The Wetlands without Borders programme aims to preserve the biodiversity of the La Plata Basin and the sustainable livelihoods of its communities. Preservation of the La Plata Basin is essential for protecting the region from flood and drought, and preserving the quality of life of its inhabitants. Click here for the programme's website and for the latest information.
The new year has barely begun but already record high summer temperatures are being reported in parts of South America, especially Argentina, Paraguay and Southern Brazil. The latest heatwave, with temperatures of up to 45C, arrives on top of two years of severe drought which had a devastating effect on the entire region. It is a painful reminder of the immediacy of climate change and emblematic for what happens when vital ecosystems are not protected and for the catastrophic consequences as much on already endangered wildlife as on the local communities who depend on them for their livelihoods. One of the most affected areas are the regions wetlands – unique ecosystems, which are crucial ecological pressure points, vital for the regulation of river systems and huge carbon sinks. Their loss not only has ecological impacts but affects thousands of local communities which depend on their health for fishing, tourism and local agriculture. The threat to them by for example droughts and fires, can be directly linked to the large-scale production of soy, produced mainly for export. This in turn means responsibility for what is happening in the region needs to be acknowledged and shared by leaders around the world, and especially large importers such as the Netherlands.
Globally, the area that is suffering desertification and land degradation is ever expanding. Unsustainable and often large-scale agricultural practices, including the copious use of pesticides and fertilisers, are a major driver of land degradation, aprocess that is further exacerbated by climate change, causing more erratic rainfall patterns, longer periods of drought and unpredictable growing seasons. This is very problematic not only for the hundreds of millions of people who directly depend on land and water for their livelihoods, but also for life on earth as a whole. It is clear that this process must be stopped and reversed, better sooner than later. But how to go about it?
On Sunday the 10th of March 2019 Both ENDS will be taking part in what is expected to become the largest climate march in The Netherlands as of yet. The march is organised by Milieudefensie, Greenpeace, Oxfam Novib, FNV, De Goede Zaak and the Woonbond and supported by Both ENDS and a large number of diverse civil society organisations. Together, we demand a safe future for ourselves, our children and for all people whose lives have already been or will soon be made almost impossible because of the effects of climate change such as droughts, disease, floods or food shortages.
From 6-16 september, the 13th Conference of Parties' of the UNCCD (UN Convention to Combat Desertification) took place, this time in Ordos, China. The UNCCD is the global convention of the United Nations on combating desertification and drought. Every country in the world has signed this convention. Canada withdrew in 2012, but in 2016 - under the Trudeau administration - started a process to re-enter the convention. Both ENDS is a member of Drynet, a network of local organisations and communities in dry regions searching for ways to use land in a sustainable manner.
The impacts of climate change are largely mediated by water. Changes in precipitation and glacial melt patterns, variations in river flow, increased occurrence of droughts and floods, and sea level rise all impact both urban and rural communities in developed, emerging, and especially developing countries. The book:'Adaptation to Climate Change through Water Management: Capacity, Equity and Sustainability' presents evidence of the emerging wealth of knowledge and experience on adaptation to climate change from across the world. It identifies common barriers and bridges for local adaptation to climate change through water resources management, looking at adaptive capacity, equity, and sustainability.
Since the nineties, the production of red bush tea in South Africa has grown enormously: over 4500 people now live off of tea production. Red bush can only be grown in South Africa because of its unique ecosystem. The entire world market for red bush tea depends on South Africa. However, climate change causes increasing heat and drought which endangers red bush production. The Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) from Cape Town - a Both ENDS partner - supports farmers who aim to develop sustainable production techniques.
Today, the 17th of June 2010, it's World Day to Combat Desertification. This year's theme is "Enhancing soils anywhere enhances life everywhere", in line with the International Year dedicated to Biodiversity. With this theme, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification aims to sensitize the public to the fact that desertification, land degradation and drought dramatically affect the biodiversity resident in the soil.
The 17th session of the Commission for Sustainable Development of the United Nations (UNCSD) took place in New York in May. This session, which commenced last year, was continued by Gerda Verburg, the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The subjects on the agenda at this 17th session were Africa, Agriculture, Drought & Desertification, Rural Development and Land. Both ENDS was present in New York to follow the negotiations.