wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
05RABAT1842 2005-09-01 15:47:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rabat
Cable title:  

THE KING'S ROYAL FOUNDATIONS AND THEIR ROLE IN

Tags:   PGOV ECON EAID KMCA KMPI MO 
pdf how-to read a cable


1. (C) SUMMARY: The Palace's royal foundations occupy a
unique position in Morocco's political landscape. Headed by
a member of the royal family (often the King), they are
autonomous from the government, which allows them freedom of
action and funding, but have the ability to closely partner
with the government to accomplish particular goals. The
diverse aims of the nine royal foundations range from
providing services to teachers and reintegrating prisoners
into society to building infrastructure and encouraging
social development in the country. Taken together, the
foundations are meeting crucial needs that the Moroccan
government (GOM) does not have the capability of addressing
on its own. Yet, key questions linger about the extent to
which the King uses the foundations as true social
organizations, political tools of the Palace, or something in
between. In any case, the royal foundations appear to be the
King's primary vehicle for executing his "politics of
proximity" by which he is perceived to be close to the
populace. This message analyzes the function, funding, and
politics of the most important of Morocco's nine royal
foundations. END SUMMARY.



--------------------------


THE WHO'S WHO OF ROYAL FOUNDATIONS


--------------------------





2. (SBU) Morocco's royal foundations are difficult to define
uniformly, other than that they share the characteristic of
being presided over by a member of the royal family. There
are nine royal foundations in Morocco:

-- Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity
-- Mohammed VI Foundation for the Promotion of Social Works
of Education
-- Hassan II Foundation for Moroccans Living Abroad
-- Mohammed VI Foundation for the Reinsertion of Prisoners
-- Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the
Environment
-- Hassan II Foundation for Ex-Servicemen and Veterans
-- Hassan II Foundation for the Handicapped
-- Lalla Asmaa Foundation for the Deaf
-- Hassan II Foundation for Social Works for the Agents of
the Interior Ministry.



3. (SBU) The Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity is by far
the largest and most prominent of the nine in terms of budget
and public stature. It serves as the "mother hen" of other
foundations, often providing funding for their activities.
After the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, the
foundations focusing on education, Moroccans living abroad,
prisoners, and the environment attract the most public
attention. The remainder have a much lower public profile.
This cable focuses only on those foundations that are most
prominent and about which post is best informed.



--------------------------


LEADERSHIP


--------------------------





4. (SBU) Each royal foundation is led by a board of
directors that is chaired by a member of the royal family.
King Mohammed VI chairs the important Mohammed V Foundation
for Solidarity as well as the foundations bearing his name
that focus on education and prisoners. Princess Lalla Hasna,
the King's younger sister, chairs the Mohammed VI Foundation
for the Environment, while Princess Lalla Meryem, an older
sister of the King, heads the Hassan II Foundation for
Moroccans Living Abroad. The composition of the board of
directors is slightly different for each foundation, but each
board generally includes influential members of the business
community as well as the heads of government ministries that
correspond to each foundation's sphere of activities. For
example, the heads of the national electric, water, ports,
phosphates, and aluminum companies sit on the Mohammed VI
Foundation for the Protection of the Environment's board of
directors. The King's advisor for social affairs, Zoulikha
Nasri, moreover, is President of the Mohammed V Foundation
for Solidarity and is a member of the board of the Mohammed
VI Foundation for the Reinsertion of Prisoners. This
leadership structure ensures the royal family's near absolute
control over these foundations.



--------------------------


LEGAL STRUCTURE


--------------------------





5. (SBU) Several of the royal foundations trace their
existence and formal grounding in the state to a "dahir," or
royal decree. The Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity,
Mohammed VI Foundation for the Promotion of Social Works of
Education, and the Hassan II Foundation for Moroccans Living
Abroad, for example, were established by dahir, which is a
legal charter called for by the King, passed by Parliament,
and converted into law. These charters specify precisely the
mission of a foundation and the means by which it is to
achieve this mission. This legal charter allows the
foundations to be able to utilize government materials and
assets. Moroccan NGOs do not enjoy the same legal
relationship with the state and monarchy as do these three
royal foundations.



--------------------------


FUNDING


--------------------------





6. (SBU) Royal foundations can solicit and are able to use
both private and public funds. Some, like the Mohammed V
Foundation for Solidarity, rely solely on private funds,
which are raised throughout the year but largely during the
annual, week-long, solidarity campaign across Morocco. In
2004, for example, the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity
raised 208 million Dirhams (USD 23 million) during the
fundraising campaign, according to its 2004 financial report.
The lion's share of these private donations comes from the
members of the board of directors and the foundation's
"permanent support committee," which comprises a group of
Morocco's top business leaders. While it is unknown how much
money the Palace contributes, the Mohammed V Foundation for
Solidarity has built up a 370.9 million Dirhams (USD 41.7
million) surplus in the five years between 1999 and 2004, and
has dispensed 811.6 million Dirhams (USD 91.2 million) over
the same period, according to its 2004 financial report.



7. (SBU) The smaller foundations rely on a blend of funding.
The Mohammed VI Foundation for the Protection of the
Environment is funded through private sponsorships and
donations (Maroc Telecom, for example, recently sponsored one
of the foundation's city beautification projects) as well as
through government contributions. The same is true of the
Mohammed VI Foundation for the Reinsertion of Prisoners,
which, according to press reports, raised 14.4 million
Dirhams (USD 1.6 million) in 2005, but also receives
contributions from the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity
for specific projects and closely cooperates with the
government.



8. (SBU) The exception to this funding structure is the
Mohammed VI Foundation for the Promotion of Social Works of
Education, which receives the bulk of its money through small
fees (20-80 Dirhams, or USD 2-8)) charged to its members and
an annual subsidy from the state equal to two percent of the
government's total expenditure on education wages in the
country. While each foundation may have unique sources of
funding, they all share a commitment to the responsible use
of their resources. Most foundations, including the Mohammed
V Foundation for Solidarity, are independently audited by the
American firm KPMG as a safeguard against financial
mismanagement and as a means for the King to set an example
of his commitment to the corruption-free management of public
resources.



--------------------------


MOHAMMED V FOUNDATION FOR SOLIDARITY


--------------------------





9. (SBU) According to its incorporation documents, the
Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, which was established
in 1999 by King Hassan II, is a "state-approved public
utility institution that works with other social partners to
fight poverty." The foundation undertakes initiatives
organized under three broad pillars: Humanitarian Action,
Social Action, and Sustainable Development. Recent
humanitarian actions have included assistance to the region
of Al Hoceima, which was struck by a devastating earthquake
in 2004, as well as the provision of food and other
assistance to the poor during Ramadan. Under the social
action pillar, the foundation has, among other things, built
dormitories for students, tended to the handicapped, and
extended healthcare to rural areas. Under the sustainable
development pillar, the foundation has partnered with civil
society and the government to expand basic infrastructure
(e.g., potable water), promote adult literacy, and underwrite
projects that generate sustainable income. Its actions
closely shadow those of the Ministries of Health, Social
Development, Family, and Solidarity. The foundation enjoys a
very positive public image thanks in part to frequent public
events involving the King as well as its annual, national
solidarity week held in late October/early November.



--------------------------



--------------------------


MOHAMMED VI FOUNDATION FOR THE PROMOTION OF EDUCATION


--------------------------



--------------------------





10. (SBU) According to its website (www.fm6-education.ma),
the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Promotion of Social Works
of Education was established by dahir in 2001 out of "concern
for Morocco's family of teachers." Parliament approved its
charter in 2001 and in 2002 the foundation initiated
operations. The foundation provides its members with
discounted medical insurance and mortgages. It also has a
pension fund and offers a competitive scholarship program for
children of members. In addition, the foundation provides
discounts for hotels, trains, and camping, as well as aid for
members to complete the Haj. Benefits are limited solely to
educators and civil servants involved with education. The
foundation works closely with the government and provides a
strong incentive for a career in education.



--------------------------



--------------------------


MOHAMMED VI FOUNDATION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE ENVIRONMENT


--------------------------



--------------------------





11. (SBU) Under the leadership of his sister Princess Lalla
Hasna, who has a history of involvement with environmental
causes, the King created the Mohammed VI Foundation for the
Protection of the Environment in 2001. The foundation's
programs focus on initiatives involving beaches, city
beautification, and air quality. It sponsors national
campaigns to keep beaches clean, equip them with adequate
infrastructure, and have them certified under the
international "blue flag" program run by the Federation for
Environmental Education. The foundation also supports a
"flowering cities" program that plants gardens in major
cities such as Rabat and Marrakech. Its air quality programs
have included initiatives to control exhaust emissions and
introduce cleaner-burning gas in the country. The
foundation's actions closely shadow those of the Ministry of
Agriculture, Rural Development, and Sea Fisheries.



--------------------------

---
HASSAN II FOUNDATION FOR MOROCCANS LIVING ABROAD


--------------------------

---



12. (SBU) Established in 1990 by the late King Hassan II,
the Hassan II Foundation for Moroccans Living Abroad features
seven major programs dedicated to helping Moroccans living
abroad (MRE) maintain their ties to the "fatherland". The
foundation: 1) analyzes the Moroccan community abroad; 2)
arranges language training and religious education abroad,
particularly during Ramadan; 3) provides social assistance
(in the form of material aid and information) to MREs in the
case of a disaster; 4) informs MREs of events in Morocco and
aims to promote the public image of MREs in the countries in
which they live (mainly France and Spain); 5) provides legal
assistance to MREs; 6) coordinates and ensures effectiveness
of private efforts to meet the needs of MREs; and 7)
facilitates MRE investment in Morocco. The foundation's
operations are parallel to those undertaken by the Minister
Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation
in Charge of Moroccans Living Abroad. The foundation also
reinforces cultural and social ties, subtly encouraging
important remittances and MRE tourism in Morocco (reftel).



--------------------------



--------------------------


MOHAMMED VI FOUNDATION FOR THE REINSERTION OF PRISONERS


--------------------------



--------------------------





13. (SBU) King Mohammed VI created the Mohammed VI
Foundation for the Reinsertion of Prisoners in 2002. The
foundation is smaller than other foundations in terms of both
public presence and outreach. It has three main aims under
the philosophy of "consolidating the reforming and teaching
vocation of the penal establishment by making prisons a
social and human space of reintegration," as the King stated
on the occasion of the foundation's establishment. The first
objective is to create vocational training centers in prisons
in order to develop skills that are readily employable after
a prisoner's release. Since its inception, these centers
have trained some 5,130 prisoners, focusing particularly on
younger prisoners, according to press reports. The second
priority of the foundation is to improve the conditions
within the country's 56 prisons. Finally, the foundation
endeavors to change the public's negative perception of
prisoners in order to mitigate the barriers to their complete
reintegration upon release. The foundation sponsors for this
purpose an annual nationwide awareness week in late May.
Activities of the foundation mirror in many respects those of
the Ministries of Justice and Social Development.



--------------------------


SOMEWHERE BETWEEN NGOs AND THE GOVERNMENT


--------------------------





14. (SBU) Neither an NGO nor an arm of the government, the
foundations have a unique relationship with the GOM, but all
retain a large degree of independence. The Mohammed VI
Foundation for the Promotion of Social Works of Education
collaborates perhaps most closely with the government,
working directly with the various ministries responsible for
education in Morocco to provide additional benefits for
teachers. Of the nine foundations, it also appears to have
the tightest funding ties to the government, a connection
that is reinforced by the link to the foundation's website
from a GOM website. Other foundations seem to maintain a
healthy distance between themselves and the government.



15. (SBU) Nevertheless, all foundations partner with
government ministries to execute their activities. The
Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, for example,
collaborates with the Ministry of Habous and Islamic Affairs
to provide the poor with meals during Ramadan. The Mohammed
VI Foundation for the Reinsertion of Prisoners cooperated in
2004 with the Secretary of State in Charge of Vocational
Training in the Ministry of Justice and with the Office of
Vocational Training and Job Promotion to build a vocational
training center in Ain Sebaa for women prisoners, press
reports. Foundations seem to enjoy the luxury of
independence while benefiting from partnerships with
government agencies as needed to achieve their goals.



16. (SBU) All nine foundations also work with NGOs across
Morocco, not as a substitute but rather as a companion and
enabler of civil society organizations. The Mohammed V
Foundation for Solidarity in particular has made it a
priority to collaborate with and support NGOs. Since its
inception, it has supported more than 500 associations
throughout Morocco through either financial assistance or
in-kind donations. King Mohammed is cautious, however, not
to allow his royal foundations to take over as the only
social actor in Morocco. As he stated in his National
Solidarity Week speech in 2000, "When we created the
(Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity)...our objective was
not to create an alternative structure to replace the various
organizations of the State or the public institutions that
protect social security or to compete with other social
actors. Our effective leadership of the (foundation) does
not distinguish it from the other structures which act in
civil society."



--------------------------


COMMENT


--------------------------





17. (C) King Mohammed VI is keenly aware that he and the
government are under intense pressure to satisfy the mounting
social and economic needs of Morocco's growing population, as
demonstrated by the King's introduction of the National
Initiative for Human Development. The royal foundations
equip the King with a convenient and well-financed tool that
is outside the realm of government through which the King can
deliver critical services and other forms of relief to his
citizens. By funding NGOs, initiating projects of assistance
for the neglected, and tending to the many social ills of the
country, the foundations expand the King's prestige and
attract public and private awareness and funding to where
they are needed most. The universally positive press that
the King's visible involvement in the foundations' work
generates helps alleviate the political pressures on the King
and shifts negative attention away from the Palace and toward
the Moroccan government, which many see as being broken and
ineffective. In this fashion, the royal foundations function
as the King's primary vehicle for carrying out his "politics
of proximity," by which he is seen as being close to and in
tune with the needs of his people. END COMMENT.
RILEY