Morocco/ 3. Competence, decision-making and administration  

3.2 Overall description of the system

The MoC’s system is divided into central, local and cultural organisational levels. Central and local levels comprise all government sectors whose rules stipulate how cultural duties should be performed. The cultural organisational level includes cultural committees/councils and cultural promotion institutions.

2.2.1 Fine Arts and Antiquities

Central Administration Level
As mentioned earlier, the contemporary organisation of culture in Morocco dates back to the French-Spanish protectorate period. After recognising the protectorate in 1912, the Resident General assigned to implement the French Protection Convention in Morocco (Marshal Ellioti) created the Service of Fine Arts and Antiquities. The Service was affiliated with the General Directorate for Public Education, Fine Arts and Antiquities by virtue of Decision 28 Feb, 1921 (OG N° 437, 8/3/1921). After independence, the fine arts and antiquities sector was initially affiliated with the Ministry of National Education and later (until the end of the 1960s) with other ministries (see Table 1).

Local Level
Local communities are prohibited from intervening in local cultural affairs. Pursuant to chapter 25 of the Local Communities Organisation Law of 1960 (OG N° 2487, 246/6/1960), they are only permitted to express their wishes about culture, not politics or in anything governmental outside their locality.

Cultural Organisations Level
In the late 1950s, three decrees were issued creating the advisory structures for so-called “popular culture”: Those were: Decision 1/59/140 issued on 12 June, 1959, pertaining to the establishment of the National Council for Popular Culture; Decision 2/59/141 pertaining to the establishment of the Supreme Committee for Popular Culture (published in the official gazette); and Decision 1/59/142 (published in the same issue of the gazette) pertaining to the establishment of a regional committee for popular culture. The same issue of the gazette featured implementation strategies for these decisions.

The three aforementioned levels define the government’s role in promoting Moroccan culture. Cultural affairs also impact national education, youth & sport, handicraft and interior affairs.

2.2.2. The Stage of the MoC

Central Administration and External Interests Level
From the early 1970s till the end of the 20th century, the institutional organisation of culture developed tangibly, evidenced by the establishment of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs as an independent sector in 1974. The establishment of this ministry was associated with the issuance of many ministerial decrees and resolutions pertaining to the cultural field (See chapter 5).

Local Level
In the mid-1970s, Morocco witnessed a period of relative political openness, which resulted in the issuance a new law pertaining to community organisation at the local level (Decision 1/76/583 dated 30 Sep, 1976; published in the official gazette, Issue 3335, 1 Oct, 1973).

Chapter 30 of this law stipulates that the collective council shall be rotated among local communities to ensure their full development. This was a major development for democratising the cultural maintenance process.

Cultural Organisations Level
In 1975, contrary to existing popular culture agencies, the National Committee for Culture was established. They were considered an advisory body in charge of reviving culture by proposing projects in the various cultural development fields, particularly legislative. The committee comprised various official sectors such as education, information, interior, handicraft as well as independent cultural institutions such as public libraries, music and art institutes and religious foundations (The University of Al-Karaouine University and Dar Al-hadith Al-Hassania).

The Committee, which was supposed to convene every three months, only convened for the first time six years after its establishment. The first meeting was held on 30 June, 1981, the second meeting in March 1982, and the third in January 1984.

In 1986, a national seminar about Moroccan culture was conducted in Tarudant (southern Morocco). Another seminar was conducted in Fes (northern Morocco) in 1993.

In 1993 the National Committee for Culture convened under the name National Council for Culture. The committee decided to amend Decree 1975, pertaining to the organisation of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs.

The National Council for Culture convened on 19 December, 1994, under the name Supreme Council for Culture (which was officially established the following year by virtue of Decree 2/94/288 dated 20 January, 1995, published in the official gazette, issue 4294, 15 February, 1995).

The new council was designated an advisory body in charge of discussing cultural policies and proposing approaches and topics related to cultural work. It was assisted by 11 regional cultural centres, created by virtue of the same decree (later amended by a complementary decision: Decision 30/27/95 dated 3 January, 1996, published in the official gazette, Issue 4344, 18 January, 1996).

This council comprises almost all government sectors, many civil society associations and various cultural actors (the aforementioned meeting discussed ways of implementing the new law pertaining to the organisation of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs issued in May 1994). 

Chapter published: 05-05-2016