By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, May 28, 2012
The regional project YAANI – The Young Arab Analysts Network International – initiated by the British Council in collaboration with the Chatham House and with the support of the British Embassy, in partnership with the Mediterranean Youth Forum (FOMEJE), hosted a seminar on the theme “Youth and the importance of Policies” at the Centre d’Accueil et de Conférences in Rabat.
The seminar, which took place on Saturday in Rabat, was an opportunity for the wider public to make acquaintances with the first generation of Moroccan analysts who were introduced to policy analysis and action research in order to develop a better understanding of current policies. The final aim for this network of Arab policy analysts is to deliver well-grounded recommendations to decision makers in their respective countries. The Arab Analysts initiative is highly favored by the democratic overtures witnessed in the Arab region subsequent to the Arab Spring tide.
The first session of the seminar revolved around the interrelation between the constitution as a legal text and public policies.
Dr. Mustapha Bouhaddou, NGO and Public Policies specialist, gave a brief historical review of the main critical junctures that called for the revision the Moroccan constitution. He laid emphasis on the concept of participatory democracy enshrined in the new constitution and strongly advocated in political circles. He referred to the new prerogatives given to civil society in the process of decision-making.
Dr. Hassan Tarik in his intervention asserted that the analysis and the assessment of public policies require a consistent approach taking into account the manifold referential elements in the constitution namely, identity, democracy, equality, governance and social justice. Thus, the political analyst needs to choose an angle before trying to appraise the compliance of public policies with the constitution. Mr. Tarik pointed out that the newly created councils that fosters the emancipation of women and youth present real challenges as far as representation and effectiveness is concerned.
Ms. Khadija Marouazi, a university professor and President of Mediator for Democracy and Human Rights (MDHR), insisted on the necessity to conduct action research via the collection of actual data prior to the assessment of public policies. The MDHR is a nongovernmental organization that endeavors to scrutinize public policies mainly by drawing a comparison between the government’s commitments in key sectors, in particular health and human rights and the actual policies enacted by the government since its investiture. Through the publication of timely reports, the MDHR members seek to draw attention to serious discrepancies in public policies and gives concrete recommendations to the government.
Dr. Abdellatif Kidai, a professor at the university of Educational Sciences in Rabat, gave an empirical appraisal of the use of social networks by Moroccan youth. The statistics he presented sets the Moroccans who use social networks into four categories. The “Emotionals” tend to use the internet to build emotional relationships with their online interlocutors while the “Observers” remain passive by consuming the content posted by their contacts rather than taking part in online interactions. The “Communicators” tend to engage more frequently in online communication by posting their own comments. The last category and the least represented among Moroccan youth even in the wake of the Arab spring remains the “Activists” who try to galvanize the online community around political and social issues. Dr. Kidai concludes that a new concept of the public domain needs to be construed differently in the light of the social network buzz.
The young Moroccan political analysts shared with the audience the preliminary observations they made concerning the constitution and public policies among other issues. Rachid Al Kadi Al Ouahabi, one of the Arab political analysts shared with MWN his first impression about the YAANI training. “We were introduced to the ABCs of empirical research in the analysis of public policies. During a brainstorming session we tried to find common ground concerning the issues that are currently in the limelight in our respective regions. It is very important to develop a vision with a high level of regional integration,” stated Rachid.
When asked about the YAANI approach to analysis, Rachid replied, “It is fundamental to focus first on participation and convergence before being able to issue any kind of recommendations to decision makers.”
Meriem Zaari Jabi an ENCG graduate who also took part in the YAANI training explained, “The YAANI project gave me the opportunity to network with many people from other countries. The modules gave us the necessary tools and methodologies to issue accurate and evidence based policy briefs that we can share with decision makers.” Meriem added, “I believe that the YAANI project has created for us a new channel for a more knowledgeable and a more effective contribution to the democratization and the development of our countries via an approach that adheres admirably to the concept of participatory democracy.”
YAANI is a promising platform that will empower a number of young Arab intellectuals to build well-informed positions on policies enacted by their governments. It will give them also the opportunity to discuss the key national and regional issues in order to improve political practice in the communities where they operate.