Sustainable coastal development: The ESEC calls for a controlled urbanization dynamic

What urban dynamics for sustainable development of the coast? This is the question to which the Economic, Social and Environmental Council (CESE) set out to answer through a self-referral, the result of which was presented last Thursday in Tangier. The result of a participatory approach, the perspective provided by the Council first attempted to diagnose the problems from which this ecosystem, which is as precious as it is vulnerable, suffers. “The coast is increasingly subject to several pressures due, in particular, to uncontrolled urbanization threatening its ecological balance, and compromising its contribution to sustainable and resilient development”, underlines the ESEC.

The establishment of a legal and institutional framework in line with the Kingdom’s international commitments, “has not had, to date, any significant impact on the planning and sustainable development of the coast, in particular due to the plethoric nature of the legislative and regulatory arsenal and an insufficient level of coherence between the texts relating to the coast and the instruments and documents of town planning”, considers the Council.

Weak governance

Welcoming more than half of the population and representing an important pole of attraction for various infrastructures and economic activities, the Moroccan coast is also subject to “complex and inefficient” governance due to the multiplicity of stakeholders involved. . This situation is illustrated by the “major” problem of the mobilization of coastal land which hinders the process of urban planning.

“Indeed, the land, particularly fragmented in this space, does not lend itself to integrated and yet rewarding operations for the investments made”, underlines the same source. “The result is a coastline that is characterized by abusive occupation of some of its parts, poorly controlled urban sprawl, especially on the shores, as well as the acceleration of many phenomena: pollution, coastal erosion, overexploitation and illicit exploitation of resources (looting of sand), alteration of landscapes, etc. “, warns the ESEC.

Possible solutions

To correct this situation, the Council “calls for sustainable development of the coast in the sense of controlled urbanization ensuring a balance between the development, preservation and enhancement of this ecosystem”. To achieve these objectives, the ESEC has issued several recommendations which should be implemented within the framework of “a global and concerted vision, the basis of innovative and appropriate urban planning for the territory”.

Thus, the Council considers it necessary to ensure the proper application of the provisions of Law 81.12 relating to the coast, and to ensure its effectiveness, in particular by implementing the planning instruments specific to the coast in force (PNL) and the preparation those not yet drawn up to date (regional coastal plans). In the same vein, the stakeholders should “ensure an optimal articulation between the urban planning documents (SNAT, SRAT, SDAU, PA), the territorial programs (PDR, PAC, etc.) and the sectoral policies, on the one hand , and the law on the littoral, on the other hand”.

Integrated Coastal Management

The ESEC also recommends granting municipalities more decision-making prerogatives in terms of development of their territory, urban planning and the preparation of urban planning documents. The Council also calls for a rethinking of the governance and management of coastal areas (with a view to strengthening inter-institutional coordination) and the introduction of a new generation of town planning documents, designed on the basis of an approach based on a scientific approach to integrated coastal management, concerned with involving civil society and the population in all stages of the process.

Similarly, among the priorities listed by the Council: “cleaning up the situation of buildings located in the public maritime domain or in the 100 m strip prohibited from construction” as well as “the establishment of innovative financing mechanisms and sustainable to facilitate the implementation of town planning and land use planning documents”.

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Sustainable coastal development: The ESEC calls for a controlled urbanization dynamic

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