Morocco/ 4. Current issues in cultural policy development and debate  

4.1 Main cultural policy issues and priorities

The Minister of Culture outlined four thematic strategies for 2012:

  1. The "Cultural Morocco" strategy
  2. The "Heritage 2020" strategy
  3. Creative cultural production
  4. Putting in place a new program for partnership

First: The "Cultural Morocco" Strategy: 

Putting in place a "cultural Morocco" strategy that is based on a multi-faceted Moroccan identity that is open to the different cultures of the world. The Ministry adopted the following references: 

  • The requirements of the new constitution, which singled out the special status of culture
  • The governmental program, which devoted an important space for culture

With regard to the "Cultural Morocco" strategy, two important documents were prepared:

  • A sectoral report that monitors the status of various cultural and artistic forms of expression, as well as aspects of their advancement and development.
  • A draft of a national charter on Moroccan culture, which serves as a platform for an open discussion with all relevant actors to create a unified and agreed upon vision.

The main purposes of these two documents is:

  • Putting in place legal norms for cultural diversity and plurality.
  • Organising the roles of those who involve themselves in cultural affairs.
  • Linking cultural policy with development.

Therefore it revolves around multiculturalism, the linguistic field, the status of the cultural sector and cultural policy.

These two documents, which were prepared by a team of experts, are considered an initial platform for a broad discussion with cultural and artistic personalities in order to develop a comprehensive and agreed upon vision. The platform for discussion will began in the middle of December 2012, after consulting cultural parties on the methodology for organising these meetings. 

Second: The "Heritage 2020" Strategy

Given the importance of cultural heritage as a mechanism for creative cultural production, and its role as a locomotive for the development of our country, the Ministry has developed a strategy for the protection, maintenance, and enhancement of heritage, entitled "Heritage 2020." This strategy is based on three pillars:

The First Pillar: Legislation

A review of legislation related to the preservation of cultural heritage. This law aims to define all components of cultural heritage, and enacts general rules to protect, preserve, and enhance this heritage, as well as identifying its activation mechanisms. 

The National Charter to preserve cultural and natural heritage, which is a framework bill that sets the following mechanisms, including:

  • Legalisation and completion of the inventory and registration for the National Register of Cultural Property.
  • Classification of cultural heritage.
  • Legislation on archaeological land and sea research.
  • Ratification of a plan to manage and invest in cultural heritage.
  • The establishment of a national committee for heritage.

The living human treasures system in Morocco is a mechanism for preserving the most prevalent forms of immaterial heritage.  It significantly contributes to the transfer of expertise and knowledge through formal recognition of those who embody this living heritage. It consists of:

  • Cultural and natural heritage groups, focused on the issue of preservation.
  • Elements of the legal system for preserving cultural and natural heritage.
  • Legal jurisdictions in the field of heritage preservation.
  • Profiling and unifying sectoral standards for taking inventory.
  • Partnership mechanisms in the field of heritage preservation.

The Second Pillar: Continuity 

  • Implementing a portal for Moroccan Cultural Heritage, as an official source of information on everything related to national cultural heritage.
  • Implementing a Geographic Information System (GIS) for heritage to serve as a complementary mechanism alongside inventory.
  • Preparing brochures and guides providing information on historical sites and buildings.

The Third Pillar: Procedure

Priority is placed on appraisal and preservation operations for all types of heritage, according to the content of partnerships with all stakeholders. 

Among the initiatives that could be included, in this section, include folk art events in Morocco, which will be entrusted with the protection and maintenance of folk arts and the advancement of the Kingdom. The reason is that the institution cares about folk arts, and in maintaining support and improvement opportunities for artists as specialists of national heritage, securing their creative freedom without interference. It would be one of the priorities of the institution of the "City of Folk Arts in Morocco" in the city of Marrakech. For this purpose, it has been financially monitoring an estimated 120 million dirhams which will be allocated to accomplish this city.will be Launching in 2015, it would include a residency for local arts groups to allow them to benefit from the continued workshops, a theatre, and a specialist treasury in folk arts to document these arts and others as a part of the symbolic capital of the Kingdom.

It should be noted that the Ministry allocated a 2013 budget estimated at more than 67 million dirhams for what constituted 16 percent of the budget allocated to the Ministry (without calculating total wages) with an outlook to protecting the physical and intangible cultural heritage.

Third: Creative Cultural Industries
The MoC has sought to pay attention to creative cultural industries as a modern concept, which highlights culture's primary dimension of creating values and its central role in growth and national economic development. It has focused on reviewing the philosophy of ad hoc support for culture and the arts through engaging on two levels.

First Level: Through amending the existing legal arsenal, taking into consideration the observations and suggestions of partners and those involved, as well as constitutional developments regarding cultural diversity.

Constitutional developments include the following decrees and decisions from the General Secretariat signed in 2013:

  • A decree to support various creative fields.
  • A decree to support theatre. 
  • A decision to create and distribute an artist's card.
  • A decision to institute an award for Moroccan writers.

And other signed decrees shall include:

  • A decree to support festivals and cultural exhibitions.
  • A decree to support visual arts.
  • A decree to support associations.
  • A decree to support folk and performing arts.

Second Level: Renewing support by using new mechanisms which make culture a pillar of support for economic and social development, primarily through:

  • Issuing a new law for the creation, support, and upkeep of artistic enterprises, particularly small, medium-sized, and cooperative enterprises.
  • Reviewing the artists' law, and issuing decrees, especially related to artistic enterprises and artistic services agencies, as new mechanisms to support and promote artistic production.
  • National plan to support reading and books.
  • Work to provide an objective picture of the situation of reading and book accessibility, and the formulation of measures to create a new reality for reading and the book industry in Morocco. For this purpose the estimated amount of 17 million durhams were allocated in 2013/2014.
  • National plan for the rehabilitation of theatre. 

Through consulting with major figures in the field of theatre, this plan will be adopted to establish a clear vision for the future of the sector through a comprehensive national charter that is numbered and includes a schedule through 2020, and sets scenarios for intervention and signs contracts for work programs. For this purpose the estimated amount of 6 million dirhams were allocated in 2013 to support theatrical production support.

Fourth: Drafting a new methodology for the partnership
Partnerships are one of the most important mechanisms for implementing general cultural policy that the state relies upon. Partnerships also support programs and activities carried out by civil society groups. On this basis, the Ministry is determined to consider a variety of partnerships with different actors according to a new perspective that includes specific goals and a schedule for implementation.

Chapter published: 05-05-2016