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Morocco’s Green Plan must benefit all, says UN rights expert on the right to food

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RABAT / GENEVA (12 October 2015) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Hilal Elver, today welcomed Morocco’s achievements in reducing extreme poverty and eliminating hunger through crucial economic and social reforms. However, she urged the authorities to reach all regions, paying particular attention to those living in remote areas and vulnerable groups.

“Morocco has a number of well-intended and comprehensive programmes, including the National Initiative for Human Development, which has the potential to ensure food and nutrition security for everyone, and while much progress has been made disparities in implementation across regions and gaps in necessary infrastructure have hindered its full dissemination,” the expert said at the end of her first fact-finding mission* to the country.

“Similarly Morocco’s Green Plan, which was developed to boost the agricultural sector, should be implemented equally across regions through effective consultation with local populations and improved coordination services,” she said. “Infrastructure should also be improved in remote areas to ensure easy access to markets, and to attract investment to rural areas, while projects that target women and young farmers should be encouraged further.”

The expert noted that desertification and increasing potential for drought as a result of climate change will have a considerable impact on agriculture over the coming years.

“The adaption policies outlined in the Morocco Green Plan are important and due care should be taken to ensure that large scale farming and intensive agriculture do not drain resources such as fresh water and lead to land degradation,” Ms. Elver said. “The dual pillars of the Plan (modernity and solidarity) should be developed in a balanced manner so as to ensure full support for small holder farmers.”

The Special Rapporteur also urged the authorities to include agroecology in future projects in order to protect biodiversity, environmental resources, maintaining social equality, and climate friendly agriculture.

“In recent years, Morocco has benefited from several important reforms, particularly the adoption of a new Constitution in 2011,” she said. “I commend the significant efforts that have been made in this regard and would encourage further engagement to ensure that the right to food is explicitly recognised in the Constitution.”

“The development of a national framework law on the right to food would complement the reforms and ensure food and nutrition security while ratification of the Optional Protocol on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights should be considered a priority,” added the expert.

During her eight-day mission, Ms. Elver met with representatives from relevant Government departments, international organizations, development agencies, academia and civil society organizations. The expert visited a number of projects in Midelt and Agadir.

The Special Rapporteur also visited Dakhla, in Western Sahara, on 10 October, where she saw several projects.

The UN expert addressed some key findings and recommendations during a press conference today that will be further developed in a report to the Human Rights Council in March 2016.

(*) Check the full end-of-mission statement by the Special Rapporteur: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16597&LangID=E

ENDS

Ms. Hilal Elver (Turkey) was appointed Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food by the Human Rights Council in 2014. She is a Research Professor, and co-director of the Project on Global Climate Change, Human Security, and Democracy housed at the Orfalea Center for Global & International Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has a law degree, a Ph.D. from the University of Ankara Law School, and SJD from the UCLA Law School. She started her teaching career at the University of Ankara Faculty of Law. Learn more: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Food/Pages/FoodIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

UN Human Rights, Country Page – Morocco: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/MENARegion/Pages/MAIndex.aspx

For more information and press inquiries, please contact:
Hind Aboufalah, UNIC Rabat: +212 668586873 / aboufalah@un.org
Orlagh McCann (Geneva): +41 22 917 9578 (before and after the visit) / srfood@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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