From: Saharawi Civil Society
Occupied Western Sahara
Date: Nov 5th, 2016
Dear COP22 Participants,
Abuses against the biodiversity in the occupied Western Sahara, namely in El-Aaiun region and in Dakhla area have been caused by the huge damage resulting from the concentration of the economic activities in the Saharawi disputed territory. This immensely impacted the environment and left its negative fingerprints on its biodiversity and geological map in the occupied part of the territory of Western Sahara.
The destruction of the natural resources also led to an imbalance in the environment and the climate, including the underground water. The waste water and the sewage in the area are built in an irrational way making it harmful to the sea and the underground deep water reservoirs.
The peninsula of Dakhla is also threatened to sink beyond the sea level down from the sea level over the years and with the global warming that threatens the climate and the earth in the whole world.
Oil drilling are also taking place in the territory by foreign companies such as Kosmos Energy. with the blessing of the Moroccan government. Oil drilling will mean more pollution for the water, the earth and for the ozone. This will mean more contribution to the global warming. Producing more petroleum means it will be used. And that will add to carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, so increasing the atmosphere’s temperature. Furthermore, oil-drilling activities will mean death to lots of migrating birds that travel over Saharawi coasts. This goes without forgetting the fisheries, as our waters are rich of all fish species. It has been proven that petroleum activities are a direct threat to animals on dry land and to fish in the waters.
In El-Aaiun city, a thermal power plant is underway of being built and would soon operate. This same plant has been denied in the past in several Moroccan cities which blocked its construction and operation on their territory´s soil. Such a thermal plant operates using textured heavy fuel oil, which is considered the worst types of energies as it causes great damage to the environment.
Inside sources from within Germany’s state-owned Bank KFW, the World Bank, the European Investment Bank and the European Union, all reported to Reuters that their institutions will not be funding projects in Western Sahara. Senior banking sources says: ‘If you support these investments will look as if we support the position of Morocco. We are neutral with regard to the conflict. Another second source said ‘never support any project in those territories of Western Sahara, and will not do so despite the fact that the Moroccan solar energy plans mean a lot to us.”
The region, in general, is not immune to the impact of projected climate change around the world, but it is possible to say that phenomena such as the sharp rise in temperatures in recent times in both the cities of Smara and El-Aaiun, Boujdour, twill all witness the occurrence of some flooding in the form of such magnitude and heavy rain floods in the Sakia El Hamra river due to the phenomenon of global climate change affected by global warming. The recent floods is Western Sahara showed the poor infrastructure and unreadiness of the local authorities to handle such crises.
Morocco is betting on the exploitation of the wind to produce clean energy in Morocco and in Western Sahara.Though we support of the use of such an environment-friendly initiative, we disapprove of Morocco´s intentional strategy to plunder the natural resources of Western Sahara in clear violation of the international law. Morocco, thus, built many wind turbines farms in the occupied territory of Western Sahara against the will of the Saharawis and their legitimate and internationally recognised representative: the Polisario Front.In addtion, Saharawis do not benefit from such projects and investments. Sadly enough, some foreign companies are accomplices of Morocco in legitimizing its presence in Western Sahara and empowering its illegal occupation of Western Sahara. Such companies include but not limited to: Siemens and Alstom. We, therefore, ask these companies to pull away from such project and to divest from any present and future investments in Western Sahara. Such companies and such projects will be more than welcome once Western Sahara conflict is solved once for all.
Finally, as concerned Saharawi citizens we do not want to COP22 to be another accomplice of Morocco in prolonging the occupation in Western Sahara and legitimizing the Moroccan illegal presence in Western Sahara. We also call upon COP22 to include the Saharawi civil society and the Polisario Front in future conferences and initiatives. We urge all leaders and institutions to reconsider any recommendations or resolutions in a way it does not make the international community responsible for the continuous misery, plunder and the suffering of the Saharawis. Saharawis ask all foreign investors and international actors to stop helping Morocco plunder the Saharawi natural resources.
GREEN does not mean PLUNDER !
Saharawi Civil Society in the Occupied Western Sahara
El-Aaiun, Occupied Western Sahara