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Morocco: UNICEF supports the government to develop a national integrated policy for child protection


Morocco: UNICEF supports the government to develop a national integrated policy for child protection
"From this rostrum we commit ourselves to be fully engaged with you in the implementation and monitoring of the integrated policy for child protection. So you also should commit not to disappoint our hopes.” 

These words aren’t those of the UNICEF Representative, nor those of the Minister of Social Development in Morocco, but rather Sanaa’s, the 16-year-old girl who was elected by her peers to speak on behalf of children at the opening of the first conference on child protection in Morocco. Sanaa's words had a strong impact on the more than 500 participants who attended the conference; they gave her a standing ovation. The Chief of Government, who chaired the opening session, welcomed the participation of children in the process and highlighted everyone’s role in protecting children.

UNICEF partnered with the Government in the development of the child protection policy and sent a strong message to the Head of Government and his team at the conference. "UNICEF’s international experience tells us that real and effective child protection can only be achieved when an integrated response is put into action, taking into account that children’s rights are interconnected. States that have the best results are those who develop a holistic approach, those who inform, educate and sensitise all stakeholders; those that encourage the participation of children and, of course, put in place a strong and credible system for monitoring and assessment”, stressed Regina De Dominicis, UNICEF Representative in Morocco.

An inclusive participatory process

The conference concluded 12-month inclusive, participatory process by the Government of Morocco through the Ministry of Solidarity, Women, Family and Social Development, involving other ministries, civil society, the private sector, independent institution of human rights and of course children, including vulnerable children. The process benefited from the support of UNICEF at the country level but also the technical support of headquarters and the MENA regional office, who attended the conference and shared their international experience. 

The conference was organised around five themes. The first one allowed participants to share different countries’ experiences about models of integrated protection systems, and services. The second theme covered the optional protocol of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) on communications procedures. Morocco was one of the first countries who adopted this protocol, but until today it’s not been in force. UNICEF in Morocco is undertaking a political advocacy to allow the National Human rights council, the only independent human rights mechanisms available in Morocco, to take this forward.

Partnerships between Government and civil society were the third theme discussed by the conference. In Morocco, civil society is a leading stakeholder in the protection system and has a pioneering role in the development of innovative approaches and practices; however, it remains fragmented. Participants were unanimous in stressing the fact that partnership between Government and civil society needed to be better designed.

What about corporate social responsibility?

The private sector has undeniably an important role to play to protect children from exploitation, whether economic or sexual. However the situational analysis in Morocco revealed that Corporate Social Responsibility is still limited and that the private sector’s commitment to engage in child rights should be more sustained.

Nevertheless, during the conference the representatives of the General Confederation of Enterprises in Morocco committed to engage better to raise awareness within the business community about this issue.

International partnership was the fifth theme, discussed during a round table chaired by both the UN Resident Coordinator and the Director of Cooperation in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. International partners and donors renewed their commitments to support child protection.

At the end of the conference, strong recommendations were adopted. Among them, the importance of sustaining children’s participation at every stage of the implementation and monitoring of the policy.

Participants also recommended:

  • That there be a clear work plan and a strong and credible monitoring and evaluation framework. 
  • To establish a strong coordination mechanisms at both central and local levels and to ensure the participation of all partners. 

To establish a fixed source of funding or create a special fund to enable the implementation of the policy. 

For its part, the Government renewed its commitment to follow up on the conference recommendations and called for UNICEF’s support. 

“The best way for Morocco to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the CRC will be to present a clear action plan to implement the policy next autumn at the CRC session in Geneva,” concluded Regina De Dominicis at the end of the conference.

 

 
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