King Mohammed VI Sends Message to Second Parliamentary Forum of Regions

Rabat – King Mohammed VI sent a message to the participants in the second parliamentary forum of regions, which opened Thursday in Rabat.Here follows the full text of the royal message, which was read by the King’s advisor Abdellatif Mennouni.“Praise be to God May peace and blessings be upon The Prophet, His Kith and KinLadies and GentlemenI should like to commend the House of Councilors, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council and Morocco’s associations of regions and municipalities on their initiative to convene this second Forum, which will address one of the most far reaching and promising reforms introduced since the adoption of the 2011 Constitution, namely advanced regionalization.Your determination to meet regularly and exchange views on the progress made in connection with this flagship project shows that you are perfectly aware of the special importance I attach to this major reform. It aims to introduce a greater measure of democracy in the management of public affairs and to make sure national, sector-specific and local policies are all geared towards the achievement of the objective I have set for myself, namely to offer my fellow citizens, sustainably and equitably, the progress, well-being and fulfillment they deserve.I also wish to congratulate you on having included in your agenda themes that are essential for the accomplishment of the mission of local governments. In fact, they reflect my own concerns regarding the progression of the advanced regionalization process.Ladies and Gentlemen,Advanced regionalization is a key institutional achievement. It illustrates my unwavering commitment – since my accession to the throne of my glorious ancestors – to seeing a quantum leap in the reform and modernization of our institutions. We should therefore give it our undivided attention.It is gratifying to note, today, that the legal framework for the implementation of advanced regionalization is all but completed, and that local elected officials are already working hard to give concrete substance to the advanced regionalization process.As we speak, the objectives are set, the principles and the relevant rules are clearly defined and the stakeholders concerned are busy at work. In the coming phase, the aim will be to move up a gear and to start effectively giving substance to this historic paradigm shift.This is a gigantic project requiring the involvement of a vast array of actors as well as the commitment of the nation’s forces and society as a whole. A keen sense of responsibility and mobilization as well as a great degree of conviction will be required throughout the implementation of the project. It is just as necessary to persevere and promote dialogue and interaction in order to make sure that the enormous potential offered by the institutional and legal framework is fully exploited and that benefits are maximized.It is in the light of this new pedagogical exercise in responsibility and sharing, and through the adoption of novel modes of interaction that local elected officials will be able to serve as the standard-bearers for change, rise to challenges, fulfil their constituents’ aspirations and come up with the right answers to citizens’ expectations.As for central government services and public administrations, they are expected to re-establish relations, based on cooperation, dialogue, consultation, convergence and partnership with local governments. Only then will it be possible to ensure the complementarity, coherence of action and synergies required for the actual implementation of advanced regionalization, which means so much to me.Ladies and Gentlemen,The themes you have selected for your meeting are in line with the concerns I have just mentioned. It is up to you to discuss them freely and to submit your proposals to me in due course. I would simply recommend that, in your debate, you devote the necessary attention to some key issues that must also be taken into account by the government.Firstly, regional development programs must be part of the development model currently being finalized and for which a major call for contributions was made in my speech on 13 October of this year, on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament. Local governments – especially the Regions – which must fully live up to the pre-eminent role granted to them by the Constitution, will have to make their own contributions so as to remedy the failings of the current model, reduce regional disparities and inequalities and move forward purposefully and resolutely on the path towards social justice. Each region should be able to develop its own vision, provided the latter is consistent with the national development model.Local elected officials will then have to get deeply involved in the issues relating to young Moroccans, who are enthusiastic knowledge-seekers. They are also keen to participate in community life and aspire to dignity and betterment. The problems young Moroccans are facing today can be resolved only at the local level – in their neighborhood, their commune or their city. Solutions must be tailored locally to address the problems young people are facing. In that way, we would give meaning and coherence to the cross-cutting policies that central government must design for the benefit of young people.There is also the question of the scope of powers devolved to local governments, particularly regional councils. In fact, the aim is not to overburden local governments with multiple and varied prerogatives which would only discredit them, given the inevitable shortcomings. Instead, it is important to make sure their powers are sufficiently precise and clear to avoid confusion and overlapping. These powers should be gradually expanded as local governments’ capabilities in terms of human and financial resources increase. In this regard, I recommend better consultation to clearly define – among the vast array of powers reserved for regions by the organic law – the prerogatives that will have to be implemented immediately, subject to periodic updates.One last aspect which I should like to see reviewed further is governance. Beyond the measures introduced via organic laws on local governments, your consultations and your reflection should produce a more precise, practical and measurable concept which we must, at all costs, avoid trivializing. This means that, as far as voters and the general public are concerned, there is a need to explain and educate, so that the importance of governance and the extent of the efforts to be made can be properly understood.Ladies and Gentlemen,I realize that a project like that of advanced regionalization is necessarily a work in progress. It also requires resolve to combat inertia, vigilance to counter conservative attitudes and responsiveness to be able to adapt, adjust or redress the course of action.I believe the spirit of your forum is in line with this logic of watchfulness and of constant, gradual evolution. I will therefore pay particular attention to your work, hoping your debates will be objective, realistic, bold and insightful.I wish your conference every success.Thank you.Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.”

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