Morocco: Cultural Heritage and the Creative Industries as a Vehicle for Development in Morocco

Morocco possesses a rich and varied cultural heritage. However, while this heritage is a source of national pride, it remains undervalued and its development potential untapped. The aim of the Joint Programme was to strengthen the role of Morocco's cultural heritage and its creative industries within government policies and strategies relating to human development, poverty reduction and gender equity. As well as boosting local socio-economic development and sustainability, the programme sought to create a balance between preserving Morocco's cultural heritage and using it for the purpose of economic development.

The programme's four aims were to ensure that:  

  1. The advantages of using Morocco's cultural heritage in economic and social development are recognized and incorporated into a national strategy.
  2. Cultural heritage professionals and stakeholders are equipped with the skills and tools to better preserve, manage and promote culture.
  3. The living conditions of the population are improved through the implementation of strategies for the development of the cultural and creative industries.
  4.  Traditions and cultural values ​​that promote the inclusion of women and young people and further the achievement of the MDGs are valued.

The programme was part of the national policy of modernising and decentralising development sectors that particularly promote local and marginalised populations, including women and youth. 

Main achievements included:

  • The benefits of cultural heritage in economic and social development were identified and integrated into national strategy and into municipal development plans in the southern oases region. Advocacy mechanisms for disseminating strategy and coordinating its implementation were developed. The cultural heritage inventory was upgraded and a management mechanism for Living Human Treasures developed.
  • To promote and strengthen the role of women in development, the programme supported the integration of gender into community development plans; the political representation of women in Guelmim; the training of 100 women in administrative and financial management; the production and sale of tents by women of the Saharawi people; and a socio-cultural study of the values ​​and traditions that influence the inclusion of women and enhance their role in achieving the MDGs in oasis provinces. Interventions had a visible and very positive impact, increasing women’s empowerment, mobility and participation in decision-making. Principles and guidelines of the programme were adopted by local authorities and beneficiary populations.
  • The skill level and capacity of cultural heritage professionals was enhanced, particularly in the management, conservation and promotion of cultural heritage. Training modules were developed and organized at national level and in four target areas.
  • Strategic plans for the development of the crafts, music, books and cultural tourism sectors were elaborated and implemented in the areas of intervention. Support was provided for the marketing of artisanal couscous and crafts (basketry and tents), training kits on new prototype production were supplied to cooperatives, and art workshops and cultural projects were undertaken.
  • The programme assisted in the disseminated of information on cultural heritage (including the creation of a new computerized documentation system, and a web portal and documentary on Morocco's cultural heritage). It established a visitor's center at the World Heritage Site of Volubilis and helped modernize, preserve and rehabilitate the Moulay El Bashir religious school to make it a cultural center for literacy and the reading of the Koran. It also conducted diagnostics and surveys on the current state of Morocco's cultural heritage.


Click for more detailed results from the Joint Programmes in Morocco (in French).



The Joint Programme in action


Programme Dates 28 Aug 2008 - 18 Aug 2012
Net funded amount $5,000,000
Participating UN agencies UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNIDO, UN Women
National partners Ministère de la Culture (MC) ; Ministère des Affaires Etrangères et de la Coopération (MAEC) ; Ministère du Tourisme et de l’Artisanat (MTA) ; Direction Générale des Collectivités Locales (DGCL) ; Agence pour la Promotion et le Développement Economique et Social des provinces du Sud du Royaume du Maroc ; Direction de l’Aménagement du Territoire du Ministère de l’Habitat, de l’Urbanisme et de la Politique de la Ville ; Universités (Pôle de Compétences Patrimoine Culturel); La Wilaya de Guelmim-Tata-Assa Zag ; La Commune d’Asrir ; La Commune de Foum el Hisn ; La Municipalité d’Akka à Tata ; La Commune d’Ifrane de l’Anti Atlas ; La commune d’Assa ; Direction régionale du Ministère de la Culture – Régions Guelmim Smara, Souss Massa Draa, l’Oriental, Taza Taounate El Houceima ; Direction régionale du Ministère du Tourisme - Région Guelmim Smara ; Direction régionale du Ministère de l’Artisanat - Région Guelmim Smara ; Délégation de l’Entraide National (Représentativité de Guelmim) ; Délégation du Ministère de l’Agriculture et de la pêche maritime - Région Guelmim Smara
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