No UNDP projects in Western Sahara

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) announces that all its programmes in Morocco “are limited to the internationally recognised borders of Morocco”. UNDP rejects an erroneous media report claiming that a UNDP official praised the development in  “Morocco’s Southern Provinces”.
Published: 10.11 - 2010 23:04Printer version    
On 10 September 2010, the Moroccan magazine Maroc Hebdo referred to a statement supposedly given by the Officer-in-Charge of the UNDP Drylands Development Centre.

The UNDP officer was quoted as praising Morocco’s efforts in developing its “Southern Provinces”, which is the term Morocco uses for the territory of Western Sahara. However, the news was incorrect.

In a letter to Western Sahara Resource Watch, dated 9 November 2010, UNDP states that it does not undertake projects in Western Sahara, and that all agreements they have with the Moroccan government “explicitly state that the projects’ activities are restricted to particular localities north of the UN line”. The UNDP has no mandate to carry out projects in Western Sahara, UNDP explains. The letter also explains that the statements quoted in Maroc Hebdo were misrepresentations. See the letter from UNDP to WSRW below.

The UNDP thus clearly respects the conclusions of the UN Legal Opinion from 2002, stating that no natural resource activity can take place in Western Sahara unless it is after a consent from the Saharawi people.

Western Sahara is treated by a so-called Non-Self Governing Territory, and the Moroccan claims to the territory have been rejected by the International Court of Justice.

Also the EFTA states, and the US government, clearly underline that their cooperation with Morocco only covers Morocco as it is internationally recognised, and not the territory of Western Sahara.


United Nations Development Programme
Regional Bureau for Arab States

9 November 2010

Dear Ms. Eyckmans,

Thank you for your e-mail message to Ms. Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, dated 14 October. Ms. Clark has forwarded your message and requested me to respond on her behalf.

Indeed, UNDP Headquarters followed up with our Country Office in Rabat on the same article. The Country Office and Mr. Kodsi confirm that this was a misrepresentation of what was said. The author also misrepresented Mr. Kodsi’s title and role. Mr. Kodsi’s programme, as well as all other UNDP Morocco programmes are limited to the internationally recognised borders of Morocco.

UNDP Morocco has no mandate for activities in Western Sahara, as it is a disputed territory with the Security Council currently seized of the dispute. UNDP-Morocco understands the region of Western Sahara, as the UN defines it. The UNDP does work together with the national counterpart Agence pour le développement des provinces du Sud, which operates in territory both within Morocco proper and in Western Sahara. However, UNDP projects with Agence du Sud explicitly state that the projects’ activities are restricted to particular localities north of the UN line.

The UN Mission MINURSO, has the mandate over the territory of Western Sahara. The Mission has a very restricted mandate which does not expand to development activities.

I hope this clarifies UNDP’s position.

Best regards.
Yours sincerely,
Amat Al Alim Alsoswa
Assistant Administrator and Regional Director for Arab States

cc: Ms. Helen Clar, Administrator, UNDP, New York.


Elie Kodsi salue le niveau de développement des provinces du Sud

Maroc Hebdo
10 Sept 2010

Elie Kodsi (patron du Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement-PNUD) salue le niveau de développement des provinces du Sud.

Le patron du Programme des Nations Unies pour le développement (PNUD) pour la région Moyen Orient et Afrique du Nord, Elie Kodsi (photo), de nationalité libanaise, est actuellement en visite de travail au Maroc.

Objectif : lancer le plus grand programme de développement économique consacré aux provinces du sud. Le PNUD compte en effet y réaliser de nombreux projets d’infrastructures en partenariat avec l’agence du sud.

Elie Kodsi, lors de sa tournée dans ces provinces, a exprimé son émerveillement quant au niveau de développement urbain et humain dans lequel se trouvent aujourd’hui plusieurs villes de la région du Sud. Et ce, grâce à l’effort de l’Etat marocain et en particulier l’agence
du sud, dirigée par Ahmed Hajji, qui a fourni un effort considérable durant ces dernières années.




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