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Complaint to Global Compact of Siemens' W. Sahara Wind Farm, Orr's Ambitions?

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 4 -- The UN Global Compact received a complaint earlier this year that German conglomerate Siemens' plans to construct and maintain a wind mill farm in occupied Western Sahara, with NAREVA Holding, a Moroccan industrial and financial group.

  The complaint argues that "building infrastructure in occupied territory by Morocco strengthens Moroccan occupation and gives the appearance of legitimizing the illegal occupation."

  Inner City Press on June 4 asked Global Compact chief Georg Kell about the status of the complaint, and how it is being processed and considered. He said he will check with his legal department.

  At issue is whether, beyond being a learning platform, the Global Compact should require at least minimal compliance with international law as a condition of receiving the "bluewashing" the Global Compact seal may represent.

  In the case of such exploitation, it has been found by the UN, the parent of the Global Compact, that natural resource activity in Western Sahara is in violation of international law if the people of the territory are not, as they were not here, consulted.

  So beyond any disputes about, for example, the private equity industry (about which Inner City Press also asked Kell) or tobacco or even the arms trade are acceptable to the Global Compact, shouldn't not violating international law be a threshold question for joining or staying in the Compact. We'll see.

  Inner City Press asked directly if the Global Compact is or will be under the Public - Private Partnership office being set up by (or for) UN official Robert Orr.

  Kell declined to answer this question about his unit, saying it is not the focus on the press conference. Sources tell Inner City Press Orr wants to bump up to the Under Secretary General level this position, which was D2 under Amir Dossal. And so it goes at the UN.

Footnote: Some say Kell is becoming stronger on the Global Compact having standards - we are open to and will be looking for that.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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