A Circular Economy Approach to Agro-Biodiversity Conservation in the Souss Massa Region of Morocco: Project Case Study

"The article discusses the prospects of the Argan (Argana spinosa) Biosphere reserve conservation under the scope of the 2012 National Charter for Environment and Sustainable Development. The rate of degradation of the Argan ecosystem and the unfair benefit sharing along the value chain of local products continues to threaten social well being of the rural populations that live within the Argan ecosystem. To address this disequilibrium, a project endorsed by the GEF and supervised by UNDP is being implemented by the Moroccan Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing. The project aims at introducing the circular economy approach through Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), as a market based instrument, in order to conserve agro-biodiversity and promote local products in the Souss-Massa Drâa Region. Identified pillar products of local and global importance are Argan and honey. This paper discusses the opportunities and challenges related to the development of contractual agreements between the rights holders and end users of ecosystem services."