By Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir, HAF President
July 31, 2015
Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir reflects on this year’s Throne Day by recognizing King Mohammed VI’s promotion of sustainable development and the potential for progress in not just Morocco, but all of the Arab Spring countries.
Morocco’s experience during this tumultuous time in the region is largely due to King Mohammed VI’s early and consistent promotion of human development. The passion of King Mohammed VI for sustainable development is clear and the Moroccan decentralization model, innovative and highly progressive.
Since his accession, the Moroccan king has overseen the formalization of his progressive ideas relating to sustainable development and participatory democracy, national political reconciliation, decentralization, civil society, gender justice, South-South partnership and ethnic-cultural-religious diversity, among others. His 2005 launch of the National Initiative for Human Development (NIHD) galvanized a progressive, self-reliant and sustainable human development vision. Despite its shortcomings, the NIHD inspired civil society action, government support and flexibility, corporate social responsibility, and was a necessary precursor of decentralization.
If Morocco could effectively implement participatory development through decentralized administrative systems across the population, the model could then be emulated and adapted to help create pathways for the people of other Arab Spring countries to achieve the kind of socio-political future they seek. Morocco could lead and guide the region by its attempt at, and example of, community democratic development—or “bottom-up” civil movements—that, with cross-sectoral partnership, elevate life conditions across communities and provinces and at the national level. Morocco’s development experiences and lessons are, therefore, informative and relevant regionally and globally.
However, both the correct vision for development and its successful implementation are required in order to attain long-term socio-political stability in the Arab Spring countries. In Morocco and elsewhere, local communities in all municipalities must work together to identify and implement the projects they most need and want.
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