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06RABAT638 2006-04-07 18:27:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Rabat
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1. (SBU) Summary. On March 28-29, the GOM hosted a national
consultative workshop with NGOs, local associations,
academics, private sector representatives and members of the
international donor community as part of its consultation
process for developing a compact proposal to access funds
from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA). While hastily
organized and not always following its original schedule, the
event allowed a large portion of civil society the
opportunity to express their concerns regarding the various
factors that affect poverty reduction in Morocco and their
opinions of how to use MCA funding to address these problems.
The GOM speakers noted that it would hold regional meetings
in the future to broaden the consultative process. Few
participants seemed to notice that there was little time for
this unless the GOM significantly delays the submission of
its compact proposal, currently scheduled for April 15, but
likely to slip. Most participants appeared less
concerned/familiar with internal MCA procedures and focused
more on the magnitude of the MCA program and the fact that
the GOM had asked them for their opinion. End summary.

2. (U) In an effort to meet the Millennium Challenge
Corporation's (MCC) request for broad, national consultations
with Moroccan stakeholders, the GOM invited approximately
475 representatives from every region of Morocco to a
consultative session in Ouarzazate March 28-29. Organizers
told econoff that 98-99 percent of those invited had
attended. The GOM chartered two Boeing 767s to transport the
invitees from Casablanca to the desert town of Ouarzazate and
paid for their accommodations.

3. (U) The GOM's Joint National Workshop was originally
planned for March 25-26, but was rescheduled to March 28-29
approximately one week before. The night before the hastily
organized event, participants received a nine page summary
covering the basics of the MCA program, the GOM's current
compact proposal, and King Mohammed VI's National Initiative
for Human Development (INDH), which served as the basis for
the GOM's original MCA proposal. While the summary was
informative, most participants appeared to have only an
elementary understanding of the MCA program.

4. (U) Opening statements by Prime Minister Driss Jettou and
the Ministry of Finance's Director of Studies and Financial
Planning Mohamed Chafiki helped inform the audience of the
GOM's proposal to use MCA funds to address agriculture, oases
(and related water issues) and the INDH. The GOM hoped that
members of the audience would select spokespersons to address
the issues that affect them, but with such a large audience
and no opportunity for audience members to organize among
themselves, this proved impossible. As a result, there was
momentary disorder as a large number of participants insisted
on addressing their issues directly to the audience.

5. (SBU) On the positive side, participants demonstrated
great interest in the program and a determination to be heard
by the GOM and included in the consultative process.
However, the large number of speakers necessitated changing
the schedule of the conference and took potential time away
from an actual discussion of the problems. As a result, well
over 100 people briefly addressed the audience on the first
day of the conference. While some of the speakers made clear
and impassioned pleas for their causes, numerous others were
simply rambling, redundant and time consuming. The
proceedings finally ended at 8:00 PM with a surprisingly
positive mood because a large number of people were able to
tell the GOM about their problems. This alone probably
validates the MCC's claim that the GOM needed to expand its
consultative process. Many participants told econoff they
were pleased with the meeting because it was the first time
the GOM had ever consulted them on the problems confronting
their communities.

6. (SBU) Early on the first day, the moderator of the
conference organized two teams of rapporteurs to take notes
and accept written studies from the participants as the basis
for a two-hour discussion period on the second day of the
conference and for a final report on the findings of the
meeting. A report of the proceedings that should be
available by mid-April could be helpful for future meetings
in the consultation process and the next compact proposal.
However, a tight schedule still exists to incorporate the
results of this meeting, and subsequent ones, into the GOM's
next MCA compact proposal, given the GOM interest in rapid
progress on the compact.

7. (SBU) The second day of the proceedings concluded after

RABAT 00000638 002 OF 002

only 42 minutes. The planned two-hour discussion of the
lessons of the first day was reduced to a 10 minute summary
of key points. Interestingly, the first lesson learned that
the moderator noted was that civil society was not
sufficiently involved in the consultative process. The
second issue mentioned was a lack of coordination between
civil society organizations and their failure to sufficiently
monitor the results of their programs. Of the other
approximately 50 issues raised, some of the more prominent
included improving the infrastructure of water resources,
rationalizing land ownership, promoting micro credit lending,
fighting illiteracy, increasing agricultural production and
food processing, assisting the fishing industry and promoting
traditional artisans. Surprisingly, only one speaker on the
first day suggested that legislative changes would be
necessary to help assure the success of potential GOM

8. (SBU) Comment. For the most part, the participants of
the GOM's Joint National Workshop left the meeting happy that
they had been asked for their opinions on the problems
confronting Morocco. The meeting failed to produce in-depth
discussions of the problems. However, it allowed many
Moroccans to voice their questions and problems directly to
the GOM for the first time. Regional consultation meetings
were scheduled to start in early April and the participants
clearly heard the message that this conference was the
beginning of the consultative process, not the end. Although
time is very short before the GOM submits its next compact
proposal, this meeting may represent an important early step
in the growing participation of Moroccan civil society in
formulating public policy.
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