Rabat - The existing mechanisms of Diaspora engagement, while positive, are insufficient if not integrated in a broad-based strategy, premised in an inclusive legal framework for positive engagement.
Rabat – The existing mechanisms of Diaspora engagement, while positive, are insufficient if not integrated in a broad-based strategy, premised in an inclusive legal framework for positive engagement.
In this context, the Moroccan Commission on National Dialogue & New Constitutional Prerogatives, commissioned by Mr. Lahbib Choubani Minister of Relations with the Parliament & Civil Society provided an unprecedented opportunity to encourage dialogue with civil society organizations (CSOs), not only in Morocco, but also of Moroccans Residing Abroad regarding the implementation of the constitution as a blue print for future legislative reform through inclusive participation. As such, the Commission launched Virtual & Physical Consultations for Civil Society Organizations of Moroccans Residing Abroad.
The feedback of Moroccans Residing Abroad community groups and members was quintessential to concluding this consultative process and drafting a final report that encompasses their recommendations. The findings of the report of the Moroccan Commission on National Dialogue & New Constitutional Prerogatives, Sub-Committee on Moroccans Residing Abroad is available on the Commission’s website. As a Diaspora appointee in the Commission, I had the privilege to co-author that final report.
This is a landmark initiative in Morocco to use technology to engage with the Moroccan Diaspora abroad. Although this consultative process also included physical consultations with the Diaspora in Europe, the Commission realized that it is not sufficient as the Moroccan Diaspora is dispersed across the world and not only concentrated in Europe.
The launch of the questionnaire encompassed a wide spectrum of the civil society organizations of Moroccans Residing Abroad from Europe, Africa, North America among others, to promote the enhancement of an enabling environment for their engagement, including organic law development, and active participation in this consultative process.
The thrust of the consultations focused on the perception Moroccan CSOs abroad have of the constitution and whether the mechanisms to enable inclusion of the Diaspora in decision-making processes are sufficient. The focus on this perception analysis was deemed essential as it was never concluded before. As Morocco is concerting efforts to develop organic laws, starting with an analysis of perceptions is the precursor for cementing diaspora’s interest and understanding of what is coming ahead; and also to promote the enhancement of an enabling environment for Diaspora engagement in public policy making.
– As the number of Moroccans living abroad increases, the need to bring them under the protection of the constitution becomes essential.
– Need to enhance Participatory Governance and Diaspora’s engagement and democratic representativeness remain an issue. More diaspora members should be present in consultative processes that are initiated by the Moroccan government: Participatory governance and the diaspora’s engagement and democratic representativeness remain an issue although the 2011 adopted constitution tackles the diaspora (i.e. Articles 16-17-18 -30-163).
– Need to increase Public Awareness of CSOs representing Moroccans Residing Abroad in the area of public participation, to enable them to submit petitions to Moroccan public authorities, in accordance with Articles 14 and 15 of Morocco’s Constitution.
– Parallel Diplomacy & the Role of Moroccan Diaspora: Urgent need to provide technical and financial support to Moroccan diaspora groups that advance Morocco’s image abroad: Any tangible steps made in the ongoing development of Morocco cannot be successful without the healthy marriage of good governance and the active participation of its citizens not only inside Morocco but also outside the country. Empowering Moroccans, in their home country and abroad- to participate in policy-making, through mechanisms of public consultations and dialogue has the potential to inspire concerted actions and meaningful progress in ushering in a new era of participatory rule of law in Morocco.
– Capacity Building, Technical/Financial Assistance, and Training-of-Trainers (TOTs) to CSOs of Moroccans Residing Abroad to increase their knowledge about constitutional roles attributed to Civil Society Organizations under the framework of Morocco’s 2011 adopted Constitution.
– Restoring the Social Contract of Moroccans Residing Abroad with the Moroccan Policy-Making Sphere: Given the increasing discontent of the exclusion of CSOs of Moroccans Residing Abroad in engaging in Morocco’s public policy-making agenda (i.e: through advocacy, capacity building among the Moroccan community abroad…). There was a general consensus that existing mechanisms of public consultations and dialogue put in place in Morocco (i.e: Conseil de la Communauté Marocaine à l’Etranger CCME; Conseil Economique, Social, et Environmental CESE…) are insufficient to advance an inclusive legal framework for positive engagement of CSOs of Moroccans Residing Abroad.
– Institutional Arrangements with regards to the engagement of the Moroccan Diaspora need to be better centralized through an enabling legislative framework rooted in inclusion, of CSOs of Moroccan Residing Abroad, in the conception, implementation, evaluation of Morocco’s public development policies. This is essential to: enable CSOs of Moroccans Residing Abroad to submit petitions to Moroccan public authorities, in accordance with Article 15 of Morocco’s Constitution, within the framework of formalities to be in place in the area of public participation; and export their expertise and resources for the betterment of the homeland, Moroccos.
In commemoration of the work of the Commission, King Mohammed VI has designated March 13th as National Day of Civil Society in Morocco. This landmark initiative for Morocco-which has the potential to empower Moroccans, in their home country and abroad- to participate in policy-making, through public participation mechanisms could inspire concerted actions in wavering the implementation of the constitution’s articles that tackles civil society and diaspora engagement in public affairs.