Rabat — HM King Mohammed VI called on Thursday for the development of a common vision for a full-fledged urban development system based on exploratory action and rational use of the areas and resources available.
"Such a system should help make the urban network balanced again, increase its ability to adapt to different economic, social, environmental, political and technological changes and reduce the gap between urban areas, marginalized neighborhoods and rural areas," HM the King said in a message to the participants in the 2nd Ministerial Forum on Housing and Urban Development, read out by HM the King's advisor Abdellatif Menouni.
In a message sent to the forum themed "The implementation of the new urban development plan in the Arab region", the sovereign also stressed the need to lay the groundwork for an urban policy which respects local identities and particularities, while considering new, creative mechanisms for a new urban development system that would enable our citizens to enjoy good living conditions.
In addition to an adequate housing which makes it possible to lead a dignified life, HM the King deemed necessary to provide a clean environment which allows for economic development and smart urban planning that ultimately serves the citizen.
"This requires thorough institutional reforms whereby regions, decentralized authorities and national initiatives would be given extensive powers. Through these reforms, those in charge of public policies should also be in a better position to answer citizens' needs and fulfil their aspirations," HM the King underlined.
"I should like to point out, in this regard, that to be sustainable, our urban centers require a pooling of energies and competences in order to tackle the consequences of climate change and improve the management of natural disasters, in addition to addressing issues relating to sustainable planning and urban governance," the sovereign noted.
HM the King invited, on this occasion, the participants to strive doubly hard in order to consolidate cooperation and promote the exchange of know-how and experiences between Arab countries given that have the same concerns, face similar challenges, and have their eyes set on the future.
The sovereign also said that urban centers should be conducive to integration and citizen participation, looking forward to seeing green cities - cities that foster a spirit of creativity, civilized conduct, tolerance and cooperation.
HM the King recalled that Morocco has adhered to all relevant international conventions, to new urban development agendas and to global mechanisms for urban development.
"It seeks to implement them by including them in its national development strategies," the sovereign said, recalling the launch in 2004 of the national program "Cities without slums", which is aimed at eradicating all sorts of sub-standard housing in 85 cities and towns.
"This ambitious national program is based on making housing the gateway to social cohesion and to economic dynamism. So far, thanks to this program, 58 cities and towns have been declared slum-free," HM the King highlighted.
The right to housing is stipulated in the 2011 Constitution of the Kingdom of Morocco, together with the right to water, a healthy environment, healthcare and social security, the sovereign went on to say.
"Many accomplishments have been made in this regard thanks to political will and an approach based on the promotion of rights and of urban integration," HM the King underlined.
The monarch also underscored that Morocco has also been actively involved in a sustainable, comprehensive urban development policy through the consolidation of human resource development programs as well as social and spatial cohesion.
"Using a proactive, exploratory approach we have developed a national urban plan and have sought to implement the urban policy adopted in 2012," HM the King added.