Sahara: International Symposium on the Devolution of Legislative Powers in Autonomous Regions

AtlasInfo

Morocco’s Permanent Mission to the UN in New York organized on Friday an international research seminar on the topic “Guaranteeing the success of regional autonomy experiences: the sharing of legislative powers”.

The seminar was attended by eminent experts, researchers and academicians from Switzerland, France, Spain, USA and Mauritius. It was attended by fifty diplomats, including several ambassadors in New York, senior UN officials and media accredited to the United Nations.

The meeting provided an opportunity to compare the autonomy initiative proposed by the Kingdom of Morocco for the Sahara region with other autonomy experiences in the world, particularly the decentralization of legislative powers in autonomous regions. International experts had the opportunity to share experiences from the Canary Islands, New Caledonia, Puerto Rico and Rodriguez Island.

Senior Adviser of “Geneva Center for Security Policy” Mr. Mark Finaud officiated. In his opening speech, he recalled the provisions of the Moroccan initiative for the autonomy of the Sahara region, “which has been described as serious and credible in more than ten resolutions of the UN Security Council, and has been recognized by a growing number of countries”.

He noted that the Moroccan initiative included several provisions guaranteeing the exercise of legislative power in the sub-Saharan region. In this context, he reviewed the guarantees established in Articles 5, 12, 19, 20, 22 and 24 and said, “Morocco’s proposal for the Sahara region is generous. Also, it will be open to negotiation and will be improved and supplemented”.

In his presentation, Dr. Joan-Joseph Valpe, Professor of Political Science at the University of Barcelona, ​​presented the development of the legislative system in the Canary Islands through major reforms since the granting of the Autonomy Act in 1982. Experienced by these islands in 1996 and 2018. He stressed that the legislative power of the region rests with the regional parliament, which exercises legislative function with full autonomy, without interference from the central government.

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Referring to the Moroccan autonomy initiative, he qualified Article 12 as “too open”, proposing to establish a list of areas of exclusive competence of both the central administration and the region. He also welcomed the guarantees offered in Article 19, particularly in terms of the active participation of local people and the adequate representation of women.

For his part, Dr Carine David, a law professor at the University of Antilles in France, compared New Caledonia’s legislative powers with those provided for in the Moroccan autonomy initiative. New Caledonia is an exercise of legislative power, which acts on the power given to the local legislature to pass laws.

Morocco proposes the initiative, noting that gender equality is respected in New Caledonia, saying that since the state has been stripped of the powers transferred to New Caledonia, it can no longer interfere in these matters. Please provide more details on the reference to “Appropriate Female Representation”.

For his part, University of Puerto Rico law professor Dr. Jorge Farinacci Bernos elaborated on the various aspects that characterize Puerto Rico’s relationship with the United States. things.

He undertook a comparative exercise between the constitutional status of Puerto Rico and the different states that make up the United States. Regarding the Moroccan autonomy initiative, he dwelt on articles 5, 6, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20 and 24, which, for him, constitute the most appropriate articles for the exercise of legislative power in the Sahara. region.

He highlighted the definition of “autonomous state of the territory” in Article 24 as “the foundation of the undertaking”. In the case of Puerto Rico, several structural limitations prevent the exercise of legislative powers, he noted, noting that the US Congress exercises the power to unilaterally modify its treaty with Puerto Rico or eliminate it altogether.

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Finally, Ms. Marie Valerie Upaiah, Head of the Department of Law at the University of Mauritius, presented one of the African examples of decentralization of legislative powers by highlighting the case of the Autonomous Region of Rodrigues Island, which gained autonomy. Mauritius in 2002.

In this context, he explained, the Autonomy Act allows Rodriguez Island to set up its own system of governance. Along with the three branches of government in Mauritius, Rodrigues Island has set up its own institutions to manage and regulate its administration, including a regional legislature with legislative powers, commissions to manage the administration and courts that are part of the judiciary, she said.

At the same time, he underlined that “Moroccan Autonomy Initiative is an appropriate solution for the Sahara region” because “it brings various benefits to Morocco and the components of the Sahara region”.

He concluded that autonomy would give the sub-Saharan region more powers and capabilities to conduct its own internal affairs, as it would include, among others, legislative, executive and judicial powers, which are the three basic powers required for good governance and administration. condition.

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