More than six months after the Dutch elections took place, a long period of debates, negotiations and incertainty has finally come to an end. The new coalition of center-rightwing parties was sworn in last Thursday the 26th of October. Having Sigrid Kaag of the liberal-democratic party D66 as the new Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the third Rutte government (Rutte III), we can look forward to where the opportunities lie in the new coalition’s plans to make the world fairer and more sustainable. The Coalition Agreement, which tries to build a bridge between the political centre and the centre-right, is a smart piece of work in terms of reaching compromises. In the current international climate of societies progressively growing apart, that is a striking achievement.
Silence can sometimes say more than a thousand words. When colleagues from our partner organisations tell us their stories,* our reaction is often silence; a dejected silence.
The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) in Geneva has announced that the Brazilian government should take measures to guarantee the security of members of the Forum Suape Social Environmental Space, and of national activists in general, against intimidation from third parties. The ISHR has issued a statement about this after Forum Suape member and attorney Dr. Conceição Lacerda (photo) reported she had been harassed by security guard members of the Industrial and Harbor Complex of Suape (CIPS).
Last week the 11th Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil was held in Medan , Indonesia. One of the issues central to the discussions was the increasing conflict over land use, especially in Indonesia, but increasingly elsewhere in Asia, Africa and Latin America . The cause: the poorly controlled production of palm oil, a raw material for a wide range of products such as food and cosmetics, and as biofuel as an alternative to fossil fuels.
Both ENDS' deputy director Paul Wolvekamp attended the 10th Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change which was hosted by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and Oxfam Novib and took place in The Hague on the 7th of september.
Dutch development bank FMO did not sufficiently take into account the rights of the local population and effects on the environment before approving a $ 25 million loan for the construction of the Barro Blanco dam in Panama. This is not in accordance with FMO’s own standards. This was revealed in the long-awaited report by the independent complaints mechanism (ICM) of the FMO and the German development bank DEG, released on May 29. The report was published in response to a complaint filed by the M-10, the movement representing the affected indigenous Ngöbe population, in May 2014. Both ENDS has been supporting the M-10 in its struggle against the dam for years, and was one of the organisations that supported the complaint.
We are deeply shocked about the murder on Dexter Condez, the 26-year-old leader of the Ati tribe, an indigenous group in the Philippines. He was shot dead Friday night February 22nd on the tourist island of Boracay. While no suspects have been arrested, the police thinks the motive could involve a dispute between de Ati tribe and developers over a piece of land. Our sympathy goes to the family, friends and the people he worked with.
Large-scale plans made by governments or companies can often have profound effects on small communities and their environment. Countless people have to move if a dam is built, forests are cleared for new highways, airports or palm oil plantations. Promised compensation is often incomplete or not given at all. For local communities, objecting to such plans is not easy. Nevertheless a community in Uganda has managed to receive fair compensation from the government. Together with the organisations NAPE and AFIEGO, partners of Both ENDS and IUCN NL, the community has persuaded the government to buy new land for those who are forced to move.