Morocco’s agriculture-focused ‘Green Plan’ must benefit all, says UN rights expert

14 October 2015

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, has commended Morocco’s achievements in reducing extreme poverty and eliminating hunger through crucial economic and social reforms, while also urging the authorities to reach all regions, paying particular attention to those living in remote areas and vulnerable groups.

“Morocco has a number of well-intended and comprehensive programmes, including the National Initiative for Human Development, which has the potential to ensure food and nutrition security for everyone, and while much progress has been made disparities in implementation across regions and gaps in necessary infrastructure have hindered its full dissemination,” Ms. Elver said press release wrapping up her eight-day mission to the country.

She also stressed that Morocco’s ‘Green Plan,’ which was developed to boost the agriculture sector, should be implemented equally across all regions through effective consultation with local populations and improved coordination services.

“Infrastructure should also be improved in remote areas to ensure easy access to markets, and to attract investment to rural areas, while projects that target women and young farmers should be encouraged further,” she added.

The Special Rapporteur noted that desertification and increasing potential for drought caused by climate change will have a considerable impact on agriculture over the coming years.

As such, she recommended complying with the adaptation policies outlined in the Green Plan and undertaking measures to ensure that large scale farming and intensive agriculture do not drain resources such as fresh water and lead to land degradation.

“The dual pillars of the Plan (modernity and solidarity) should be developed in a balanced manner so as to ensure full support for small holder farmers,” added Ms. Elver.

The Special Rapporteur also urged the authorities to include agroecology in future projects in order to protect biodiversity, environmental resources, maintaining social equality, and climate friendly agriculture.

Ms. Elver noted that Morocco has been benefitting from several important reforms, particularly the adoption of a new Constitution in 2011.

“The development of a national framework law on the right to food would complement the reforms and ensure food and nutrition security while ratification of the Optional Protocol on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should be considered a priority,” added the expert.

During her mission, Ms. Elver met with representatives of relevant Government departments, international organizations, development agencies, academia and civil society groups.

She also visited a number of projects in Midelt, Agadir and Dhakla, in Western Sahara.

Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

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