Humans, nature at the heart of Morocco’s new development model

This article was originally published on Morocco World News, on June 30, 2020.

The Royal Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IRES) report on Morocco’s new development model has called for revaluing people’s relationship with nature, and putting the two at the heart of the development process.

The document favored a “leapfrog” strategy to the question of Morocco’s development — a notion suggesting that developing countries can quickly move forward through the adoption of modern systems without going through intermediary steps.

IRES opted for the approach “given the urgency of addressing challenges which make it necessary to leapfrog tradition steps and find alternative paths ahead, in order to allow Morocco to join the club of developed countries in the long run.”

To adjust to these ever-changing variables, IRES recommended that Morocco’s new development model be built around four main pillars: placing humans at the heart of development, taking care of nature, contributing to “planetarization,” and firmly committing to “exponentiality.”

“The four independent pillars must be supported by a new governance system, the two main principles of which are justice and ethics, on the one hand, and flexibility and adaptation on the other hand,” the report said.

According to IRES, the new governance system should break ties with past practices and be based on honesty, new approaches to action, and new leadership.

For Morocco to create the necessary conditions for the human economy, the report recommends “a radical change in attitude by training young people, teachers, and adults, reviewing spatial planning by making the city more human for its inhabitants, and drastically reducing inequalities.”

The report urges Morocco to reconsider people’s relationship with nature by “mainstreaming climate change adaptations and ecological footprint reduction into public policies, successfully transitioning to a low-carbon economy, regenerating highly degraded natural resources, and enhancing ecosystem services.”

The document also recommends focusing on sustainable agriculture and extending the ecosystem approach to agriculture to achieve a “reconciliation between humans and nature.”

As for Morocco’s contribution to planetarization — growing global solidarity in the face of dangers threatening the whole planet — IRES suggested “consolidating territorial development, improving access to, and dissemination of, global knowledge, creating a Moroccan-style blue economy and accelerating the regional integration of Morocco’s economy, by actively participating in the establishment of the continental free trade area.”

To support its recommendations, IRES has compiled a series of “best practices” from around the world and highlighted the concepts the report defends through real-life illustrations.

Finally, the report stressed the necessity that Morocco resists the “exponentiality” of changes.

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