MR. ABDERRAHMANE YOUSSOUFI
PRIME MINISTER OF THE KINGDOM OF MOROCCO
Geneva, 26 June 2000
* * *
Mister Secretary General of the United Nations,
Excellencies the Heads of States and Governments,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me first, Mister Chairman, to say how pleased I am to take part in this social summit and how deeply satisfied is the government of the Kingdom of Morocco to see the social at the forefront of the international Community policies on growth and development cooperation.
In fact, on March 1995, during the copenhagen social summit, 186 member states of the United Nations organization reached a world consensus on eliminating poverty, promoting employment and ensuing the integration of the social categories living below poverty line, particularly those living in rural and extra urban areas, and those marginalized or excluded and who require direct assistance, mostly among the old aged and the disabled.
This world consensus on social development was crowned by the elaboration of a general declaration and an action plan based on the implementation of ten commandments that are now familiar within the international community.
The government of His Majesty King Mohamed VI, which I have the honor to lead, has put at the core of its preoccupations the questions of human rights, human dignity, democracy and the basic principles of justice and equity in a state of law. To reach this end, his majesty's government has set forth an integrated social development strategy that aims to translate into reality the objectives sought by the Copenhagen summit.
Determined to reach such objectives in a way that enables Morocco to be in line with the 20-20 initiative, my country's government has decided to increase, within the framework of the state's general budget, the resources allocated to social sectors. Those resources have increased from 38.6% in 1995, to 42% in 1998-1999, to reach 47.1% in the 1999-2000 budget. Such an increase was realized in spite of a national micro-economic context marked by two consecutive years of drought, and an international context characterized by a dollar appreciation and an increase of the energy bill, for oil importing countries like Morocco.
These additional resources are meant to support a global policy based on the extension of basic social services to the underprivileged stratas of population, the fight against unemployment, the reduction of social disparities, the struggle against social exclusion and the expansion of social solidarity mechanisms.
In all these areas, the Moroccan government has defined an ambitious and realistic schedule, in order to reach the set objectives.
That is how the program for the supply of drinking water to rural areas (PAGER) which started in 1995 will reach an 80% supply rate by the year 2010, and will benefit 7.3 million people. On its part, the the program for rural general electrification (PERG) will benefit 1.5 million families in 2010. As for the national program for rural trails, it will ensure the opening up for nearly 6 million people, by the year 2004.
In the area of the struggle against poverty, specific programs have been initiated and institutions and appropriate financial mechanisms have been created. This concerns in particular the Mohamed V Foundation, presided over by His Majesty King Mohamed VI, the Social Development Agency and the Hassan II Fund for Economic and Social Development.
As for the struggle against unemployment, the Moroccan government has implemented a policy aiming at developing productive and job generating investments, through the reform of the training-integrating system, the creation of the national agency for the promotion of employment and skills and the implementation of a self-employment program for unemployed diploma holders. At the same time, the government has developed a micro-credit system, initiated the reform of the national social security system and involved, within the framework of the labor code, the social partners to put in place an allowance regime for job losses.
This policy, I would like to stress, has been devised through dialogue and permanent concertation between the state, the territorial communities, the private operators, the unions, the civil society and the regional and international organizations involved on social action, and was set in conformity with out resolute choice to make of the citizen's participation the basis of a shared and collective management of our social development strategy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Notwithstanding the commitment shown by the international community at copenhagen, save the laudable efforts made by some countries since 1995, the image that our world offers remains tarnished by an unacceptable and dramatic situation that large stratas of world population still endure, particularly in developing countries.
In fact, recent statistics emanating from the United Nations Development Program show that 1.3 billion persons still live in extreme poverty, that 550 million persons suffer from malnutrition and that 5 billion persons do not have access to drinking water and sanitary hygiene. Such a situation is even more aggravated in Africa due to the devastating effects of AIDS, internal conflicts, and the debt burden.
In parallel to these preoccupying social realities, the same statistics testify to the fact that the liberalization of exchanges and the globalization of economies were accompanied, since 1995, by an increase of the cost of living and by the emergence of new opportunities for investment and employment in other parts of the world.
The appearance of innovative forms of protectionism, the great hold exerted by the big transnational networks over world exchanges, the lack of solidarity and passive debt treatment and the decrease of the volume of assistance for development are at the roots of the split evolution that characterizes our world on the eve of the new millennium.
This social fracture at the planetary level compels us to share with Mister Secretary General of the United Nations the assumption that "a lot of countries experience globalization not as a factor for progress but rather as a destructive force capable, like a hurricane, to destroy on its way, in few instants, lives, jobs and traditions.
In this respect, I would like to reiterate here the call that I once made at Havana, in April 2000, during the summit of the G77 of the UNCTAD, towards the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods Institutions, and the World Trade Organization, to act urgently in order to set up a more just and equitable multilateral trade rules and to put in place new modalities of financial and monetary regulations capable of easing the perverse effects of speculative financial movements and to prevent international economic and financial crises.
Furthermore, converting debt into productive investments to benefit the countries of the South with intermediate income, debt alleviation and its annulment for the least developed countries, particularly those of Africa, and the mobilizing of additional financial resources to support these countries' social programs and the leveling and the adjustment of their economies, should constitute in the future the essential axes of the new policies for development cooperation.
Besides, the migrant workers should benefit from a protection guaranteed by the national as well as international instruments. Moreover, host countries must ratify the treaties and conventions relating to the protection of workers and their family members.
It is under such conditions that the international community will be able to build long-lasting foundations for a real globalization that is based on solidarity, and to master a liberalization of economies to guarantee for the developing countries a better access to markets, capital and new technologies.
Convinced of the justness of such options for the implementation of a real cooperation in the field of social development that benefits the poor nations of the world, the Kingdom of Morocco has taken, during the Europe-Africa Cairo summit, an initiative voiced out by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, to annul the debt that the least developed African countries contracted with Morocco, and to remove all customs barriers on products coming from those countries.
May this Geneva meeting bring forth the formulation of new strategies and the implementation of innovative and daring initiatives to render the objectives of the Copenhagen summit operational and to make of the world consensus on social development a tangible reality in the daily life of the large poor categories that live on our planet.
I thank you ladies and gentlemen for your kind attention.