20 February 2017

Morocco: Full Text of Royal Message to Participants in 2nd International Parliamentary Forum On Social Justice

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Rabat — HM King Mohammed VI sent a message to the participants in the 2nd International Parliamentary Forum on Social Justice, which kicked off here on Monday.

The royal message was read out by the speaker of the House of Advisors (Upper house), Hakim Benchamach.

Here follows the full text of the royal message:

"Praise be to God,

May peace and blessings be upon The Prophet, His Kith and Kin

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me pleasure to send this message to the participants in the second Parliamentary Forum on Social Justice, organized by the House of Councilors. This forum has become an annual occasion to deepen thought on social justice issues and effectively contribute to achieving the goals and objectives of the World Day for Social Justice.

In this regard, I commend your choice of the theme: the institutionalization of social dialogue, considered as a prerequisite for achieving sustainable development and social justice. In fact, social dialogue is an important component of the International Labor Organization's definition of decent work.

I should also like to commend your decision to discuss a topic that is the next logical stage in the work which led to the Rabat Declaration on Social Justice, considered by the Inter-Parliamentary Union as part of the reference documents for the 2017-2021 period.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Social dialogue is a principle and an approach that, since my accession to the throne of my glorious ancestors, I have been urging all stakeholders to adopt and institutionalize as a strategic option for our country which, since the 1962 Constitution, has endorsed the social character of our constitutional monarchy.

Accordingly, I have been keen to strengthen and further develop the social dialogue achievements made during the reign of my late father, His Majesty King Hassan II - may he rest in peace - who, in his speech on 16 May 1995, defined the framework, philosophy and objectives of this dialogue. He particularly insisted on the importance of regular consultation between economic and social stakeholders in order to achieve a genuine partnership between businesses and unions.

The creation of the Economic and Social Council, provided for in the 1996 Constitution, was one of the strategic decisions he made. On several occasions, I have urged successive governments to promote consultation between social parties and adopt suitable approaches for the establishment and organization of professional relations. I have also asked them to consolidate and develop social dialogue mechanisms and approaches.

To put this course of action into effect, the legislative body has introduced a significant number of laws, following my guidelines, in order to launch a series of consultation, negotiation, conciliation and dispute-resolution mechanisms. A number of councils and committees have also been created to facilitate dialogue between production stakeholders.

The national social dialogue system has therefore been consolidated thanks to various mechanisms for collective bargaining and dialogue provided for in the Labor Law. Important reference documents have also been developed, such as the Social Charter prepared by the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, which itself acts as a forum for dialogue between stakeholders.

However, the efficiency of the social dialogue mechanisms may not be measured by their mere existence, nor by how regularly they work. They must have a tangible effect that produces good practices and helps promote social peace, economic growth and sustainable, inclusive development for all social categories, in order to reach the ultimate goal of achieving social justice.

Therefore, one of the main challenges facing all parties involved in the process of social dialogue is how to manage the transition to a new generation of mechanisms.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

In this regard, I would like to point out that our country's constitution reflects our shared aspirations and brings realistic and effective responses to this practical challenge. A number of constitutional provisions offer invaluable opportunities that need to be intelligently and innovatively exploited by legislators, as well as by all stakeholders, local councils and civil society in order to achieve advanced institutionalization of social dialogue, as one of the components of the national model for social justice.

I am referring more particularly to the constitutional roles and missions of trade unions, professional bodies and employers' organizations. I would also like to point out the positive commitment of public authorities to promote collective negotiation and consultation organizations, in order to involve all social actors in the development, implementation and assessment of public policies.

In this regard, we should remember the role of the law in regulating work relations, as well as the new prerogatives of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council and the participatory mechanisms for dialogue and consultation created at the level of local and regional councils, including the consultative authorities set up in partnership with regional economic actors to deal with regional economic issues, in accordance with the provisions of the organic law on regions.

Optimal use of such opportunities, however, requires appropriate answers to a number of practical questions: How can the successes and failures of the current social dialogue system be used to facilitate the transition to a new system? How to can complementarity be achieved between the various thematic, sectoral and local social dialogue mechanisms? How can the capacity for anticipation of mediation mechanisms be enhanced through social dialogue, in a context where new types of work relations have emerged, new issues that go beyond traditional work disputes have surfaced and stronger, legitimate claims for access to economic and social rights are being made, both at the local and national levels?

When looking for answers to these questions, which will no doubt be part of your deliberations, four challenges closely linked to the process of building a Moroccan model for social justice must be taken into consideration.

The first challenge is the institutionalization of social dialogue mechanisms which have simple procedures and clear approaches and can include all parties. These mechanisms should convene regularly, cover a definite geographical area, play complementary roles and have the capacity to anticipate, as well as a long-term vision. They should have a mediation capacity not only when it comes to classical work relations issues, but also with regard to all issues related to decent work in its broader sense. This logically calls for thinking of the features of the new social dialogue system as a catalyst for participatory democracy and a pillar of social peace.

The second challenge is the need to enlarge the scope of social dialogue to include new issues, which are at the heart of my concerns and part of our country's constitutional and conventional commitments, namely effective equality, the fight against gender discrimination at the workplace and the fight against child labor. Decent work conditions should also be provided for the handicapped and the informal sector should be rehabilitated, in order to increase areas and opportunities for decent work.

The third challenge is the need to build a new social dialogue system, taking into consideration the prerequisites for gender equality and the respect of human rights, along with our country's commitments in accordance with the ILO's conventions and with the requirements for sustainable development in its economic, social and environmental dimensions. The new social dialogue system should focus particularly on the Millennium Development Goals related to poverty, gender equality, continuous, inclusive sustainable economic development, full and productive employment and decent work for all. We should also take advantage of the ILO's valuable contributions as far as social dialogue institutionalization is concerned and the United Nations' guiding principles on business and human rights.

The fourth challenge is to consider the institutionalization of social dialogue as a major gateway to achieving social justice and sustainable development.

These requirements must be taken into consideration not only to ensure the methodological coherence of the new social dialogue system, but is also because they are at the heart of the course of action resolutely adopted by our country, with a view to changing to a new sustainable development model which is fair and comprehensive. This model should achieve social justice and set the conditions for a decent life, which are fundamental for laying the foundations for a solidarity-based society, as described in the preamble to the Kingdom's constitution.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I ask the House of Councilors to pursue the participatory construction of a Moroccan model for social justice, through the organization of thematic and sectoral debates, forums and consultations with the relevant actors and to make use of their results to prepare future sessions of this parliamentary forum.

Finally, I wish this parliamentary forum on social justice every success. I also wish the representatives of international organizations and parliaments a pleasant stay in the Kingdom of Morocco.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh."

Morocco

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