Advancing StateCivil Society Relationships in Morocco

Rabat – The Faculty of Law of Mohammed V University at Souissi in Rabat was the locus of an engaging workshop hosted by the Marti Ahtisaari Centre (a Presidential initiative of Former Finland President & Nobel Prize Winner Marti Ahtisaari), in conjunction with the Ministry in charge of Relations with Civil Society & Parliament, on September 26-27, 2014.Under the theme “Public Participation in Policy-Making: Stocktaking of the Commission of National Dialogue on Civil Society,” this inaugural international workshop helped set a platform for dialogue and multi-stakeholder reflections on the National Dialogue recommendations to develop an inclusive framework for enabling civil society’s public participation in policy-making. A special focus was given to the experience of l’Instance Centrale de Prévention de la Corruption [The Central Authority for the Prevention of Corruption] as well as Moroccan Diaspora Civil Society Organizations (CSOs).With a focus on public consultations, the breakout sessions addressed the linkage between public consultations and socio-economic development and analyzed Article 12 of the Moroccan Constitution and ways to codify it in texts of law so as to catalyze the engagement of civil society in public policy-making. Day II highlighted Nordic good practices in the area of public consultations through the strengthening of civil society engagement in public policy making/monitoring processes. Overall, the program was met with strong interest, hosting many participants representing civil society organizations; academics; international organizations; and policy makers. The inauguration of the Forum featured notable speakers including: Minister El Habib Choubani, of the Ministry in charge of Relations with Civil Society & Parliament; Moulay Ismail Alaoui, President of the National Commission of Policy Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional Roles, as well as other high-level Moroccan policy-makers and international personalities.The national and international organizers, “shared the same vision in terms of inclusiveness and the need to conduct a dialogue to ensure multi-stakeholder ownership and confidence building in the Commission’s recommendations,” said Leila Hanafi, a Moroccan-American lawyer and member of the National Commission.The multi-stakeholder workshop addressed the following objectives:– Dissemination of National Dialogue outcomes/recommendations to develop an inclusive framework for enabling civil society consensus building & ownership– Stock taking on the National Dialogue process– Increased understanding of the groups that did not participate in the Commission’s consultative process in the value of the new constitutional framework– Raised awareness on mechanisms to influence policy making in Morocco, with a focus on socio-economic issues (i.e., access to basic social services, youth unemployment, diaspora interests)– Sharing of best practices, including Nordic models.Overall, there was a general consensus among participants that intensifying dialogue surrounding the recommendations of the Commission is integral to civil society’s implementation of them. At the conclusion of the two day forum, several recommendations ensued from the discussions including, but not limited to:– Continuing dialogue with key national authorities in constructive dialogue forums such as universities to enable a demand-driven approach to hearing the concerns of civil society inside and outside of Morocco.– As the number of CSOs of Moroccans residing abroad increase, so does the need to integrate them further into policy-making processes and to allow them exercise their constitutional rights.– Follow-up on the draft public consultation law to promote participatory process for policy formulation.National Commission of Policy Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional RolesThe main objectives of the National Commission of Policy Dialogue on Civil Society and New Constitutional Roles are to: facilitate the development of an enabling environment for dialogue between government and citizens to come up with a participatory joint vision of the new role to be accorded to civil society, as part of the societal plan mapped out by the revised Constitution.The Commission represents an unprecedented opportunity to encourage dialogue with senior representatives from Moroccan government agencies, parliament, academia, civil society, and international organizations on the implementation of the constitution to promote a strong and fair lawmaking process, and, ultimately, greater confidence in the constitution as a blue print for future public policy reform through inclusive participation.The Commission in the last year held more than 18 meetings that drew nearly 10,000 people. The Commission’s work was, officially, praised by the King of Morocco by marking March 13th as National Day of Civil Society. Regional organizations such as ISESCO and the Council of Europe have adopted the Moroccan experience of the Commission’s National Dialogue for sharing among their constituencies.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed. read more