Kristen Kouttab, MAC
October 3, 2017
As always, Morocco was an active participant during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York from September 12-25. Here is more detail into the highlights from Morocco’s participation. The country remains focused on four key issues:
Security and Counterterrorism
- Morocco was re-elected for another two-year term as a Co-Chair (with the Netherlands) of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), which serves as a mechanism to implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and to “complement and reinforce” existing multilateral counterterrorism efforts.
- GCTF announced that the US and Morocco would launch a new initiative, “The Initiative to Address Homegrown Violent Extremists,” with the aim of developing a new set of “Good Practices” that will help guide a more effective response to these threats.
- At a meeting of the Global Coalition against Daesh, chaired by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Morocco was recognized for its international security assistance, and noted that a key to the success of its multidimensional approach is a program launched in 2015 that trains imams to preach, practice, and teach moderate Islam. The program has trained hundreds of imams from Morocco as well as from across Africa and Europe.
Africa and South-South Cooperation
- In his speech to the General Assembly, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita reaffirmed Morocco’s commitment to Africa and described the country’s return to the African Union as a crowning achievement.
- Morocco and UNICEF organized a panel to promote South-South cooperation on early childhood development, which marked the first anniversary of the Rabat Declaration on Early Childhood Development encouraging cross-collaboration among African and MENA countries to implement improvements in this field.
Sustainable Development and the Environment
- Morocco’s Minister Delegate in Charge of Environment Hakima El Haite, along with Fiji’s Minister of Agriculture, launched the Climate Action Leadership Network to bring together high-level representatives to drive momentum on climate action before 2020. The Network will support the Marrakech Partnership for Global Climate Action, which was launched under Moroccan leadership during COP22 and was recently institutionalized under the UN.
- Morocco presided over a debate, “Placing the human being at the heart of efforts for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet,” that examined the link between peace, development, and the environment. Morocco’s Ambassador to the UN Omar Hilale said the choice of Morocco to preside was “a great honor and a great moment for our country.”
- Morocco and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation organized a meeting on climate change, “South-South Cooperation for Climate Action,” to discuss collaboration among developing countries on implementation of NDCs under the Paris Agreement.
- In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Minister Bourita reiterated that Morocco seeks a realistic resolution to the Western Sahara conflict and will continue to engage in cooperative discussions within the African Union and more broadly to advance a resolution within this framework.
- The framework is based on Morocco’s compromise formula of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, and has earned the support of multiple US administrations and the US Congress. The 2017 UN Secretary General report and Security Council resolution also called for talks based on this formula as a framework for discussion.