Advocating for just governance worldwide

Our goal is to achieve systemic change at all levels of social, political and economic institutions, to ensure that these unconditionally respect human rights and planetary boundaries. This requires policy coherence and consistent decision-making across all sectors - from trade, finance and energy to food production, agriculture, climate action and water management - and across all sections of society - from individual to family, farm, neighbourhood, city, province and national levels. 

Where existing policies and laws are not sufficient, new binding requirements that prioritise the integrity of people and planet must be enacted. We work together with CSO partners and other strategic allies to lobby and advocate for new laws and policies, to influence national and international agendas, and to counter the chilling effect of excessive corporate power on democratic processes.

Where effective policies and laws already exist, they must be implemented and enforced with firm, unavoidable consequences for governments and companies that do not comply. Together with our partners, we advocate for the implementation and enforcement of existing policies at local, national and international levels. We support those impacted by non-compliance with such policies, to raise their grievances and seek remedy. We advocate for national and international institutions (including governments, banks, pension funds and export credit agencies) to enforce strong accountability mechanisms with robust environmental, social and gender safeguards. For example, India’s Forest Rights Act is favourable to indigenous peoples when it comes to gaining ownership rights over their communal land. However, most local government agencies were not aware of this Act. Local civic actors supported by Both ENDS informed thousands of people of their rights and successfully supported several local communities to go through the lengthy process of applying for their land titles. Consequently, forest-based indigenous communities applied en masse for legal ownership of their lands. Meanwhile, our partners ensure that governments are held accountable when they refuse to implement the Forest Rights Act, or where this is hampered by ignorance or corruption. 11

The structural and obstinate bias of financial, economic and political systems towards growth at all costs must be replaced by a rights-based approach to prosperity that respects planetary boundaries. The climate crisis urges global society to stop fossil fuel investments, quickly transition away from emission-heavy industries and lifestyles, and shift political and economic priority to sustainable alternatives. Together with our partners, we challenge the unsustainable aspects of the prevailing development paradigm. We promote the use of accountability and judicial mechanisms to ensure that public development institutions uphold human rights and ecological values as fundamental norms. In parallel, we develop proposals for structural changes in policies, financial systems and development agendas that prioritise people and planet over corporate profits. An example is our involvement in the fossil fuel divestment movement. We want the Dutch pension funds to acknowledge climate-related risks and opportunities and to adopt divest-invest policies to manage these risks and to support emerging climate-friendly alternatives to a fossil fuel based economy.

Our work on this subject