By Adil Bentahar
By Adil Bentahar
Casablanca – As part of the ‘Engaging Civil Society and Youth in Public Policy Dialogue in North Africa’ project, the Moroccan Center for Civic Education (MCCE), supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) and in collaboration with the Moroccan Center for Youth and Democratic Reforms, held the National Meeting ‘Local Youth Councils: Experiences and Projects’. The event, which was held on January 24-25, gathered more than 30 Local Youth Councils leaders from eight different regions across Morocco.
Chaired by Mr. Youssef Kalakhi, Director of Moroccan Center for Youth and Democratic Reforms, the first session featured opening remarks by President of the Moroccan Center for Civic Education Mr. Elarbi Imad. Mr. Imad gave an overview about the Center’s experience in implementing civic education and related initiatives, particularly ‘Engaging Civil Society and Youth in Public Policy Dialogue in North Africa’ project that is being implemented in Morocco, Tunisia, and Libya.
Mr. Houssam Hab, Vice-Director of Moroccan Center for Youth and Democratic Reforms, shared contextual background information about the rationale behind founding the center with a focus on scientific research and academic contributions to the ongoing democratic reforms in Morocco. President of the Local Council for Youth in Assilah, Mr. Nidal Benali, stressed the important role that the Moroccan local councils could play in promoting the dynamics of the youth sector as a suggestive power.
Mr. Abdelmalak Lakheily, Advisor to Mr. El Habib Choubani, Moroccan Minister-in-charge of Relations with the Parliament and Civil Society, also highlighted the key role of Local Youth Councils in fostering civic concepts of democracy and youth civic engagement in politics in general and the upcoming 2015 communal elections in particular. He also emphasized the willingness of the Ministry to support all youth initiatives that help prepare Moroccans civically toward understanding and evaluating public policies.
The organizers set a number of objectives for this event. These include showcasing civic education community projects and sharing and exchanging ideas about possible avenues for engaging youth and civil society organizations in public policy dialogue. They also targeted the establishment of a national network of local youth councils as one of the participants’ recommendations.
As a result of this national meeting, the participants decided to create the National Network of Local Youth Councils which would serve as a body governing and assisting in the promotion of participatory democracy and local governance, goals that the Moroccan Center for Civic Education upholds and considers in its many activities. Additional recommendations included institutionalizing local youth councils, drafting a national charter that particularly addresses the needs of local youth councils, ensuring equity among the local youth council members, and creating a committee for the preparation for collective charter. The participants also recommended designing a guide to youth local councils, creating a national Web site as a tool of communication, and last but not least, advocating for all these goals within the framework of the National Network for Youth Local Councils.
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