All Eyes on the Amazon
Covering an area of 5.5 million km², the Amazon rainforest is the largest rainforest in the world. At least 12% of the forest has been lost in the last decades, and deforestation is still continuing at a rapid pace. Illegal logging, land grabbing and intimidation for agriculture, animal husbandry and mining are daily business, and impunity rules. Recent developments, such as the election of the new Bolsonaro government in Brazil, make the future of the Amazon region and the people living there even more uncertain than it already was.
The Amazon rainforest is not only of crucial importance for indigenous communities living in it. The rainforest houses a wealth of biodiversity and has a crucial function for the global climate because it stores large amounts of CO2. The IPCC makes it clear that we need these huge forests to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees and to prevent the worst effects of climate change. Conversely, it is disastrous for the climate if the forest disappears, because then the CO2 that is stored in it is released.
Indigenous communities are generally the only ones who resist the unbridled logging and protect the forest, despite the enormous risks that this entails. It is of the utmost importance for these people themselves and for the survival of the Amazon rainforest to be able to bring out abuses and illegal practices so that they can be tackled at international level if necessary.
All eyes on the Amazon
This is exactly what the 'All eyes on the Amazon' project, which runs from the beginning of 2017 to the end of 2020, aims to achieve. In the project, led by HIVOS and Greenpeace Netherlands, eleven organisations, including Both ENDS, are working together to strengthen the position of indigenous groups so that these can protect the area they live in, the Amazon forest. All project partners have their own task within the project, but the aim of all activities is to stop the (causes of) the destruction of the rainforest.
Protect the forest protector
Indigenous groups are provided with drones with which they can visualise the deforestation that takes place everywhere around them, but which is largely hidden from the outside world. With this footage and new radar satellite technology, we can quickly and precisely determine where deforestation is taking place. In addition, land rights of indigenous peoples in the Amazon must be recognised, not only because they have been living in the forest for centuries, but also because they are the best forest protectors. In the areas that are still unaffected, we therefore map the territory of indigenous residents.
Another aim of the project is to persuade governments to recognise the crucial role of local forestry teams and fund these. Nationally and internationally, we are increasing public support for the preservation of rainforests and the people living there, also to ensure that activists who protect their own livelihood can safely do so. Wherever companies enabling or maintaining deforestation are active, local partners involved in this project will take action. In this way, the network of protected, intact forest areas is growing.
Follow the Money
The next step is to investigate exactly which companies or investors are behind the deforestation. This project revolves around disclosing what is still hidden, to encourage companies to do it differently. If necessary, we will continue to increase public pressure, we will start an (international) lawsuit or we will mobilise a wide audience. But we also focus on the parties that play an important role in the background: the financiers of destructive practices and indifferent and careless politicians and authorities. By increasing pressure from all sides, we force them to make firm agreements and strong laws that put an end to deforestation.
What does Both ENDS do in this project?
We investigate which public authorities, financiers and other stakeholders in the Netherlands and in other Western countries may be behind deforestation, and bring the issues that are imposed on the local population, to the attention of policymakers in the Netherlands and the EU. If necessary, we use the OECD's complaints mechanisms or other relevant bodies to change the attitude, policies and actions of companies and financiers from the Netherlands and/or the EU so that the situation in the Amazon region actually improve.
Greenpeace Netherlands (the Netherlands)
Hivos (the Netherlands)
International Institute of Social Studies (ISS, the Netherlands)
Article 19 (UK)
Digital Democracy (USA)
Global Forest Watch (USA)
University of Maryland (USA)
Update September 2020:
See this new publication 'New Voices of the Amazon by Hivos Latin America, containing interviews with indigenous youngsters in Peru and Ecuador
For more information, also see these publications which have been supported by Both ENDS:
For more information
Read more about this subject
News / 11 September 2020
The world's forests are under threat. Remaining forests – havens of precious biodiversity and the lungs of the planet – are being cleared to make way for beef, soy, sugar and palm oil production, mining and other industrial activities, fuelled by increasing demand from Europe and other countries. But the good news is: you can help stop the destruction!
Press release / 26 August 2020
Dutch pension money is invested heavily in companies that contribute to deforestation in the Amazon region and the Cerrado savanna in Brazil, such as soy, animal feed and beef companies. This is concluded in a report published today by Profundo, commisioned by the Fair Finance Guide, Hivos and Both ENDS. All ten pension funds that were examined invest in these types of companies, with the ABP pension fund and Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn on top with investments worth EUR 580 million and EUR 383 million respectively.
Publication / 26 August 2020
Press release / 29 June 2020
Germany must use its influence as president of the EU in the second half of this year to ensure that the controversial EU-Mercosur free trade agreement is not signed. This is the message in a letter presented to German chancellor Angela Merkel today by 265 civil society and environmental organisations from the EU and Mercosur countries. The deal between the EU and Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay will stimulate destruction of the natural environment and the violation of human rights in vulnerable areas in South America. The agreement will also give European farmers an unfair competitive advantage. Dutch signatories to the letter include Greenpeace and Both ENDS and various organisations united in the Handel Anders! coalition.
News / 2 August 2019
The EU is still one of the world’s largest importers of deforestation: EU demand for commodities like soy, palm oil, beef, coffee and cacao requires millions of hectares of tropical rainforest to be cleared. This deforestation has significant biodiversity and climate impacts, and is often linked to human rights violations and violence against local communities and indigenous peoples. Both ENDS and partners have been actively lobbying the EU Commission to adopt a robust action plan to address and prevent human rights violations and deforestation ‘embodied’ in EU imports of agricultural commodities.
News / 14 June 2019
Last Thursday June 13, Rahmawati Retno Winarni of TUK, an Indonesian partner organisation of Both ENDS, presented a symbolic tree and an appeal to the Dutch Minister of Agriculture Carola Schouten, also on behalf of 10 NGOs. The joint NGOs are pushing the EU, including the Dutch government, for strict EU legislation to prevent the destruction of forests and ecosystems and to protect human rights.
Publication / 8 May 2019
Blog / 18 January 2019
Unambitious and uninspiring: the European Commission’s proposal for stepping-up action on global deforestation
After five years of equivocation the European Commission has proposed a ‘roadmap’ for stepping-up EU action to address its contribution to global deforestation. Despite the escalating impact of EU trade in forest-risk commodities, regardless of repeated calls from the European Parliament for regulatory measures and contrary to the conclusions of the Commission’s own feasibility study in support of legislative intervention, the Commission has ruled-out out any new initiatives, let alone any legislative measures. The Commission’s solution to this complex problem: policy coherence.
News / 15 November 2018
On Wednesday, November 14, Dutch Newspaper De Volkskrant published a joint op-ed by Both ENDS, Hivos, Greenpeace Netherlands and Witness about the deforestation in the Amazon region which is still going on rapidly, having disastrous consequences for the indigenous people who live in the area, for biodiversity and for the climate. The Netherlands is one of the largest buyers of Brazilian agricultural products such as soy and beef, and should ensure that deforestation, land grabbing and human rights violations do not occur in these production chains. Unfortunately, this is not at all the case yet.
Publication / 7 November 2018