In 1959, Germany and Pakistan signed the first Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in the world. Without knowing, they marked a new era as many countries have followed their example since then. Currently, the international legal system that governs international investment flows consists of about 3000 BITs and other international investment agreements (IIAs). While originally these treaties were thought to be beneficial for the investor and the host state in terms of economic growth, increased foreign investment and development, many host states have suffered negative consequences instead of benefiting from them.
Global public support for coal is decreasing. Obama has pledged to stop American support for public financing of new coal plants outside the U.S., the World Bank has announced to phase out support for coal projects and some large private banks are withdrawing from fossil fuels. But what about export credit agencies (ECAs)? Until now, ECAs have not withdrawn from coal projects. On the contrary: while other investors gradually cease their support to coal projects, export credit agencies are investing in coal more than ever. On June 11, an alliance of 50 NGOs, including Both ENDS, published a recommendation to the OECD calling for an end to export credit support for coal.
This week, representatives of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are meeting during the Ministerial Conference in Bali. There is a lot to negotiate, as many countries have conflicting interests. Although the WTO is good for trade and economic development of rich countries, it doesn’t seem to be beneficial for developing countries. Our Both ENDS colleague Burghard Ilge is in Bali as the official NGO-adviser to Minister Ploumen. He will inform the minister about views and interests of civil society organizations worldwide.
Both ENDS will join the protest against trade treaties TTIP, CETA and TiSA on Saturday October 22nd in Amsterdam. These treaties will have negative impacts, not only in the Netherlands and Europe, but also - and maybe even more so - in developing countries.
Syngenta , global producer of seeds and agrochemicals, will become an ' observer ' within the UN Convention to Combat Desertification ( UNCCD ). This was decided last week during the annual meeting in Windhoek , Namibia and caused indignation among civil society groups. Groups that were present started a joint diplomatic protest. Our Both ENDS-colleague Nathalie van Haren took a leading role in this protest and was the spokeswoman towards the media. She explains what it was all about.
For Both ENDS, the year 2015 marked an ending and a new beginning. It was the last year of the Communities of Change and the Ecosystem Alliance. The Fair, Green and Global Alliance also came to a close in its current form at the end of 2015. But the end of these programmes certainly does not mean the work will stop; what has been built up in the past five years will be continued within the new partnerships with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which have already started in 2016.
Both ENDS, the Brazilian ECOA and the Bolivian Probioma started working together over 15 years ago. This year, the environmental organisations from Latin America celebrate their 20th anniversary. The collaboration with the Netherlands has continued for such a long time because of a great mutual trust, and shared views and methods. Tamara Mohr and Nathalie van Haren, both employed at Both Ends, tell about a special relationship
Last week, Global Witness published 'Honduras: the deadliest place to defend the planet'. This shocking report clearly shows the worrying situation of human rights in Honduras and backs the demand of Both ENDS and partner COPINH: FMO must divest from the Agua Zarca dam.