Mayor Sefiani takes on ICLEI advisory role and commits to a sustainable Chefchaouen by 2030

Mayor Mohamed Sefiani of Chefchaouen in Morocco has been elected onto the ICLEI Africa Regional Executive Committee (REXCOM) as our first representative of North Africa. He highlights the importance of multi-level governance and strong city networks in creating thriving, climate resilient African cities. 

Mayor Mohamed Sefiani of Chefchaouen in Morocco is often consulted on issues of urban sustainability. As the President of the United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) forum of Intermediary Cities, Board member of the Global Covenant of Mayors (GCoM) and the President of the Moroccan Association of Eco-Cities, he is insightful on the role of cities in tackling the effects of climate change. He also knows exactly what African cities need in order to take tangible action. As a member of the ICLEI Africa Committee, he will represent the North African region in providing high level strategic leadership and advice. Together with the other esteemed Committee members, he will further represent ICLEI Africa’s work in implementing on-the-ground projects throughout the continent to promote a more inclusive society that respects both people and planet. Mayor Sefiani is passionate about the role of cities – especially African cities – in leading innovation and driving action.

“We, as African cities, are already experiencing the effects of climate change. We have an important role to play in the implementation of the climate agenda: we have big cities, intermediary cities and very small cities, many of which are growing rapidly and with soaring urbanisation rates. This is why our challenge in Africa is very unique and urgent,” he says.

Local government is the closest point of contact to the citizens of a city, making it crucial for city leaders to spearhead climate action. Mayor Sefiani recognises, however, that it is essential for national government to get involved with and support city-level climate projects in order for them to succeed. “I am a firm believer in vertical integration when it comes to implementing the climate agenda, the Paris Agreement and all of the Sustainable Development Goals. We need to work hand-in-hand with all levels of governance, notably our national governments. It is important to have effective, concrete projects that are supported financially and technically by national government.” Cities also have a lot to learn from each other and need platforms where they can meet, engage, and share best practices and knowledge. This is why city networks are essential in driving action. “Networks like ICLEI, UCLG, GCoM and C40 are working together to recognise the vital role of cities and sharing best practices. Networks like ours, the ICLEI network, can raise effectively awareness among decision-makers on the national and local level, to enable structured and meaningful dialogue between cities and national governments that lead to action.”

Apart from his international advisory role, Mayor Sefiani has big plans for making his city, Chefchaouen, a sustainable city by 2030. This is why the City has also joined ICLEI as a member. Located in the northwest of Morocco, this intermediate city welcomes many international visitors who travel to see its iconic blue-washed houses and walls.   “Chefchaouen 2030 is a city of the future. It’s sustainable and inclusive. It uses renewable energy and mass transit systems to increase connectivity within the city. It manages water and waste better. It cherishes biodiversity and provides green jobs.”

“We warmly welcome Chefchaouen as a member of ICLEI and are honoured to have Mayor Sefiani serve on our Regional Executive Committee. We value his visionary leadership and the vast skills and experience he will bring to this role,” says Ms Kobie Brand, Regional Director of ICLEI Africa. “We look forward to working closely with Chefchaouen to provide the technical expertise and supportive networks needed to make ‘Chefchaouen 2030’ a reality!”