WB report highlights land governance issues in Morocco

Land in question: Can better land governance and land scarcity management avert the looming crisis in the Middle East and North Africa region? », is the title of the latest World Bank report, where the financial institution looks back on the failures of governance that exacerbate the scale of the land crisis in the Middle East and North Africa region ( MENA).

The World Bank report, which calls for far-reaching reforms to improve land access and use amid heightened tensions related to climate change and population growth, shows how the continued deterioration of land in a region that 84% of deserts exacerbate water scarcity problems that threaten food security and economic development.

In this sense, the vice president of the WB for the MENA region, Ferid Belhaj, estimated that ” now is the time to consider the impact of land issues that weigh heavily in many public policy decisions, but are not always explicitly recognised,” noting that “land simply matters. Population growth in the MENA region and the impact of climate change make resolving the land crisis even more urgent “.

Regarding the situation in Morocco, the report explains that the Moroccan citizen’s share of cultivated land does not exceed 0.2 hectares, which is equivalent to only 40% of the per capita share in America, while his share of land rainfed arable land is 0.02 hectares.

The process of “ property in Morocco had started since the end of the 1960s, a few years after the end of French colonization, to convert communal rural land into individual private land (property), indicates the same report, before commenting that “ this process has so far not achieved the expected success, due to problems of institutional coordination, and difficulties in managing joint ownership as well as the exclusion of women from the benefit of this process “.

According to the WB, Customary and Shariâ laws, based on what was enacted during the colonial period and the post-independence period, led to the creation of a legal pluralism governing the acquisition of land, the organization and management of assets “.

Reason why, it has become very complicated, according to the same source, “ recognize, record and access land ownership, particularly for agricultural land and land under various customary tenure systems “.

Also according to the WB report, “ one of the main effects of this complexity of legal frameworks is that it can lead to overlaps or gaps in legislation, disrupt citizens’ understanding of the law and make its application extremely difficult” explaining that “everything depends on the extent to which formal land laws are applied and interpreted in Morocco on location, ownership and local control over land matters “.

In this sense, she puts forward the example rural region of the Middle Atlas, where some village councils may enforce customary rules of land acquisition and use that contravene official government policy, while in irrigated agricultural areas official law is likely to to be applied “.

Another question is raised by the Global Financial Institution, namely that of Soulaliyate women, and how “their movement achieved many notable legislative reforms in favor of women, such as the official recognition of women as beneficiaries of compensation, after the transfer of communal lands“.

In summary, the report finds that land scarcity and governance issues vary across the MENA region as a whole, and each country needs to adopt approaches that are appropriate to its particular context.

For example, wealthy Gulf Cooperation Council countries have severe land shortages, the report says, but have better land administration, while Maghreb countries as well as Iran, Iraq and Syria , which have less land scarcity, face more severe land governance problems.

By making land a central issue, the report asserts that the urgent resolution of the land crisis in the MENA region, now exacerbated by climate change and population growth, is essential for the sustainable economic and social development of the region. .
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