The Morocco-proposed autonomy plan for the Sahara will shortly make a historic turn with the adoption of a new approach to regional development as a prelude to the advanced regionalization project. The year 2013 heralds the materialization of these two ambitious projects developed respectively by the Economic, Social and Environmental Coouncil and by the government with the participation of various stakeholders.
The tone has been set when the broad lines of the new economic and social development project for the southern provinces were presented to King Mohammed VI last Wednesday in Agadir. The project has been outlined by an ad hoc commission made up of 25 members of the CESE which will ponder on the new approach before presenting a final report by next October.
"The major challenge of this priority project is to ensure the emergence of a system that is likely to promote an economic, social, cultural and environmental development beneficial primarily to the local populations of the southern provinces," said the CESE president while presenting the new project.
In its preliminary diagnosis, the CESE deems that the current regional development process has reached its limits and that major changes are necessary to fulfill the aspirations of the region inhabitants.
The Council will therefore carry on fieldwork, hold debates with local stakeholders and conduct studies and analysis to identify the most appropriate approach to implement the new economic and social development scheme.
The model under consideration for the southern provinces is part of a wider program of advanced regionalization that will be implemented across the entire country and that is raised to the rank of "priority" by King Mohammed VI as he put it in a speech he delivered on the occasion of the 37th anniversary of the Green March, said the President of the council.
The King had reiterated on the same occasion his country’s commitment to the advanced autonomy project for the Sahara, saying the project would give "all the inhabitants of the region the power to manage their local affairs in respect of their cultural specificities ".
The council precisely seeks, at the social and cultural scales, to promote harmony among different components of the population, define safety nets for the most vulnerable people and propose positive measures in economic and social fields.
The council’s approach also aims to secure a dignified return and successful integration of the Moroccan Sahrawis currently sequestered in the Tindouf camps, in compliance with the rules of social justice and equity and likewise seeks to promote the cultural heritage of the region as a structuring part of its identity and an engine of wealth generating.