"Investing in the intangible aspects of human development - of which early childhood is a key stage - constitutes a solid basis as well as the proper starting point for building a country for the future,” said the King.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI has spotlighted the role human development will play in Morocco’s future in a message sent to participants of the first National Conference on Human Development, which opened on Thursday, September 9.
The conference is being held under the theme “Early childhood: a commitment for the future.” In his message, the North African King emphasized how important early childhood is, not only for individual development, but for the nation.
“I am sure you realize that investing in the intangible aspects of human development – of which early childhood is a key stage – constitutes a solid basis as well as the proper starting point for building a country for the future,” he said.
“This is one of the main challenges which we are seeking to meet so as to open up promising prospects and offer job opportunities to upcoming generations,” the King added in the message, read at the event by Morocco’s Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit.
Although Morocco has implemented steps forward regarding early childhood issues by reducing mortality rates among children and pregnant women, improving nutrition, and widening access to primary education and healthcare, the King pointed out that there is still a long way to go.
According to the King, some issues “remain l because of a lack of coordination when laying down public policy and an absence of convergence and coherence in terms of action on the ground.”
He also pointed out that remaining issues are worsened by regional, economic and social disparities.
“Early childhood development is critical to a person’s life.”
“Given this chronic situation, and considering the horizontal nature of the actions carried out under the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH), and the role the initiative plays as a key driver of social development, it stands out as a model to be emulated,” said the King.
The INDH is a development project whose main objective is improving economic and social conditions for the poor. The project officially launched after a royal speech on May 18, 2005.
The initiative is based on three main goals: To address the social deficit for urban slum and rural communities most in need, to encourage income-generating activities and creating jobs, and to respond to the essential needs of Moroccans in difficult situations.
“The aim is to pool efforts, consolidate participatory mechanisms at a regional level and coordinate public policies within the framework of a multi-pronged, well-defined strategy with integrated economic, social, educational and cultural dimensions,” the King said.
“Carrying out the early childhood development plan properly–a stage of critical importance in any person’s life–will help address inequalities by carefully targeting the groups concerned in needy communities,” stressed the King before reiterating his conviction to the “new vision” of the INDH.
Human development is “a top priority.”
The King added that the initiative makes investing in human development “the top priority, given that it is the starting point for reforms and lays solid foundations for building the future.”
He then emphasized the need for the initiative to play an integral role in formulating public policies.
“This is the most appropriate way to come up with viable solutions to the real problems of the citizens, and to choose the best methods and devise the most effective ways to overcome the hurdles impeding comprehensive human development,” insisted the King.
He also stressed the need to improve the healthcare system by attaching “greater importance to maternal and child health, thereby ensuring fair and equitable access to social services.”
Another important development factor for the King is equal education opportunities. “There should also be a homogeneous offer regarding early childhood education, especially in rural areas, in order to combat school dropout,” he said.
The King finished his message to the conference by reminding attendees what their aim should be: “To rise to the challenge of early childhood – which is a crucial stage in a person’s life – and to make sure our children are open to the future in a balanced environment where justice and equity prevail, and where poverty and social exclusion do not stand in the way.”