Navigating the Future: Morocco's Role in Shaping Middle-Income Countries' Path Towards Sustainable Development

12 avril 2024


On 5-6 February 2024, Rabat, the capital of the Kingdom of Morocco, served as the host for the High-Level Ministerial Conference on Middle-Income Countries (MICs). This event was the result of a strategic partnership among the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates of the Kingdom of Morocco, the UNDP Country Office in Morocco, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. Titled “Solutions to Address Development Challenges of Middle-Income Countries in a Changing World,” the conference aimed to catalyze a global dialogue on pressing issues facing MICs in today’s complex economic and environmental landscape. As leaders and experts convened to explore innovative strategies for sustainable development, the conference underscored the critical role of international cooperation and policy innovation in advancing the agenda for a more equitable and resilient future.

MICs occupy a critical juncture in the global economic and environmental paradigm, contributing one-third to global GDP and encompassing 75% of the world’s population. These nations are instrumental in driving global growth, yet they face a confluence of challenges that threaten their sustainable development trajectory. Foremost among these is their significant role as major CO2 emitters, placing MICs at the heart of the climate change crisis and at the forefront of the urgent need for a green transition. The environmental challenges faced by MICs are compounded by economic pressures, including the quest for sustainable growth amidst global financial uncertainties. This context highlights the imperative for innovative development models that prioritize sustainability and climate resilience. Such models must address the dual need for economic advancement and environmental stewardship, ensuring that MICs can contribute to a more sustainable and equitable global future. The stakes are high, as the path chosen by MICs will have profound implications for the achievement of global sustainable development goals, requiring a reimagined approach to development that is inclusive, resilient, and sustainable.

Morocco's pivotal role in the High-Level Ministerial Conference on MICs showcased its leadership and forward-thinking vision in addressing the multifaceted challenges of sustainable development. The Kingdom's leadership, alongside the active participation of esteemed representatives from the Likeminded group and beyond, the United Nations System, international and regional financial institutions, and other development partners, emphasized its commitment to fostering a global dialogue on development that goes beyond traditional metrics. With a keen focus on inclusivity and sustainability, Morocco has championed the need to look beyond GDP as the sole measure of progress, advocating for development metrics that encompass environmental sustainability, social inclusion, and economic resilience. This leadership stance was evident in the conference's discussions, where Morocco's efforts to implement a more holistic and sustainable development model were highlighted. Morocco's advocacy for a reimagined development paradigm resonates with a growing global consensus on the importance of adopting broader, more comprehensive indicators of well-being and progress, positioning the Kingdom as a key player in shaping the future of sustainable development on the global stage.

Following the interactive dialogue with ministers during the High-Level Conference on MICs, the Rabat Declaration  was adopted—a visionary outcome document that articulates a set of action-oriented and innovative solutions to the pressing development challenges facing MICs. This declaration consolidates the position of the Like-Minded Group for MICs in anticipation of the 2024 Summit of the Future and sets the stage for the 4th International Conference on Financing for Development in 2025. This strategic document underscores Morocco's leadership in steering the discourse towards addressing the unique challenges and seizing the opportunities that lie within MICs through enhanced international development cooperation. 

Morocco's commitment to this paradigm shift is evident in its strategic partnerships and initiatives that aim to bolster regional integration and sustainable development. Notable projects, such as the ambitious Nigeria-Morocco African-Atlantic Gas Pipeline project and renewable energy initiatives, demonstrate the Kingdom's proactive approach to co-development and solidarity. These efforts are instrumental in creating a conducive environment for investment and trade, extending beyond Africa to encompass the global South. The outcomes of the conference, particularly the emphasis on the need for a cooperative and inclusive approach to global economic policy, mirror a collective aspiration for a future where MICs are recognized as key drivers of a sustainable and equitable global economy. 

It's in the middle-income countries that we see some of the finest economic and social success stories, and some of the most inspiring experiments in progress and reform, achieved in the face of adversity,” Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita stated.

Reflecting on these discussions, UNDP's role moving forward is clear: to continue advocating for and implementing policies, programmes and initiatives that respond to the specific needs of MICs, fostering an environment where sustainable and inclusive growth is not just an aspiration but a reality. UNDP’s ongoing support for MICs will be critical in navigating the complex landscape of global development, ensuring that the ambitious visions outlined during the conference translate into tangible outcomes for the communities they aim to serve. UNDP will also accompany the efforts of the Philippines as they host the next MIC Conference as incoming Chair of the Likeminded Group. 

The 2030 Agenda recognizes that the SDGs will not be achieved without a revitalized and enhanced Global Partnership. It acknowledges the specific challenges of MICs to achieve sustainable development and calls for better and focused support from the United Nations Development System and the international financial institutions, among others. UNDP indeed stands ready to support.” Declared Dr. Edward A. Christow, UNDP Resident Representative in Morocco, on the sidelines of the High-Level Ministerial Conference.

Looking ahead, it is imperative that the spirit of collaboration, innovation, and solidarity witnessed during the conference continues to flourish among MICs and their international partners. The path towards sustainable development is fraught with challenges, yet the collective commitment and shared vision emerging from this conference provide a beacon of hope. The journey ahead calls for sustained effort, unwavering commitment, and an inclusive approach that transcends borders.