As the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, pointed out, the Atlantic area is of vital importance for the North African country, the Sahel and the world in general

“The Atlantic Dialogues” in Marrakech address the growing global importance of the Atlantic area

PHOTO/AFP/MANUEL COHEN - Vista del Atlántico desde Marruecos
PHOTO/AFP/MANUEL COHEN - View of the Atlantic from Morocco

Marrakech was the chosen venue for the 12th edition of the annual international conference "The Atlantic Dialogues", under the patronage of King Mohammed VI and organised by the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS).

More than 400 guests of 80 different nationalities from all over the Atlantic basin have been recruited for this event, which lasts until 16 December, on the theme "A more assertive Atlantic: its meaning for the world". A conference, based on the guidelines given by the monarch Mohammed VI on Atlantic Africa in his speech on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the Green March, which brings together the 23 African states of the Atlantic with the challenge of reinforcing security, stability, prosperity and regional development. 

The aim is to find a more integrated and, above all, more balanced Atlantic area. Eminent personalities discussed the growing importance of the Atlantic area in the current global context. In a constantly changing world, the promotion of cooperation in the Atlantic basin is now an absolute priority.

Los Diálogos Atlánticos
The Atlantic Dialogues

King Mohammed VI, on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the Green March, stressed the great importance of the Atlantic area in the current global context. The Alawite monarch urged the strengthening of Morocco's Atlantic facade, starting with Western Sahara, a disputed territory for which the North African country proposes a formula of broad autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, in line with UN resolutions, which seeks to develop the area in all aspects. This initiative has been considered by many important countries as the most serious, credible and realistic formula for settling the Saharawi dispute. 

Mohammed VI presented a major Atlantic initiative with an African outlook that aims to turn this continental maritime space into an area of peace, stability and development, and also to rehabilitate its infrastructures to facilitate access to the Atlantic Ocean for the Sahel states.

In the opening session of the conference, the former diplomat and current Senior Fellow of the PCNS, Mohammed Loulichki, opened the debates by reflecting on the means to guarantee a balance between the Atlantic countries and also to allow convergence between the different emerging initiatives in favour of this region. Following the approach, the Vice-President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States, Ian Lesser, assured that work is underway to return to a greater balance in the Atlantic. "We cannot talk about the Atlantic today without mentioning North-South relations," he said, defining several axes of these relations. These key points include security issues, digital connectivity and renewable energy.

PHOTO/MAP - Mohamed VI
PHOTO/MAP - Mohammed VI

These relations are not just about states, said the director of the Institute, which aims to promote transatlantic relations. In fact, several other actors come into play, citing cities, regions, the private sector and civil society, as reported by Le Matin. 

The Policy Center for the New South, as organiser of the event, has sought to reflect the growing importance of the Atlantic space in the current global context. In this sense, the conference sought to deepen the understanding of the implications of the new perception of this space.

In this scenario, Jessica De Alba-Ulloa, professor at the Autonomous University of Nuevo León in Mexico, said that there is still much to be done to improve relations between the Atlantic countries. "We must look more towards Africa, which is growing with a young population and important assets such as arable land," said the academic representative, who proposed seeking free trade agreements between the countries of the Atlantic basin.

For his part, the Portuguese expert, Nuno António de Noronha Bragança, stressed the importance of collaboration in the area of security in its global dimension, taking into account various aspects such as the security of people, health and food. "We have highlighted the importance of the Atlantic and we know very well that in this dynamic and complex space we have security challenges and threats that are not isolated," he said, calling for cooperation between all Atlantic actors.