The Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic is, 42 years after its foundation, not only the first State of Western Sahara, but a consolidated State, capable of exercising all the competences that correspond to it both in relation to its citizenship and in relation to the defence of its territory and natural resources or to international relations.
The creation and development of the Saharawi state, SADR, has been possible only thanks to the continuous commitment of Saharawi men and women who, in the most adverse circumstances and from diverse cultural, economic and ideological places and origins, have been able to consolidate independent and effective national structures, institutions and policies to face the challenges of Saharawi society.
Thus, any contribution to the development of SADR must start from the recognition of what exists and be considered as an option for improvement or overcoming. Proposals (whether well- or ill-intentioned) that include external conditioning factors or dependencies, whether economic, political, cultural or otherwise, must be rejected.
However, a fundamental condition for progress in this direction lies in our ability to make a serious and honest assessment of the achievements made and the challenges that lie ahead. To this end, it is likewise essential to take into account the specific conditions in which Sahrawi society and institutions operate.
SADR has to deal at present with realities as different as the Moroccan occupation, refugee camps, liberated territories or the diaspora. But all of them have one in common: provisionality. Both the situation experienced by Saharawi citizens and the character of the current structures and institutions of SADR will have a provisional bias, as long as the right of the Saharawi people to decide freely and collectively their future does not become a reality.
In view of the above, we propose the following lines of reflection on how we can help SADR’s structures and institutions to better meet their own objectives and the needs and requirements of the population.
1) REINFORCING THE POLITICAL DIMENSION OF SADR
The creation of SADR and its development as a state has demonstrated that it is possible to maintain an Arab and African state on democratic, social and independent bases.
Our contribution should develop and consolidate a democratic, egalitarian and modern Saharawi state, which constitutes an important factor of stability in the region and is a guarantee of human development for all the Saharawi people.
In this sense, it would be necessary to strengthen:
1) the stability
– social: Ensuring the integration of different groups: young people, women, occupied territories, diaspora… (Contribute to know their interests, establish specific policies, collect and implement the necessary means and effectively communicate the successes and difficulties to the citizens.)
– Institutional: Deepening representation (contributing and advising on awareness campaigns for political and institutional participation) and improving efficiency (contributing to ensuring human and material resources, preventing and avoiding corruption, improving communication channels between the administration and citizens…).
II) the sustainability.
Advice and contributions aimed at eliminating independence and increasing both financial and resource autonomy. In this sense, the work of legitimising the claim, preservation and control of the natural resources of Western Sahara by the Saharawi state, SADR, is strategic.
2) RETHINKING DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION
The living conditions of the Saharawi population, both in the occupied territories and in the camps, cannot depend on the degree of solidarity of the international community or humanitarian organisations, but on justice. In other words, the degree of compliance and real capacity to exercise human rights. We speak both of civil and political rights, among which the right to self-determination is the first of all (rights of free circulation, expression, association…) and of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR) (right to health, education, housing…).
Human rights generate obligations and responsibilities. In the case of the Saharawi People the fundamental responsibility corresponds to the Spanish State and, secondarily, to international organisations such as UNHCR, PAM, ECHO…
In this sense, our objective, beyond the formulation and implementation of concrete cooperation projects, should be to build a strategy that allows us to demand the fulfilment of basic rights, jointly between Polisario Front, SADR structures, Solidarity Movement, development NGOs and solidarity institutions.
This strategy should take into account the differences between the possible addressees of our complaint: Spain (AECID, CCAA, ), Europe, UN (UNHCR, WFP).
Ensure the maintenance of basic services and infrastructures for the Saharawi population: water, food, energy, housing, education (from pre-school to university level) and health, taking as a reference the strategic plan of the Ministry of Cooperation.
Strengthen structures and services in the liberated territories in order to guarantee the fundamental rights of the population. Encourage organisations to promote projects aimed at the Saharawi population in the occupied territories, overcoming the difficulties imposed by the Moroccan occupation.
3) STRENGTHEN THE DIPLOMATIC CAPACITY OF THE SAHARAWI STATE
The Saharawi state has an external dimension marked by the need to relate on an equal footing with the rest of the states, peoples and nations of the world. A world increasingly globalized and in continuous political, economic and cultural mutation.
Our objective would be to determine how we can contribute to optimize the material and human resources of the Saharawi state in order to
Strengthen relations with friendly countries and institutions (See the possibilities of renewing or establishing new bilateral cooperation agreements).
– Facilitate the establishment and deepening of relations with key States and Institutions (e.g. BRIC, Nordic Countries, Emerging East Countries, Francophone Africa, etc.) through advocacy and lobbying groups.
– Progressive recognition and participation in international institutions, demanding the fulfilment of their responsibilities (UNESCO, EUT, International Pacts…) It is a question of analysing jointly and with experts, the forms of participation in each case and the possible and necessary pressure measures to achieve it. (Lobbying, mobilisations, political advocacy, legal claims…)
Promoting a culture of solidarity and cooperation through education for social transformation, awareness and mobilization. In this sense, we consider it a priority to design a communication strategy. This strategy, aimed at cooperation actors, should give the greatest possible visibility not only to the needs of the Saharawi people but also to the good practices that are put in place for the better functioning of the State.
We would like to stress that the success of our actions will only be guaranteed if they all respect equality between men and women.
In order to achieve these objectives, it is necessary to improve coordination between the various actors in cooperation with the Ministry of Cooperation and the Saharawi Red Crescent by setting up a monitoring committee.