New York – The following is the full speech of King Mohammed VI before the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly. The speech was read out by Prince Moulay Rachid
Praise be to God, May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The current session of the United Nations General Assembly is particularly important as it will see the adoption of the “post-2015 sustainable development agenda.”
It is an opportunity to reiterate our collective commitment to achieving the lofty objectives called for by the United Nations’ Charter and fulfill the aspirations of peoples around the world.
The current session also coincides with the celebration of the United Nations’ 70th anniversary, at a time when the international community is facing serious, unprecedented global challenges requiring joint, efficient and integrated action.
The Kingdom of Morocco’s position regarding these challenges as well as various regional and international conflicts and issues will be laid out at the General Assembly’s committee meetings and during the ministerial discussions which will take place on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The preparation of the development agenda for the coming 15 years must be based on an objective assessment of what we have achieved since 2000.
Have we managed to change the day-to-day life of the poor? Are the results achieved solid and sustainable enough to withstand tensions, wars and social and economic crises?
A review of the achievements made under the Millennium Development Goals indicates significant progress between 1990 and 2015. However, gaps between regions around the world and inside certain countries are still a legitimate cause for concern.
This situation, which tarnishes the image of international cooperation and casts doubt on our collective action within the United Nations, does not necessarily mean that we have failed.
In fact, it should induce stakeholders to ponder on the best means to promote development and address the malfunctions affecting international cooperation.
In this respect, the Kingdom of Morocco hopes the Sustainable Development Goals will help develop an ambitious agenda to change the situation at all levels – domestically, regionally and globally.
No matter how relevant and promising the sustainable development agenda is, its credibility will hinge on the resources to be raised to finance its implementation.
International cooperation therefore has to adapt to global facts on the ground and not only shake off the legacy of the past, but also avoid geo-political calculations and refrain from imposing near-impossible conditions to access aid.
Regardless of the usual expressions of solidarity, the Ebola crisis showed that international aid to affected countries was insufficient, not to say clearly inadequate, considering the level of mobilization and commitment required by that alarming situation.
Development cannot be achieved through bureaucratic decisions or ready-made technical reports that have no credibility.
To fulfil people’s aspirations and to address their real concerns, it is necessary to fully understand the reality of their situation and their characteristic features, make an objective assessment of their living conditions and carry out serious work on the ground.
I am very familiar with the situation in Africa and I think I know what I am talking about. As a matter of fact, many Africans are facing extremely harsh conditions. And the reality is much bleaker and far more bitter than reports by some international governmental and non-governmental organizations suggest.
These African people’s lives are a never-ending struggle, full of daily challenges. They have to face harsh conditions and can only rely on scant resources. However, they live with dignity, are true patriots and hope for a better tomorrow.
To address such a situation, an inclusive, coordinated and multi-dimensional medium-term approach needs to be adopted.
Urgent, practical initiatives are also required because deteriorating conditions and the people’s daily pressing needs cannot be put on hold until international bureaucracy wakes up and makes the necessary decisions.
Seen from this perspective, Africa must be at the heart of international cooperation for development in order to help the continent rid itself of its colonial past and unlock its potential.
For this reason, Morocco is calling on the United Nations Organization and on regional and international financial institutions to draw up an action plan for economic transformation in Africa and provide steady resources to finance it.
Despite qualifications and skills, Africa stands at a crossroads today.
Without substantial and tangible international support, Africa will experience glaring disparities between countries. There will be nations engaged in the pursuit of development and progress, while others will be desperately seeking to address their problems and will sink further into poverty, ignorance and instability.
I also call for making peace and stability top priorities to prevent conflicts, confront extremism and terrorism and address the migration problem using an approach that takes into account the dignity of migrants, preserves their basic rights and tackles the root causes of the migration phenomenon.
The National Human Development Initiative we have launched in our country, and whose tenth anniversary we are celebrating this year, has contributed not only to reducing poverty, vulnerability and exclusion, but has also helped reduce inter-regional disparities.
It also enabled Morocco to achieve the first of the Millennium Development Goals as early as 2013.
For this reason, of the top five countries in the world with the best public welfare programs and initiatives, international organizations put Morocco in third place.
We are ready to put our experience in this field at the disposal of our partners, especially in Africa.
Given its geographical location as well as its strategic policy choices, Morocco has been actively engaged in addressing various global issues and concerns.
Whether it is migration and human rights, climate change and sustainable development, or the fight against terrorism, Morocco has come up with quality national responses that contribute to international efforts to rise to these unprecedented global challenges.
Morocco’s commitment to help address these global issues is especially reflected in the fight against climate change, which is one of the greatest threats to mankind.
Since we participated in the Rio Summit in 1992, Morocco has worked hard to develop a national environmental policy that rallies all the stakeholders concerned, while ensuring proper use of the financial resources earmarked for issues relating to climate change.
Thus, for instance, the National Charter for the Environment was adopted, the Green Morocco Plan was launched, and the ambitious solar and wind renewable energy program, which aims to cover 42% of Morocco’s energy needs by 2020, was also adopted.
In 2015, fulfilling its obligations in the field of environmental protection, the Kingdom of Morocco officially presented its “Intended Nationally Determined Contribution”, which includes strong, ambitious commitments designed to contribute to the establishment of an equitable, solidarity-based international environmental system.
In this respect, Morocco is proposing that Marrakech host the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
I should like to take this opportunity to reiterate our support for France’s efforts to achieve a global, comprehensive, sustainable, balanced and legally binding agreement at the Paris COP21.
For this reason, we view the Paris and Marrakech Conferences as two complementary milestones in our attempts to achieve a qualitative transition in the fight against climate change and avoid failures which, in the past, were the result of poor stakeholder coordination and cooperation.
Hence the importance of the “Tangier Call” I launched on September 20, together with His Excellency President François Hollande, for collective and decisive, solidarity-based international action on climate change.
The fact that Morocco was chosen to launch this joint initiative was not incidental; rather, it is a recognition of the active involvement of Morocco, a country that has been at the forefront of African nations which have adopted an efficient national plan in the field of renewable energy.
Consistent with a longstanding solidarity-based policy, Morocco will spare no effort to make Africa’s concerns known and its voice heard, together with those of developing small island states, which are the most vulnerable to climate change.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Celebrating its seventieth anniversary, the United Nations Organization has reached the age of maturity, wisdom and responsibility.
Those same principles and values should govern the action of the international community to resolve regional disputes.
The Organization’s work must not be a destabilizing factor for countries that contribute to multilateral cooperation and action.
In view of the above, Morocco will reject any irresponsible or risky course of action in connection with the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.
Indeed, many influential international powers fully realize that deceitful proposals and unrealistic plans developed inside offices cannot but represent a threat to the situation in the region.
I hope the United Nations Organization will press ahead with its efforts to resolve disputes through peaceful means and will remain committed to upholding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states so that peoples’ aspirations for peace, security and stability may be fulfilled.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.