Western Sahara Conflict (EDA Conference / Willem)

On Friday April 3rd 2009 a conference on “The Western Sahara Conflict” was organized by the EDA (Ethical Development Action) of the University of Cork, Ireland.

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With his brilliant opening speech the Irish Minister of Foreign Affairs set the tone and underscored : “Western Sahara has become a ‘frozen conflict’ and a humanitarian crisis for those caught up in it”.

2009-04-03 : Contact meeting before the conference.  Sitting in front : Y. LAMINE (Polisario), M. MARTIN (Minister Foreign Affairs Ireland), H. DEIDI (Smara Refugee Camp, S.W. Algeria).
2009-04-03 : Contact meeting before the conference. Sitting in front : Y. LAMINE (Polisario), M. MARTIN (Minister Foreign Affairs Ireland), H. DEIDI (Smara Refugee Camp, S.W. Algeria).

There were excellent contributions of Alice WILSON (University of Cambridge), Simon COVENEY (Member of Parliament), Hayetna DEIDI (Smara Camp, Western Sahara), Mir Jam HIRZEL (University of Cork), Jim LOUGHRAN (Frontline Defenders), Tara SHINE (Environmental Consultant), Yahiaoui LAMINE (Polisario Representative UK & Ireland) and Adam KOMOROWSKI (Mines – MAG).

A Video Conference Link was established with Senia BACHIR ABDERAHMAN in the USA and Mark Mc LOUGHLIN (BANG BANG teo.) presented the film “Behind the Desert Wall”.

Invited by EDA, I had the honour of presenting the magnificent results obtained at the UNICEF project “Family gardens and school gardens in the Saharawis refugee camps” (2005-2007).  Application of a soil conditioner offered possibilities to grow several species of vegetables and fruits with a minimum of water.

In 2008 I had the pleasure of launching the action “Seeds for Food” (see www.seedsforfood.org), aiming at sending large quantities of seeds to the Saharawi refugee camps for the family gardens, school gardens and hospital gardens.  This action became a huge success and nowadays heaps of seeds are sent to my personal address (Prof. Willem Van Cotthem – Beeweg 36 – 9080 ZAFFELARE – Belgium) from Europe and other continents.  It was suggested that supporters of this action in Ireland could set up “an Irish branch” of “Seeds for Food”.

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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