In a statement dated 15 November, included below, Western Sahara liberation movement Polisario explains that once Western Sahara becomes a Member State of the United Nations, it will become a member to the Initiative. In the meantime, all necessary measures will be taken to approach the standard, the statement reads.
The EITI standard requires of its Member States that they disclose information along the extractive industry value chain, including on accorded contracts and licenses, and on how the revenue thereof makes its way through the government and is used to contribute to the country's economy.
While Morocco occupies three-quarters of Western Sahara, Polisario controls the eastern areas of the territory. Exploration of the mineral reserves of the area is ongoing. At the same time, Polisario has concluded oil contracts pertaining to oil blocks that are located in the parts of the territory that are at present under Morocco’s military occupation.
The EITI is open to countries with extractive industries. To date, 52 countries have obtained the status of EITI compliant, analogous to membership of the Initiative.
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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.