Natural resources

Conclusions of the workshop on natural resources

EUCOCO – 10/11 December 2021 – Las Palmas de Gran Canaria

Context:

The ruling issued by the European Court of Justice on 29 September is a clear victory for the Polisar Front and the Saharawi society it represents. It renders the fishing and agricultural trade agreements between the European Union and Morocco that illicitly cover the Western Sahara territory null and void. The European judge was clear on various aspects. The Polisar Front was acknowledged as admissible before the courts as the sole representative of the society and all aspects of the right of self-determination. It is solely its authorisation that should be obtained in order to implement any agreement covering any natural resources. All of Europe must be familiar by now with this victory; cities, companies, unions, jurists, but also those who take political decisions. The current context is unique: the Western Sahara territory is at war and the plundering of its natural and mineral resources only makes the situation worse, moving it even further away from the perspective of the peace that the Saharawi have been waiting for too long.

Aspects debated:

The natural resources that have been plundered in the Western Sahara include, in particular, agriculture, and fishing products that have been appealed before the European Judge, but also phosphate and, in particular, sand. This exploitation has also satisfied the economic interests of the occupying power in terms of tourism, hence hiding from European citizens the violations of the rights of their own institutions.

The ecological and environmental impact of such plundering is also considerable. When the Kingdom of Morocco, under the pretext of fomenting an ecological policy with regard to renewable energies and worried about the environment, embarked on a quest to find collaboration in this field, it totally ignored the law in this regard.

It is important for the different organisations based in Europe to mobilise themselves together. For this purpose, they must take into account and support the work of sensitisation that the Saharawi civil society carries out. The campaign “Western Sahara is not for sale” must be must to all and a representative will be invited to participate in the group’s work meetings created at this workshop. Likewise, the experience is coordination work was highlighted that EUCOCO allows must promote a similar coordination in South America and the Caribbean.

To this extent, it will also be important to bring the decisions that are taken to life, and any organisation or person who provides their contact information must be totally committed with the follow-up until the next EUCOCO.

Recommendations:

For the Polisar Front:

  • Increase the number of companies interested in participation in a responsible manner in the future development of the Sahara, by creating a company fund committed to this objective by means of a declaration of intentions.
  • Find information on the possibility of a resource to enforce the heritage responsibility of the EU and repair the damage caused to the Saharawi society.
  • Strengthen the participation of the Polisar Front at international conferences on climate, as well as of other entities that regulate the natural resources (ICAT) to enforce the social responsibility of companies, in particular, in terms of the plundering of natural resources.
  • Propose the creation of a solidarity day with the Saharawi society during which the solidarity movements may carry out activities and sensitisation before European citizens on the matter of the natural resources and many others, such as the destiny of Sultana Khaya.

To the European solidarity movements:

  • Prepare the judicial labour on a national level with the aim of confirming in last instance by the EU Court of Justice of the voidness of the contested agreements. It is worth highlighting that any initiative of judicial appeal must receive the approval of the Polisar Front.
  • Investigate the research work carried out by the WSRW and send that information to all members when it is not known to everyone. The branches of WSRW France and WSRW Germany could receive information directly compiled by entities based in these two countries. This, with the purpose of having an information platform as complete as possible.
  • Promote the coordination of sensitisation actions and complaint on the initiative Western Sahara Is Not For Sale, that represents the Saharawi civil society; and share contact information with this group to become part of the dissemination list.
  • Help to detect companies that are willing to become part of the fund of committed companies.
  • Focus the sensitisation and information campaigns on the importance of a responsible, ethical, and conscious consumption of the environment and ecologic impact. 

To the natural resources monitorisation group:

  • Meet up regularly, every 3 months, to create awareness in other members of the actions carried out nationally, as well as possible new risks to come.
  • Name a coordinator who will oversee the maintenance of a formal bond with the sub-task force of the EUCOCO in charge of the matter of natural resources.
  • Coordinate touchdown with the consumption associations from all over Europe to transmit to European citizens the importance of the illicitness of the trade of products that come from Western Sahara.
  • Write a report on the actions carried out throughout the coming year to prepare the workshop on natural resources during the next edition of EUCOCO.

 

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