Culture is becoming increasingly recognized as levers of economic and human development in Morocco, as evidenced in the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH, 2013) and most recently in the National Strategy of Sustainable Development (2016). Furthermore, Article 26 of the 2011 Constitution engages the government to contribute “by the appropriate means, to support the development of cultural and artistic creation”.
In parallel, civil society organizations have been actively contributing to the cultural policy landscape of the country. An initiative by the NGO Racines has been particularly useful in discussing the state of the cultural sector as well as promoting information sharing through the organization of their event “General State of Culture in Morocco”, which over two editions (2014; 2016) has gathered different stakeholders including government representatives, local authorities and communities, civil society organizations and cultural professionals. The 2016 initiative has received funding from UNESCO’s International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD).
While the cultural sector has a lot of potential, some obstacles remain, such as the integration of culture into sustainable development as well as the need to improve cultural education. In this context, this capacity-building action provides an opportunity to build upon the recent dialogues created between civil society and the government to confirm that participatory policy processes take root, while further assessing the state of the cultural sector through periodic reporting, indicator-building and data collection.
The consultation meeting took place on 11 May 2016 in Rabat gathering over 30 participants from civil society organizations and various line ministries of the national government. The meeting was opened with remarks by M. Mohamed Lotfi Mrini, Secretary General of the Ministry of Culture. After a general presentation of the 2005 Convention, the Ministry of Culture outlined the number of policies and measures currently being undertaken to implement the Convention. Measures such as the new law on the status of the artist (2014) were highlighted. Throughout the meeting, the Ministry of Culture highlighted the importance of engaging all members of the national team, not just the members of the Ministry of Culture but also civil society organizations, for the elaboration of the periodic report.
The workshop took place in Assilah between 13-14 May 2016 gathering 14 members of the national team. During the workshop, the international experts made presentations explaining different elements of the cultural value chain and the assessment approach of the QPR. The national team members also identified policies and measures that may be included in the periodic report, according to the different monitoring areas. Amongst the challenges identified, most participants agreed on the lack of financial resources, baseline statistics and aggregated information on cultural policies across line ministries, difficulties understanding certain key concepts of the 2005 Convention and issue regarding inter-ministerial cooperation.
The national team is currently drafting the periodic report with the technical assistance of the two international experts. The national team is coordinated by the Ministry of Culture, which is in contact with representatives of other ministries and civil society organizations. The report is expected to be submitted to UNESCO by 30 April 2017.