- Kingdom of Morocco Ministry of National and Urban Planning, Housing and City Policy with League of Arab States
With ever-increasing urbanization, cities around the world have become the site of profound socio-economic and cultural changes that directly impact the way people live. This situation puts city officials and managers in the face of major challenges in terms of governance, the fight against poverty, housing, travel and mobility, access to basic services and equipment, etc. The Kingdom of Morocco has experienced rapid and significant urbanization with spatial, social and economic consequences. Its impact has manifested itself in the morphology of cities as well as in the living conditions of millions of people. With more than 60% of its population living in urban areas, the country had to cope with the need for decent housing, the phenomenon of social exclusion in disadvantaged neighborhoods, deficits in local services and public facilities. Faced with this phenomenon and its consequences, the Kingdom has put in place proactive and innovative public policies to combat the negative effects of this rampant urbanization.
In this session, Kingdom of Morocco will present its "City Policy" (or Urban Development Policy), implemented since 2012, as one of its main tools to localize the New Urban Agenda in its national context towards achieving sustainable urban development, The Policy aims to act in an integrated way to make cities, attractive, and inclusive spaces for all. The Urban Development Policy also tends to prevent the anarchic and excessive sprawl of cities by considering urban spaces in the making or by creating new ones in order to anticipate an inevitable development. Faced with this phenomenon and its consequences, the Kingdom has put in place proactive and innovative public policies to combat the negative effects of this rampant urbanization. Thus, the public actions put in place to fight substandard housing, and particularly the Cities without Sums Program, have improved the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of households and have earned Morocco the international recognition of a expertise and know-how that is being asked for today in Africa and beyond.
Moreover, aware of the importance of cooperation and of exchange of expertise and know-how between countries, Kingdom of Morocco is working, within the framework of UN-Habitat, and in collaboration with Arab countries, to accelerate the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, capitalizing on national and local experiences, in order to jointly tackle the challenges of urbanization and sustainable urban development. In this respect, the kingdom hosted the Second Arab Ministerial Forum for Housing and Urban Development (AMFHUD2), in partnership with League of Arab States and UN-Habitat Regional Programme of Arab States in December 2017 to reiterate Arab countries commitment towards the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in their specific contexts, in alignment with the Arab Strategy for Housing and Urban Development 2030.
The side event will also present the outcomes of AMFHUD2 which culminated into Rabat Declaration, to demonstrate the progress made in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda in the Arab region at the regional level and the way forward for the integration of the five focus areas of the AFNIUA in Arab strategies at the national and local levels. AMFHUD2 gathered representatives from 20 Arab countries in addition to regional offices of UN agencies and non-governmental organizations. It represented a platform for reflection on persistent and emerging challenges facing Arab countries, and the operationalization of the Arab Strategy for Housing and Sustainable Urban Development 2030, the vehicle for guiding the implementation of the New Urban Agenda and the urban components of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, in particular Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 11 'making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable'. AMFHUD2 explored opportunities and priority areas to be addressed for localizing relevant regional and global frameworks into their various contexts and shared good housing and sustainable urban practices at the national and local levels towards achieving improved quality of life for all. The deliberations recapped the necessity of managing rapid urbanization efficiently to promote and achieve sustainable development. Participants of the forum stressed the importance of adopting inclusive urban policies to address the rising challenges of housing adequacy and affordability, land speculation, increasing social inequalities, urban fragmentation, continuous natural disasters and prolonged human made crises, etc.