“Praise be to God May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today, I am setting up the Advisory Committee on Regionalization. This is a watershed moment, the start of a structural project which, hopefully, will mark a turning point in territorial governance.
I also want it to be the beginning of a new dynamic towards a thorough institutional reform.
Viewed from this angle, the extensive regionalization we want to achieve is not a mere technical or administrative procedure, but rather a major initiative for the overhaul and modernization of state structures and for the achievement of integrated development.
I have therefore decided to involve the nation’s forces in the preparation of the regionalization plan. To that end, I have decided that a special advisory committee should be set up. It will be chaired by Professor Omar Azziman, who has been chosen for his competence, integrity and keen sense of responsibility.
Considering the many dimensions involved in regional governance, criteria used for selecting committee members included strong commitment to serving the public good, diversity of background, complementarity, extensive experience in the management of public affairs and a good knowledge of the country’s local and regional specificities.
In keeping with the participatory approach we have been using in all the major reforms introduced so far, I call on the Committee to listen to and consult with the stakeholders and institutions concerned.
I expect the Committee to draw up a general plan for a sophisticated, national regionalization model, covering all of the Kingdom’s regions, to be submitted to me at the end of June 2010.
As I pointed out earlier, the Committee is expected to come up with a wholly Moroccan regionalization model. It should be based on our country’s specificities.
One of these specificities stems from the fact that ours is one of the world’s most longstanding monarchies.
Throughout the ages, the Moroccan monarchy has remained the guarantor of
national unity. It reflects the cohesion characterizing all segments of our nation and shows how much it cares for the well-being of Moroccans in all parts of the country, through close monitoring of their living conditions.
In addition to its distinctive history, Morocco is known for the modern, forward-looking steps it has taken by opting for a system of broad decentralization. The Committee is therefore urged to develop a typical national regionalization system and avoid mere imitation or replication of other countries’ experiences.
The aim is to pave the way for the establishment of a groundbreaking regionalization system for developing countries, and at the same time enhance our country’s standing as a model to be followed when it comes to taking bold, national stances or devising innovative responses to crucial issues facing the nation.
Hence, when drawing up the plan for a regionalization system, special importance should be attached to these four main points:
First: uphold the strong commitment to the nation’s sacred, immutable values – namely the unity of the state, of the nation and of our territory – of which I am the guarantor and the custodian. Broad-based regionalization should be another democratic way of enhancing the singular Moroccan experience, in a nation characterized by rich inter-sectoral and cultural diversity, within a unified national identity.
Second: ensure commitment to solidarity. Regionalization must not merely consist in a new distribution of powers between central and local governments. There can be no even, national distribution of regional development unless each region makes the most of its potential, and unless effective solidarity mechanisms are instituted to reflect and enhance inter-regional complementarity and cohesion, within a united Morocco.
Third: ensure harmonious, balanced distribution of powers and resources, and avoid overlap or inconsistency between local authorities, central government and the institutions concerned.
Fourth: adopt extensive devolution – without which there can be no effective regionalization policy – within the framework of an efficient territorial governance system based on harmony and convergence.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This key project should help us achieve some fundamental objectives.
Chief among these is the establishment of full-fledged, viable, sustainable regions, through the formulation of rational, realistic criteria upon which a new regionalization system will be founded.
A second main objective is the emergence of democratic councils that have the powers and resources needed to promote integrated, regional development.
In our efficient territorial governance system, I do not want regions to be merely formal, bureaucratic entities, but rather representative institutions composed of competent officials who can run their respective regions’ affairs efficiently.
One of my key objectives is to see to it that our recovered southern provinces are among the first to benefit from a sophisticated regionalization system. Morocco will not sit by while the enemies of our territorial integrity continue to frustrate the UN process designed to find a realistic, mutually acceptable political solution to the artificial dispute over our provinces, on the basis of our autonomy initiative for the Moroccan Sahara.
This initiative, which was deemed credible by the United Nations, remains on the table for serious, responsible negotiations to achieve a final, realistic settlement.
Meanwhile, we shall resolutely press ahead with our efforts to give the faithful sons and inhabitants of the Moroccan Sahara extensive powers to manage their local affairs, as part of a sophisticated regionalization system which I shall set in motion in keeping with the nation’s sovereign will.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I expect all the parties and stakeholders concerned to remain mobilized and to be acutely aware of the stakes involved in the crucial area of broad-based regionalization. I consider this to be a key test for the success of the far-reaching reforms I am spearheading.
In view of the above, I urge the Committee to tackle the real problems, join efforts with others and be innovative in its work in order to make practical, applicable proposals. Our national ambition is to move from fledgling regionalization to advanced, democratic, development-oriented regionalization.
I should like to assure the Committee of my support and want committee members to know that I shall follow their work with keen interest. I ask the government and the authorities concerned to cooperate with the Committee and to provide it with the resources it needs for the successful accomplishment of its mission.
May Almighty God grant us success and help us achieve our objective of making extensive regionalization the institutional pillar of the Moroccan state; an institution-based state that upholds the rule of law, fulfils the requirements of good governance and concomitantly defends not only the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation, but also the right of each and every Moroccan to dignity and responsible citizenship in a united, secure, advanced, solidarity-based country.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.”
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