As part of the celebration of UN World Habitat Day, a high-level conference under the theme “Housing For All: A better Urban Future” was held online on 5 October 2020, at the initiative of the Ministry of National Territory Development, Urban Planning, Habitat and Urban Policy of Morocco. The event brought together several ministers and senior officials in charge of Housing, as well as representatives from international organisations and civil society.
It offered an opportunity for a constructive exchange of views to explore new ways to rethink tomorrow's society by using housing as a real catalyst for progress towards access to more fundamental rights and populations’ well-being.
The Deputy Director of the World Heritage Centre participated in this event and welcomed Morocco’s efforts to promote decent housing for all and stressed the integration of cultural heritage conservation and climate change policies into urban planning in line with the 2011 UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL Recommendation). The event highlighted how Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the global housing crisis. Several speakers stressed the need to address this issue by adopting a sustainable urban development approach. More systematic efforts are necessary for protecting heritage values in the regeneration of housing in historic quarters and safeguarding traditional habitat, a requirement for the improvement of living conditions in cities and historic centers.
On 12 October 2020, the Deputy-Director took part in a follow-up meeting organised by the same ministry on the theme "How the valorization of the traditional habitat can contribute to a sustainable territorial development: The case of the ksour and kasbah [original title: «Comment la valorisation de l’habitat traditionnel peut-elle contribuer au développement territorial durable?: Cas des ksour et kasbah »]. National and international actors engaged in discussions in order to identify financial, fiscal, technical, legal, governance and advocacy actions to revitalize the ksour, kasbah and the oasis zone in general; a zone considered fragile and weakened by the combined effect of several economic, cultural, social and environmental factors including climate change.
UNESCO mentioned that the existence of densely populated kasbah and almost uninhabited ksour requires specific approaches for their conservation and management. She pointed out that the revitalization and conservation of the uninhabited ksour could provide an opportunity to offer local communities new opportunities for social and economic development while recovering an important traditional heritage. It was concluded that a multidisciplinary approach that addresses economic, social, cultural and technical challenges was needed to safeguard the traditional habitat in line with the HUL Recommendation (2011).