Even as U.S. and Moroccan executives meet to discuss strengthening private sector ties between the two countries, advocacy groups are raising concerns about plans by a U.S. energy firm to explore for oil in the contested territory known as Western Sahara.
Volunteers are hard at work in an industrial warehouse in the Spanish city of Malaga, organising thousands of kilos of rice, sugar, lentils and oil to be shipped this February to Saharawi refugee camps in Tindouf, in the west of Algeria.
Before sunrise, a Moroccan woman waits her turn at the pedestrian border control separating her country from the Spanish city of Melilla. Hours later she crosses over, takes up an 80-kilo bundle of merchandise and carries it back to her country, for a payment of less than six dollars.
Women's rights activists in Morocco have criticised the Islamist-led government for excluding them from drafting proposed legislation to combat violence against women and for seeking to dilute the bill through changes.
Liberian journalist Mae Azango says she spent a year living “like a bat, going from tree to tree” with her daughter in order to escape religious fanatics who were threatening to kill her for exposing the practice of female genital mutilation in her home country last year.
When the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII), an alliance of 21 major European corporations, first unveiled plans to install a network of solar thermal, photovoltaic, and wind plants across the North African Maghreb region to generate electricity, the project was greeted as a ‘green utopia’.
The road vanishes under the sand just after the border crossing at Tindouf, western Algeria. Another 20 kilometres into the desert, a billboard welcomes us into the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.
In 2008, delegates meeting for the annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) agreed that much greater investments in women and gender equality were a critical – and overlooked – aspect of sustainable development.