Administrator Achim Steiner Strengthens UNDP-Morocco Partnership: A Vision for Sustainable Recovery and Development

18 octobre 2023


RABAT, October 18, 2023 - From October 11 to 13, the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Achim Steiner, undertook an official mission to Morocco to participate in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - World Bank Annual Meetings taking place in Marrakech. During his visit, he engaged in a series of high-level meetings with the Moroccan government, focusing notably on supporting the country’s recovery efforts following last month’s devastating earthquake.

Marking the first on African soil in 50 years, UNDP Administrator commended the Kingdom of Morocco for successfully hosting the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Marrakech. The event occurred at critical juncture when multilateral solutions are needed more than ever to address the combined challenges of debt, inflation, climate crisis and surge in conflicts, posing increasingly significant risks to developing countries.

UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, and UNDP Resident Representative in Morocco, Edward Christow, meet in Marrakech with H.E. Mr. Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco.

In a bilateral meeting with H.E Mr. Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, UNDP Administrator also praised Morocco’s swift response to the 8th September earthquake, which tragically claimed nearly 3,000 lives and affected 2,8 million individuals. Together, they discussed strategic priorities, focusing particularly on sustainable reconstruction, social cohesion and economic recovery, as outlined in the recovery plan presented by HM King Mohammed VI. 

Recalling UNDP’s many decades of presence in the Kingdom of Morocco as a development partner and a resource for the Government and the people of Morocco, Achim Steiner reiterated UNDP’s readiness to support medium to long-term recovery and development efforts. He emphasized UNDP’s commitment to working with the Kingdom of Morocco not only to build back better from the earthquake but also to accompany the bold vision of a more inclusive, green and resilient future of development in the country. 

UNDP Administrator’s interview on Hespress

In his meeting with H.E Younes Sekkouri, Morocco’s Minister of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills, Achim Steiner praised the robust partnership between UNDP and Morocco, in other central government programmes. He specifically acknowledged the impactful role of the government-led Awrach programme, a major initiative driving the implementation of the Moroccan New Model of Development. In 2022, Awrach contributed significantly by generating 100,000 jobs and collaborating with 5,500 Small and Medium enterprises. 

The UNDP Administrator and Minister Sekourri also explored avenues to further enhance sustainable job creation and economic inclusion in the post-earthquake context. Their conversation revolved around identifying strategic opportunities to enhance the livelihoods of the affected population, emphasizing a commitment to fostering lasting economic growth and prosperity in Morocco.

UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner, exchanges with H.E Younes Sekkouri, Morocco’s Minister of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills, in the margins of the IMF-World Bank meetings in Marrakech, 12 October 2023


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In addition to engaging with Moroccan government officials, the UNDP Administrator represented the UN Secretary-General at the Joint Ministerial Committee of the IMF-World Bank Board of Governors and actively contributed to various high-level policy dialogues during the Annual Meetings, calling for urgent actions to avoid long-lasting development reversals.

With the ongoing cascading crises, the SDG financing gap has indeed become a chasm, estimated between $3-4.3 trillion annually. Furthermore, in 52 developing economies grappling with severe debt crises, a staggering 40 percent of the population is enduring extreme poverty.

Achim Steiner not only expressed support to the reform of multilateral development bank, he also advocated for measures to allow the UN Secretary-General's $500 billion SDG Stimulus Plan to start flowing before the end of 2024, mainly through three thematic priorities:

  • Re-channeling an additional $100 billion in unused IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs);

  • Addressing debt overhang and debt restructuring in developing economies;

  • Mainstreaming state-contingent debt clauses in all official lending. This would make climate-resilient future borrowing fairer and more predictable. UNDP estimates that if state-contingent debt clauses had been available to the Kingdom of Morocco during the recent earthquake crisis, a two-year moratorium could have freed up to $ 9.9 billion in debt service payments for 2024-2025, possibly channeled towards vital reconstruction efforts.

For detailed insights, please refer to the official statement issued by UNDP:

Achim Steiner also represented the UN at the G20 Finance Ministers meeting, focusing on strengthening multilateral development banks (MDB). In 2023, UNDP collaborated closely with the G20 presidency (India) to prioritize sustainable finance as a key component of the G20’s agenda. This momentum will continue into 2024 under the stewardship of the next presidency (Brazil). The emphasis will revolve around pivotal themes such as addressing inequality and hunger, and accelerating climate action and energy transition.

In In the margins of his official mission, the Administrator visited the UNDP country office in Morocco and engaged in substantive discussions with the team, delving into the results, impacts and key prioritiesThe discussions focused on supporting sustainable economic transformation, inclusion and social protection, and governance, resilience and local development, with the aim to accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in close collaboration with the Government, civil society and the private sector in Morocco.

For detailed information, please see UNDP Morocco Country Programme Document 2023-2027