Secondly, Bardem's ignorance of basic well-known data is alarming. He stated that the population in the Tindouf camps is estimated at 300,000, which contradicts the UNHCR's estimates in 2005 when it reduced the number from 158,000 to only 90,000.
Also, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees has been continually denied requests by Polisario and Algeria to conduct an accurate census of the camps' population despite the Security Council resolution 2044 of 24 April 2012 on the Sahara conflict. For the record, Gordan Gray, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. State Department, in his November 17, 2005 presentation before the Subcommittee on Africa, said: "There are credible reports that the Polisario Front has sold portions of international food aid on the black market."
Thirdly, Bardem claims -- without presenting any evidence -- that the Sahara is in the darkness, that the local population was forced to give up its resources and that "Spain has an administrative role in the Sahara." In reality, Spain colonized the Sahara at the end of the 19th century and that the land was under Moroccan sovereignty, and resisted Spanish colonial penetration until 1934. Also, many reports of the U.N. general secretary presents "Morocco as the administrative power in the western Sahara," for example the May 23, 2003 report to the Security Council.
As for economic and social development, the Sahara region has recorded higher development rates compared with many other regions in Morocco. There are many local democratic institutions beside 52 elected Sahrawi in the Moroccan parliament which deliberate on projects of investment and natural resources.
Between 2004 and 2010 $1 billion has been invested in economic and social projects: now more than 95% of the population has access to drinking water; 93% of the population has electricity; there are five hospitals, 37 health centers and 139 educational establishments. The rate of poverty in the Sahara region has been reduced from 29.4% in 1975 to 6.2%. In fact, the government's investments in the region far exceed any revenue generated. For example, the main driver behind the survival of the phosphate mine Phos-Boucoraa was for social reasons rather than economic, with more than 1900 employees, and the company has invested recently more than $325 millions to keep the mine working plus $4.5 million on social projects in the region.
Finally, Moroccan efforts to resolve the dispute have been appreciated around the world. The Security Council has in several resolutions, 1754, 1783 and 1813, welcomed the "serious and credible Moroccan efforts to move the process forward towards resolution." These statements came after Morocco presented an autonomy plan for the Sahara within Moroccan sovereignty as a political solution to the conflict, to be adopted by a referendum. This reflects the strategic vision to maintain stability in the Grand Sahara and in the Sahel region and to enhance Maghreb integration.