The opinion below was published in Swedish daily newspaper Göteborgs-Posten on 11 August 2012.
Unofficial translation to English by Western Sahara Resource Watch.
The king of Morocco attempts parasite on UN climate resources
Moroccan king Mohammed VI has issued a false host country certificate in an application for UN resources to implement, on occupied territory in Western Sahara, a large wind power together with Siemens, write Bodil Ceballos, Green Party MP, Jens Holm, Left Party MP and Sören Lindh, Swedish Western Sahara Action.
Robin Hood’s motto was ”to take from the rich and give to the poor”. Now king Mohammed VI of Morocco turns it around. He wants to take from the poor and give to the rich. One of the king’s companies has tried to parasite on resources from a UN mechanism under the Kyoto Protocol, called the Clean Development Mechanism, CDM.
In occupied Western Sahara, the Moroccan monarch presented an application, together with Siemens, for a large wind power project to the UN. The wind power park is to be situated outside the main city of Western Sahara, El Aaiún. The application to CDM does not mention the fact that the site is on occupied territory. Nevertheless, Morocco has issued a ”host country certificate” for the project. But no state, nor the UN, recognizes the Moroccan claims to Western Sahara, something King Mohammed is well aware of. Thus, the certificate is deliberately deceptive, in order to get a share of the UN support.
Certifier reacted But the CDM has a strict screening process. Every project is allotted to an independent examiner, in this case the Norwegian certifying company Det Norske Veritas. Last year Veritas observed that the project site was on occupied territory. This led to the termination of the screening, and in April 2012 the project application was discreetly withdrawn.
So far, all seems to be unproblematic. But still remaining is the shame on the Moroccan state and its royal regime for having intentionally tried to parasite on resources set aside by UN for urgently needed clean energy investments in development countries. Apart from the Siemens project, Morocco is also considering other energy production projects in occupied Western Sahara. They include supplying energy to a dozen fishmeal factories and to a cement factory. All on occupied territory and with royal co-financing. These investments lack the approval of the Saharawi people, which according to UN is considered as the owner of the natural resources of the Western Sahara. So, also these projects are in breech of international law and UN principles in the Western Sahara issue.
How about Siemens’s ethics? The question remains also as to how Siemens can view a wind power project on occupied land to be in line with their own ethical guidelines, where one can read that “Siemens is committed to embracing, supporting and enacting, within its further sphere of influence, the set of core values in the areas of human rights…”
The Moroccan strategy seems to seek the blessing of UN and other international bodies for its continued pillage of Western Sahara natural resources, and to uphold the illegal occupation. It is important that the Siemens wind power project was stopped in the screening process. But it is worrying that Morocco counts on international backing for its strategy. More applications for illegal projects can be expected. So it is wise to work to prevent these crimes.
Environment minister should comment on the royal swindle Sweden has actively contributed in making the EU show better respect for international law in the question of fisheries in Western Saharan waters. Now, we urge the Swedish Minister for Environment, Lena Ek, to assure that the UN and the CDM are aware of Morocco’s attempts to parasite on the UN climate resources, and that they state clearly that all similar pending and future illegal projects will be dismissed.
The world needs more clean energy, but produced with respect for international law and of the UN’s principles.
Bodil Ceballos, Green Party MP, spokesperson foreign policy, Jens Holm, Left Party MP, spokesperson environment, Sören Lindh, coordinator, Swedish Western Sahara Action
Morocco occupies the major part of its neighbouring country, Western Sahara. Entering into business deals with Moroccan companies or authorities in the occupied territories gives an impression of political legitimacy to the occupation. It also gives job opportunities to Moroccan settlers and income to the Moroccan government. Western Sahara Resource Watch demands foreign companies leave Western Sahara until a solution to the conflict is found.
The military court in Rabat has convicted 25 Saharawi activists to shockingly tough sentences. All were arrested in relation to the Gdeim Izik protest camp; a peaceful manifestation disputing the Saharawi people’s continual marginalisation in their occupied country.
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