Morocco is among the countries most exposed to geological and climate-related hazards in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The World Bank estimates that disasters, such as flooding, earthquakes, and drought cost it over US$575 million each year. Moreover, rapid urbanization and climate change threaten to increase the frequency and severity of weather-related events.
To address the challenge of intensifying disaster and climate risks in Morocco, the project has sought to improve the institutional frameworks to finance disaster risk reduction activities and strengthen financial resilience to natural disasters for targeted populations. To achieve those objectives, the World Bank has relied on a mix of finance and technical assistance. Two IBRD loans finance a comprehensive Program-for-Results (PforR), the first time this financing instrument has been used by the World Bank for DRM operations. The program promotes institutional reforms and capacity building, scales up disaster risk reduction investments, and supports an innovative, catastrophic risk insurance regime involving both the public and private sectors. All these areas of work have benefited from World Bank technical assistance and capacity building.
The “Vigirisque” project, led by the Natural Risk Management Directorate, received funding from the Fund for the Fight against the Effects of Natural Disasters (FLCN), which is supported by the World Bank. It is implemented in four pilot provinces and aims to improve flood risk management in the Kingdom of Morocco. The project is carried out in close collaboration with the General Directorate of Meteorology (DGM), the Directorate of Water Research and Planning (DRPE), as well as the four hydraulic basin agencies and pilot provinces. It essentially aims to set up an integrated risk management support system articulated around a national center and provincial operational centers to monitor flood risk, as well as support authorities responsible for emergency response with the implementation of preventive actions”. M. Achraf Hadine, Head of the National Center for Risk Forecasting, Natural Risk Management Directorate, Ministry of the Interior, Morocco
With its focus on strengthening disaster risk management and disaster risk finance, the program is directly contributing to Morocco’s CPF Objective 10, which aims to “enhance adaptation to climate change and resilience to natural disasters.”
It has enhanced Morocco’s climate change adaptation and resilience to natural disasters with:
- The redesign of Morocco’s Fund for the Fight against Natural Catastrophes (FLCN) from an emergency response vehicle into a national resilience fund. As of March 2022, the fund had supported 180 disaster risk reduction projects, for a total investment volume of US$304 million, with FLCN co-financing of US$111 million. Completed structural projects have benefited more than 174,000 direct beneficiaries across the national territory.
- In February 2021, Morocco’s first National Disaster Risk Management Strategy (2021–2031) was prepared under the leadership of a newly created DRM Directorate within the Ministry of Interior. The strategy was translated into a priority action plan (2021–2023) and an operational action plan (2021–2026) that covers 18 programs and 57 projects.
- The adoption in 2018 of an innovative disaster risk insurance regime (Law No. 110-14), which became effective in January 2020. The law introduced a private insurance scheme covering close to 9 million people and established a public solidarity fund (FSEC), separate from the FLCN, targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable households (an estimated 6 million people). The combined private and public schemes can provide about US$100 million in compensations every year.
Bank Group Contribution
IBRD provided a total of US$300 million through the Integrated Disaster Risk Management and Resilience Program-for-Results (PforR) program. The Program was also supported through several technical assistance programs funded by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to the amount of approximately US$1.5 million, including support to the FLCN, the national DRM strategy, urban resilience, and disaster risk finance and insurance.
The main project partners are the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Morocco. The World Bank ensured a collaborative approach with these partners through regular implementation support missions.
Until program closure (expected on December 31, 2023), the program will continue to work on improving the impact of disaster risk reduction projects financed through the FLCN and to support the operationalization of the new DRM Directorate. The DRM Directorate will ensure the sustainability of the progress achieved by the program, since the Directorate will act as the key coordinating institution on DRM and supervise the implementation of the national DRM strategy. The approach followed in this program has been replicated in other countries, such as DRM-centered PforRs implemented in Mozambique and, most recently, in Tunisia.