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Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg

Bucerius Ph.D. Fellow

Green Temptations: Environmental Sustainability as a Catch-All Policy Field in Morocco


The Kingdom of Morocco recently gained a reputation as regional frontrunner in combating climate change and environmental degradation. But beyond intrinsic motivation to better environmental performance, the policy field of environmental sustainability has become a playground for the regime to pursue ulterior political motives, including the autocratic resilience and expanding regional influence. Using the ‘environmental lens’, this thesis examines how an autocratic regime instrumentalizes soft power to pursue hard issues. The implementation of legitimation and cooptation strategies are investigated at a domestic, regional and international level in the field of environmental sustainability. The project advances research on autocratic resilience, sheds (green) light on Morocco’s foreign policy ambitions, and contributes to understanding the obstacles that undermine effective realization of environmental sustainability.

Katharina Nicolai is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Political Science of the Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nurnberg. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Islamic Studies from the University of Heidelberg and completed her Masters Degree in Middle Eastern Studies at University of Marburg, Erlangen-Nurnberg and Rabat, Morocco. Her research interests include environmental politics, authoritarianism in the Middle East, and Islam in Germany.

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