RABAT /GENEVA (UN) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, today welcomed Morocco’s achievements in reducing extreme poverty and eliminating hunger through crucial economic and social reforms. However, she urged 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,” the expert said at the end of her first fact-finding mission to the country.
“Similarly Morocco’s Green Plan, which was developed to boost the agricultural sector, should be implemented equally across regions through effective consultation with local populations and improved coordination services,” she said. “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.”
The expert noted that desertification and increasing potential for drought as a result of climate change will have a considerable impact on agriculture over the coming years.
“The adaption policies outlined in the Morocco Green Plan are important and due care should be taken to ensure that large scale farming and intensive agriculture do not drain resources such as fresh water and lead to land degradation,” Ms. Elver said. “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.”
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.
“In recent years, Morocco has benefited from several important reforms, particularly the adoption of a new Constitution in 2011,” she said. “I commend the significant efforts that have been made in this regard and would encourage further engagement to ensure that the right to food is explicitly recognised in the Constitution.”
“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 eight-day mission, Ms. Elver met with representatives from relevant Government departments, international organizations, development agencies, academia and civil society organizations. The expert visited a number of projects in Midelt and Agadir.
The Special Rapporteur also visited Dakhla, on 10 October, where she saw several projects.
The UN expert addressed some key findings and recommendations during a press conference today that will be further developed in a report to the Human Rights Council in March 2016.
Edited United Nations Press Release*