Introductory note

International Forum: “Tri-continental Atlantic Initiative” Rabat, May 29 and 30, 2009

1. Deterioration of world governance and the need for new initiatives

Introductory note
As the world was looking for durable responses to demographic, environmental and security challenges, global crises followed each other for over a year. The first symptom was the increase in the prices of staple commodities and other raw materials, especially oil. During the summer of 2008, the real estate bubble exploded and the international financial system stalled, causing a sudden contraction of economic activity in most countries. This provoked a downturn in raw material prices and a collapse in stock exchanges. Share prices at year end recorded declines unprecedented since the Great Depression. Meanwhile, the volatility of raw materials prices has never been so marked. National and international governance institutions did not anticipate any of these crises and did not cope efficiently with them. This is due to the inability to regulate the magnitude and complexity of financial flows on the one hand and the growing gap that has opened between the financial sphere and other economic activities, on the other.

The widespread economic recession, whose amplitude and sectoral implications remain largely unknown, exacerbates an already dysfunctional global governance, especially as the the country that is the engine of the global economy, the traditional guarantor of security and international order is at the origin of the financial crisis.

Attempts to reform global governance initiated since the fall of the Berlin Wall were unsuccessful. Some saw in globalization the cause of deterioration of international governance. Protectionist agendas, exacerbated nationalism and the very willingness to challenge the pillars of market economy are indicative of the gravity of the situation. It reflects the powerlessness of leaders to identify credible policies at regional and world levels let alone in their own countries and even more for action at scales.

The systemic nature of the rupture that the world is experiencing requires mutual accountability; it calls for concerted solutions among the system's main actors, from which a renewed collective governance should emerge.

Transparency, accountability and a new market regulation are essential prerequisites to restore confidence and therefore ignite recovery. Measures conceived in the sole framework of the intergovernmental dialog are irrelevant; solutions require the involvement of non-governmental actors in decision-making at national, regional and international levels. The methodological framework of the new dialog and the rules of the new regulation remain to be invented. It goes without saying certain that they will depend on the specific circumstances of each actor. Nevertheless heading towards best practices is the only way to achieve global governance.

Rules and disciplines designed in a renovated multilateral framework do not prevent the continental spaces from expressing their potential of convergence and solidarity and take into account their specificities. On the contrary, mastered global governance would benefit more from the input of diverse regional experiences.

2. Atlantic opening: potential concrete cross-solidarities

Morocco’s High Commission for Planning has undertaken, over the last four years, under institutional and intellectual autonomy forward looking exercises under the title: “Morocco 2030”. In this connection, thematic forums were organized with the participation of international and national experts and representatives from academic, economic and political spheres as well as actors in civil society. These forums were backed by sectoral or thematic studies and field surveys and have led to exploring alternative scenarios. They also resulted in several publications which are easy to consult, at These scenarios helped the identification of the challenges that Morocco will face and have shown the limits of strictly national exercises. Many strategic variables affecting the full achievement of the objectives of sustainable human development depend on the effectiveness of regional and global governance.

The High Commission for Planning has been led to broaden the scope of the "Morocco 2030" project and to involve regional and international actors in the various forums.

Indeed, after having studied the Maghreb and Mediterranean dimensions of the regional governance, it has become necessary to extend the analytical effort towards the community of destiny and interests that the Atlantic space represents. Opening to the Atlantic constitutes the strategic multidimensional personality of Morocco together with its Mediterranean allegiance and African identity. The Atlantic perspective is therefore the natural framework for broader forward looking scenarios not only for Morocco but also for other waterfront countries: there is no discontinuity between the strategic north and south Atlantic.

The African, European and American Atlantic shores are linked by close historical and ancient cultural ties. Connections forged over the centuries have resulted in many human exchanges and dense relations between institutions, large urban centers and personalities from the political, economic and cultural world, fuelled by a relatively homogeneous cultural and linguistic diversity. This set of positive factors should now be mobilized to generate a new cross-fertilization. It is the deep legitimacy of the Atlantic perspective. It is from this reality that we must take advantage at a time of crisis in global governance.

This cross-Atlantic perspective has indeed unsuspected synergies and encompasses opportunities for shared development particularly suited to the current conjuncture and global issues such as social cohesion, sustainable development, climate change and biodiversity, maritime security, migration, terrorism and trafficking of all kinds.

The Atlantic framework does not exclude the Mediterranean dimension and the integration of the various continents, Africa, North and South America and Europe. On the contrary, as the examples of Morocco, Portugal and Spain reveal, geographical location at the crossroads of two continents, with two coastlines opened a commercial and cultural interaction that accompanied the first wave of globalization in the XV century.

The fact that Morocco has concluded a free trade agreement with the United States and entered the advanced status with the European Union confirms the fertility of these multiple allegiances to manage the crisis of the third wave of globalization. Other experiments can be mentioned: in West Africa, Cape Verde, Ghana, Liberia, Senegal ... The case of Brazil and Mexico are other success stories in the Western Hemisphere.

Building a coalition of like-minded institutions that share a common vision of this Atlantic framework is the first step towards regulation of large continental spaces allowing for better global governance and globalization at the service of mankind.

The achievement of this project goes through several steps and requires an operational partnership of the highest level.

3. Methodological note on the Tri-continental Atlantic initiative forum

As outlined in this introductory note, the opening of the Atlantic space has the potential to renew global governance through an original regional approach. To realize this potential, the organization of a Tri-continental Atlantic forum does not suffice. It is also necessary to sustain its operation. Three steps are envisaged:

3.1. Meeting of a science committee: a dozen participants in charge of managing the entire process: elaborating the forum’s program for May 29/30, collecting the contributions of participants, formatting the publication of the meeting proceedings. Selected Institutions from the Atlantic area will be the core of this committee.

3.2. Venue of the Forum under the theme: "A Tri-continental Atlantic Initiative” in May 2009.

3.3. Institutionalization of this initiative around a common project for the Atlantic, capable of feeding -state and non-state decision makers with scenarios, policy projects and measures to achieve a collective implementation.