The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has confirmed that it will not provide financial support to projects located in occupied Western Sahara.
"The Bank does not intend to invest in the Western Sahara in the course of this Country Strategy period", stated the Bank in its "Strategy for Morocco: report on the invitation to the public to comment".
The report contains the outcome of a public consultation on the Bank's strategy for Morocco, a document identifying the Bank's priorities in its relation with the Moroccan government for the coming years. A consultative meeting with civil society groups was set in Casablanca in April 2014. In addition, the Bank posted its Draft Strategy on its webpage for 45 calendar days, during which civil society groups could react. It is in the latter framework that WSRW submitted its remarks, in January 2015.
WSRW never heard back from the Bank, nor received any reply. Only now has WSRW discovered that the Bank had posted the outcome of its consultation process on its webpage, late February 2015.
Apparently, the EBRD had only received one submission in response to its draft strategy note on Morocco: ours.
As a result, all public comments the Bank had received and was forced to reply to, dealt with Western Sahara. The result is positive: a clear statement from the EBRD ruling out its financial involvement in Western Sahara for the coming years.
At present, the EBRD is providing financial assistance for 20 projects in Morocco. However, on its webpage, the Bank only provides information on 13 of these projects. These 13 are indeed not carried out in Western Sahara. On 8 January 2016, WSRW has asked the Bank to provide information on the remaining seven projects, but has so far not received a reply.
25 million Euros of EBRD loans will be provided to yet another Moroccan bank - for projects that risks being located in occupied Western Sahara.
As EBRD is rolling out millions of new loans to Morocco's green energy transition, it remains unknown whether the international bank will also fund controversial businesses in occupied Western Sahara.
The High Court in New Zealand has dismissed carrying out a judicial review on controversial investments in relation to the Western Sahara phosphate trade, but underlines the reputational risk for the Pacific nation.
Siemens Gamesa, Siemens Energy and Enel Spa have been excluded by Norway's largest private asset manager for contributing to violations of international law in occupied Western Sahara.