enhancement of the development potential of the old town, stressing their impacts on the social, economic, cultural and spatial aspects; for example:

Localization of integrated projects of strategic importance, namely:

Evaluation of tools

Preparation of the architectural study of the old town of Essaouira and drafting the preservation plan require detailed investigations, ranging from bibliographic research (documents on urban planning, comparable experience in other towns) to field studies (of the different components of the urban fabric through on-the-spot enquiry).

Statement by the Assistant to Mr. K. El Assal

Architectural analysis of the old town of Essaouira

The analysis of the fabric of the old town of Essaouira and the buffer zones, as well as the port extensions should be considered under two headings:

  1. analysis: diagnosis plus study at the socio-economic and architectural levels
  2. specific actions: creation of a register of architectural descriptions taking into account the fact that the rehabilitation of the urban fabric requires the establishment of a specific judicial and ownership framework, different from the current system.

This type of analysis, if properly done, will back Essaouira's bid to be included in the World Heritage list.

The main objective of the rehabilitation of the old town of Essaouira is to preserve its identity while allowing it to develop socio-economically and structurally.

Statement by Mr. Jawal Mejid, private office

Architectural analysis of the old town of Essaouira

Analysis of the urban fabric requires, among other things, the preparation of a financial framework relating to the context, with a feasibility study, including costs, for the development projects.

Where do we stand with this analysis, and what is the effective progress in this study? The enquiries already undertaken (40%) are:

Statement by Mr. El Houda, Architect in Marrakesh

Urban planning and architecture are not able to solve all the city's problems.

There is a moral duty on the part of the institutions and the partners involved in the various projects to bring to the attention of the local population and associations all the problems of the city and to get them to participate, as far as possible, in the activities intended to resolve these problems.

There is a need for urgent intervention in:


Statement by Mr. Fethi, member of ASPDE (Association for the Safeguard, the Promotion and Development of Essaouira)

Brief description of the project "Public mobilization and involvement"

The project in question deals principally with the following elements:

After a discussion of the principal objectives of the project, the following problems and subjects of reflection were brought up:

Statement of Mrs Kawthar Gazoulit, Landscape engineer, UNCHS-Agenda 21 - "Green Belt/Essaouira Park" project

The Green Belt/Essaouira Park project

The Green belt project falls within the programme "Localizing Agenda 21, planning actions for sustainable development". Its object is to translate the components dealing with human habitat in Agenda 21 into specific local action.

The aim of the programme is to make local administrative authorities focus on ways to improve the quality of urban life. However, by agreement, the programme may generate actions that presuppose the participation of other actors (public, private, NGOs, the population).

Project objectives

The project on the green belt of Essaouira is part of the overall process of development. It has three different, independent functions: it is a project of urban and environmental utility; it will encourage people to view their human, social and cultural heritage as a part of their everyday life; it will give the population an ecologically sound public space.

Protective function

Stabilization of the dunes will encourage retention of water which will in turn favour the growth of trees. Trees produce organic matter and fix nitrogen this will favour the establishment of a natural equilibrium (cover for fauna and flora), and a return to the original richer ground cover.

Initial stabilization of the dunes will begin to protect this fragile natural space that is seriously threatened by urbanization. Extensive planting at the boundaries of the city and a bar on all construction will be the next step. This will limit the build up of sand in the city, across roads and in the sewers. The green belt will form a clear cut limit to the city's tendency to expand.

Structural function

The structural function of the green belt is to control urban growth. The fragility of the dune environment and its protective function obliges developers to take particular care. Proposals for the design of the park take these features into account.

Public amenity

There is a growing demand for improved environmental quality and for leisure areas. This leads to the proposal that positive measures be taken to achieve a better use of the land in this sense. The aim is to have a functional and active green belt that contributes to sustainable tourism and sets off a process of development in the region. The green belt has a role in promoting numerous local projects in the run-down eastern districts of the city.

The project components

Natural components

Physical components

Cultural components

Essaouira has several advantages that give it a special appeal. It is considered to be a city of creativity and creation. The needs of its citizens for leisure areas, sports and walks is evident.

Project concept

The park fits easily into the natural structure of the place, respecting it and enhancing it, but, in parallel, the park is an element of urban development built into nature. The green belt responds to the threefold need to channel urban growth while protecting the wild areas and opening some of them to the general public.

Statement by Mrs. Khadija Belfakir-Kabbaj, Deputy Representative of the UNDP

Presentation of the UNDP programme "Support for the protection of the environment, natural resource management and the promotion of renewable and replacement energy" and of the sub-programme "Support for environmental action in Essaouira"

The main aims of the project are:

This support project for the implementation of the Concerted Environmental Action Plan for the City of Essaouira is part of the effort made, through the national strategy for the protection of the environment and sustainable development for the protection of the environment, to promote a higher standard of living and equitable socio-economic conditions.

The Concerted Environmental Action Plan for the City of Essaouira, which was prepared with the help of the Moroccan National Environment Observatory (ONEM), incorporates several components, such as the management of solid and liquid wastes, water resources and hygiene, protection of the coast and education on environmental action.

This project will encourage participation by inhabitants of the old town, elected municipal officers and municipal technicians, the local and provincial administrators.

The project "Localizing Agenda 21: planning of sustainable urban development", being carried out jointly by the UN Centre for Human Habitat and the municipality of Essaouira, has already, in this respect,awoken a local interest and stressed the value of an integrated view of development in the city. As a complement to the efforts already made, the proposed project will test the efficiency of an approach to integrated development based on local participation and partnership.

The overall objectives of the environmental action project in Essaouira are the improvement of the quality of the daily life of its inhabitants and the preservation of the local urban, architectural and natural heritage.

Proposed strategy

The environmental strategy proposed for the city of Essaouira falls within the national strategy for the protection of the environment and sustainable development, and of the national action plan for the environment (PANE), which stress the need for local, multisectorial and integrated action, based on effective mobilization and participation of various environmental activists. The strategy recommended combines environmental protection, improvement in the standard of living, and the urban and economic development of the city.

Potential participants in the project are:

Immediate objectives and expected results of the project

The project has three principle objectives:

1. To strengthen local skills by:

2. To improve local environmental management by:

3. To initiate development by:

Statement of Mr. Abdellah Aboulhassani, Tourist Officer for Essaouira

While being, overall, a country with a vocation for tourism, Morocco is only exploiting 10% of its tourist attractions The public authorities have therefore been giving top priority to this sector in socio-economic development plans for several years, which has lead to a remarkable expansion in most of the country. Nevertheless, the city of Essaouira seems to have remained largely outside this growth. Why?

A study was made to identify the obstacles and problems facing development in this sector in Essaouira, with a view to defining an alternative type of tourism that could be developed in this city, a marvellous place well known for its undoubted natural and cultural qualities.

One of the main objectives is to remove the image of Essaouira as being simply a stopover on the way to Marrakesh or Agadir, and to turn it into a holiday destination in itself, with a separate identity from its neighbouring tourist destinations. Essaouira has a cultural side, a resort side and, something unique, its "green", or ecological, side.

In short, to develop of a sustainable alternative tourism, Essaouira must be able to exploit its attractions while respecting its cultural and natural heritage: the old town and its surroundings, the bay, the forests and the mountains, not forgetting the dunes, the sea and the breeze. Essaouira, without getting into competition with Marrakesh and Agadir, must develop and promote theme tourism of high quality.

Alternative tourism

  1. Cultural tourism

From the historical point of view Essaouira has witnessed the passage of several civilizations, cultures, races and religions. The old town, with its rich architectural heritage, its artistic and craft activities, is doubtless to be appreciated for its uniquness. This rare richness can only be developed and preserved by taking the following action:

  1. Bathing resort

The province of Essaouira has 200 km of beaches and its sea breezes make its bays and beaches excellent seaside areas, not only for swimmers, but also for aquatic sports such as windsurfing. The infrastructure necessary for development of this sector is inadequate. A variety of measures are necessary to develop seaside tourism:

  1. Ecotourism

The area around Essaouira consists of mountains, dunes, beaches and forests with a rich fauna and flora and an extraordinary cultural heritage. These surroundings could attract eco-tourism that is much sought after nowadays. This type of tourism requires roads, paths, parking areas, camp sites, rest places, the training of guides and many other inputs.

  1. Tourist accommodation

The study on the development of touism in Essaouira identified a need for accommodation such as:

The draft Tourists' Charter

The Provincial Tourist Office and the Agenda 21 team have drafted the "Tourists' Charter", based on principles defined by the World Conference on Tourism, held in Lanzarote in 1995. Its primary objective is to preserve Essaouira's cultural and natural heritage while promoting sustainable tourism that will contribute socially, economically and culturally to the city. The Charter defines the tourist attractions of the city and the region, and the lines of development required to achieve sustainable tourism. It defines the actions necessary to achieve this result.

Statement by Professor Giovanni D'Ayala, President of the NGO "INSULA", Paris

Regarding the development of "alternative" tourism, it is important to underline the fact that many steps have already been taken, with greater or lesser success, by other countries trying to diversify their offer relative to mass tourism.

Alternative tourism must therefore be conceived in a spirit of innovation relative to current experience, so as to be able to face international competition. It would be convenient therefore to diversify this sustainable development by parallel development in other economic sectors, such as fishing, which is traditional in Essaouira, and handicrafts, for example. Moreover, attention should be concentrated on the important and unique advantage that Essaouira has, its old town. A key element in raising awareness and thereby increasing its competative adge would be the inclusion of Essaouira on the World Heritage List

Statement by Mrs. Maria-Luisa Gentileschi, Professor at the Department of Economic and Social Research, University of Cagliari, Italy

Population and the economy of small coastal cities: indications of development

Territorial policies have, over the years, produced various dispositions of the coastal zone, in the Mediterranean basin as elsewhere. The typology of the coastal city in the Mediterranean has, in fact, been profoundly marked. Development still to come can therefore be based on a strategy of intervention corresponding to precise policies, implemented by the following actions:

At the local level, it is first necessary to define the policies likely to play a significant role in the development of small ancient coastal cities, which, on the one hand, risk not being able to benefit from investment inflow and, on the other, being completely ill-suited. Accommodation and tourist policies take priority in such cases, not only to control spontaneous trends but also to set up new functional units able to integrate the city into a process of development that respects the historical and urban heritage, while paying attention to the housing needs of the population.

The tourism sector has concerned itself with coastal areas where development has slowed, whereas development policies have been established to meet the demands of population growth. It is now a question of combining these two realities in the same design.

Territorial policy should aim at:

Moreover, it is necessary to protect the old part of the city from population influxes from the countryside, through, for example, the creation of "intermediate opportunities" - between the areas of origin of these influxes and their destination on the coast - that is to say, re-equilibration towns, new production installations or commercial agriculture areas. A regional intervention project would undertake to moderate the immigrant flux towards the coastal cities, avoiding the creation of shantytowns or, even better, as in the case of Essaouira, the overpopulation of ancient historical districts.

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