Questions relating to wind power projects in the Moroccan-occupied territories of Western Sahara

On the occasion of the Annual General Meeting 2021, we are asking Siemens Gamesa the following questions, as we are concerned about financial, legal and reputational risks related to Siemens Gamesa’s business activities in the Moroccan-occupied territories of Western Sahara.

In Moroccan occupied Western Sahara, the occupying power exploits natural resources in violation of international law. Morocco also engages in wind energy projects in Western Sahara, and practically all of these wind farms run on turbines made by Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy (SGRE). In the Foum El Oued wind park they provide almost all the energy needed for the transport of illegally exploited phosphates on the 100km conveyor belt to the coast. The 200MW wind park Aftissat – also supplying industrial end-users – was equipped with turbines from SGRE, and recently SGRE signed a contract for the 300MW Boujdour wind farm. Consequently, Norway’s largest private asset manager recently excluded SGRE for contributing to violations of international law in occupied Western Sahara.

  • In four consecutive rulings, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has underlined that Western Sahara and Morocco are two ‘distinct and separate’ territories and that the legal prerequisite for economic activities in Western Sahara is the explicit consent of the Saharawi people.
    • Does SGRE agree with the ECJ, the UN and the International Court of Justice that Western Sahara is a Non-Self-Governing Territory, and not a region of another country?
    • On what legal basis did SGRE conclude that the Boujdour wind farm is to be located in “the South of Morocco”, a view expressed in its press release in September 2020?
    • Locating Boujdour in Morocco is a tacit recognition of the Western Sahara as part of the Moroccan territory. Why does SGRE take such a position on international public law?
    • Does SGRE consider it necessary to obtain the consent of the Saharawi people for its activities in Western Sahara?
    • Does SGRE consider holding talks with Moroccan governmental institutions to be a valid means of obtaining the consent of the Saharawi people?
    • ‘SGRE engaged with Saharawi representatives present in the region’, your parent company Siemens Energy stated at its AGM on 10 February 2021. Which Saharawi representatives in the territory has SGRE engaged with? Has SGRE engaged with a single Saharawi who advocates for the Saharawi people’s right to self-determination? If yes, who? What did this person say about your operation on Saharawi land?
  • Siemens Energy stated that SGRE will ‘continue and monitor developments in the field of human rights’ in Western Sahara.
    • What sources, independent from the Moroccan government, will SGRE rely on to do so?
    • How does SGRE assess the credibility of Moroccan official institutions with regard to the situation in the territory that Morocco holds under illegal military occupation?
  • Siemens Energy referred to a legal opinion carried out by SGRE, which supposedly “reaffirmed (…) the compliance of activities in Western Sahara with applicable law”.
    • Will SGRE make this legal opinion publicly available, including sharing it with the people of Western Sahara? If not, why?
    • Can SGRE explain which legal framework is meant with “applicable law”?
    • Who wrote this external legal opinion?
  • The contract for the Boujdour wind farm was signed with the company Narvea, which is owned by the Moroccan king. In this way, SGRE ensures that the king, who is politically responsible for the occupation of Western Sahara, can personally profit from the occupation. Is this anchoring of the occupation, which is contrary to international law, ethically justifiable from your point of view?
  • In November 2020, a group of members of the European Parliament warned Siemens of “serious legal and moral risks” in doing business in Western Sahara. Why did SGRE ignore this warning and why does it continue to pursue these deals?
  • The first consequences of this decision are already becoming apparent: in January 2021, Norway’s largest private asset manager, Storebrand, excluded Siemens Gamesa from its portfolio due to concerns over international law for business in the Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. How high does SGRE assess the risk that other investing companies will follow Storebrand’s example?
  • Following the withdrawal of Norwegian asset manager Storebrand, will you review your activities and plans in Western Sahara?
  • On November 18, 2020, UN-recognized representative of the Saharawi people, the Polisario Front, declared all of Western Sahara a war zone and called on all foreign companies to immediately cease doing business in the occupied territories. Will SGRE heed this call from the people of Western Sahara?
  • How do you ensure the safety of your employees who may be affected by the conflict?

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