Mohammedia - Morocco

La Siesta: From neighborhood association to protector of coastal dunes

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What pushes a residential association into becoming an NGO specialized in the protection of coastal dunes? For Nadia Hmaity, the answer is simple: the arrival of diggers and their targeting the dunes of the beach. It all started on December 29th, 2015, in the beach of Mohammedia. “We were surprised to see a real estate enterprise brining its engines in front of us, with the intention of preparing the lot for construction and thus destroying a part of the ribbon of dunes which protected us from tides and waves for years,” explained Nadia Hmaity, president of La Siesta, the association founded by the residents of the neighborhood.

Sensitize to boost action

“At the beginning, the residents were not aware of the potential danger. But with regular meetings, they all understood that the destruction of that dune ribbon will not only make us lose interesting micro ecosystems but also the mechanic barrier that protected our houses from the tides. Sooner, our association stood up to fight for our rights,” said Nadia.

La Siesta as a leader

Rich with its dynamic and the engagement of its members, the association came a long way since its commitment to this new cause. During the first quarter of 2016, it gained the attention of the national media which reported its story. In May, the residential association La Siesta co-organized and participated in a national workshop on the difficulties of the implementation of the law related to the protection of the coastline in Morocco. This is a major step leading to the creation of a group of associations for the coastline in Mohammedia with La Siesta as a coordinator.

Support beyond borders

The association of neighborhood residents La Siesta, beyond the technical and legal details of its battle against the real estate project, had the merit of being among the first Moroccan NGOs to specialize in the protection of coastal dunes. Within months, it succeeded at reaching and mobilizing hundreds of people in Morocco but also in the world. Through the signing of the petition launched by the association or through pictures, they all expressed their support for the approach of the association. This should inspire other neighborhood associations to get involved in the protection of their immediate natural environment.





sociale, Bloc D, Num 1, Hassania 2




Coastal dunes occupy 20% of the coastal area of the globe. These systems are present on all continents and in all climates, from the desert to tropical zones through temperate climates. Located in the interface between the sea and the continent, coastal dunes are dynamic environments, colonized by herbaceous vegetation that hosts a unique wildlife, under the influence of many natural factors (ex: wind, tides, sand dune, sea spray). These vegetated dunes are natural ramparts protecting the land from the sea and the wind. However, and although the coastal dunes are many around the world, many of which are highly threatened and have been degraded by human activities such as tourism, grazing, installation of industries, or strong population growth along the coasts.
Source: National Observatory of the sea and coastline (France)




The 81-12 law related to the coastline, as passed by the House of Representatives and the House of Councillors and published in the Official Bulletin August 15, 2015, set the key objectives, namely, the preservation of biological and ecological balance, natural and cultural heritage, historical and archaeological sites, natural landscapes and the fight against coastal erosion. It also aims to prevent, combat and reduce coastal pollution and degradation and the rehabilitation of areas and polluted or damaged sites to ensure free public access to the open sea shore and promoting a policy of research and innovation to develop the coastline and its resources. To this end, the law also established a national commission of integrated coastal management and regional commissions in charge of the review of national and regional plans of the coastline.

Source: Libération



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