The National Civil Society Day, celebrated on 13 March each year, is an opportunity to pay tribute to the work and efforts of associations and NGOs in favor of the community, but also to highlight their contributions in various fields.
The National Civil Society Day is intended to provide an opportunity to focus on the achievements of the associative movement in Morocco, to highlight initiatives undertaken in the field of the promotion of rights and freedoms and to facilitate voluntary work with a view to making an effective contribution to the overall sustainable development of the Kingdom.
It is, in fact, a recognition of the work of thousands of people who work alongside their communities to improve their living environment and support the government’s commitment to human development, in which the human being is the main and priority target.
The 2011 Constitution has, in this regard, reserved a very important place for civil society by considering it, in addition to its consultative role, as an effective factor in decision-making related to the country’s development. This place has been consolidated by all the accumulations and achievements it has been able to make in the areas of advocacy, multiple movements and partnerships so that it can become a key factor in translating participatory democracy into a concrete reality.
It is therefore considered an essential player in participatory democracy and good governance. Such participation appears explicitly in article 12 of the Constitution, which states that “associations interested in public affairs and non-governmental organizations shall contribute, within the framework of participatory democracy, to the elaboration, implementation and evaluation of the decisions and projects of elected institutions and public authorities. These institutions and authorities must organize this contribution in accordance with the terms and conditions established by law”.
Civil society is also recognized as a partner in the implementation of development strategies at various levels, including the formulation and implementation of public policies and participation in the drafting of legislation. All of this by offering for the first time the possibility for citizens to submit petitions to the Constitutional Court, with the aim of canceling laws that conflict with the objectives and orientations of the Constitution.
Indeed, article 14 of the Basic Law stipulates that “citizens have the right to submit proposals on legislative matters, under the conditions and in the manner laid down by law”. Similarly, article 15 stipulates that citizens have the right to submit petitions to the public authorities whose modalities of exercise have been adopted by organic laws. In this regard, the Ministry responsible for relations with Parliament and civil society, as inter-ministerial coordinator of civil society actions, has drawn up a Strategic Plan 2017-2021 on the implementation of the new framework for participatory democracy.
This plan focuses on the following areas: the implementation of the petition committee, the launch of an awareness-raising campaign, capacity-building, the development of an electronic platform for citizen participation and the establishment of a monitoring and evaluation system for the implementation of the new legal framework for citizen participation.
The supervisory department has also made enormous efforts to put in place a series of projects and procedures to strengthen the capacities and skills of associations by developing the system of partnership between the State and associations, promoting associative action and implementing participatory mechanisms, consultation and consolidation of cooperation with actors working in the field.