Green problems for French energy company Greensolver?
French energy firm Greensolver has agreed to cooperate on Morocco’s solar and wind projects. WSRW has asked them to clarify whether their work will be confined to Morocco proper, or will also cross the border into occupied Western Sahara.
End of February, French alternative energy development company Greensolver signed a partnership agreement with Finatech Group, a Moroccan energy company.
Morocco is in the process of ramping up its renewable energy industry by setting itself the target of generating 42% of its electricity needs from renewable energy sources by the year 2020.
According to media reports, Greensolver and Finatech Group are keen to help Morocco achieve this objective, by “providing investors, manufacturers and other corporations in an effort to help galvanize the development, construction and maintenance of a multitude of alternative energy operations within the country”.
But as Western Sahara Resource Watch documented in its report “Dirty Green March”, published in August last year, some of the solar and wind projects that the Moroccan government has lined up in order to become less dependent on expensive fuel imports, are in fact located in Western Sahara - not Morocco. Morocco invaded Western Sahara in 1975 and subsequently went on to occupy 80% of the territory. The United Nations consider Western Sahara to be the last colony of Africa.
WSRW expects Greensolver to come with a clear statement that clarifies the geographic span of their cooperation on Morocco’s energy plans.
The World Bank and several European investors - including the European Investment Bank, German banks and the European Commission - have indicated that they would not back up energy projects in Western Sahara.
The people of Western Sahara, the Saharawi people, have an internationally recognised right to self-determination which extends to the usage of their country’s resources. In 2002, a legal opinion commissioned by the UN Security Council stated that the Saharawi people’s wishes and interested are legal requirements that ought to be taken into account in relation to economic activities in their land. Morocco is in no position to speak on behalf of the Saharawi people it holds under the brutal yoke of its occupation, or on behalf of the Saharawis living in Algerian refugee camps as a consequence of Morocco’s invasion.
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.
It's not easy keeping up with all the different legal proceedings relating to Western Sahara. For the sake of clarity, here's an overview of the five different cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union.
Leading activists from Western Sahara are condemned to sentences ranging from 20 years to life imprisonment in connection to a mass protest in 2010 denouncing the Saharawi people’s social and economic marginalization in their occupied land; the Gdeim Izik protest camp.
At COP22, beware of what you read about Morocco’s renewable energy efforts. An increasing part of the projects take place in the occupied territory of Western Sahara and is used for mineral plunder, new WSRW report documents.