In 2015, the member states of the United Nations committed themselves to the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unlike their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs recognise the importance of equality within and between countries, of decision-making processes in which all people are included and heard, and of legal systems that are independent and accessible to all.
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.
From the first moment I arrive in Surabaya, I enter the rollercoaster called ECOTON. I'm visiting them to get to know the work of this long-time Both ENDS partner, and have only three days for this. But ECOTON does a lot, and all of it at the same time. Tirelessly, they work on the protection of the Brantas River.
Both ENDS has developed a method to integrate gender issues into managing natural resources like land and water. Partner organisations AMICHOCÓ in Colombia, ANCE in Togo and BARCIK in Bangladesh have been using this method in their areas since 2010. Although women in these and many other areas are doing the same work as men, equal control of the production and management of resources doesn't yet exist. The approach Both ENDS uses is aimed towards expanding awareness of gender relations and the importance of equality by defining the problem and applying practical exercises.
"My idea of 'good' is that people can make decisions about their own development; that they are able to decide what happens to their environment. That we all respect the boundaries of our ecosystems and that women, just like men, are able to develop in the way that they want". Daniëlle Hirsch is responding to a question from the audience where she just gave a lecture on her views for a future sustainable economy.
More than 150 civil society organisations, networks and interest groups from around the world have signed an urgent letter to WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo, in which they call for the WTO to postpone the negotiations until all members are able to participate in them fully - physically instead of online.
This week the brand new South-African website ‘EMG’s Untold Stories’ was launched. On the website, author Leonie Joubert gives a voice to different people who work to improve their environment, together with the South African organization ‘Environmental Monitoring Group’ (EMG). Each of the four stories collected by Joubert focuses on a different aspect of the work EMG does to ensure that South African natural resources are managed in a sustainable and equitable way. The online book has been published as part of the Both ENDS’s project ‘An Untold Story’, which gives human rights and environmental organisations from four different corners of the world a chance to tell their story about the impact the global economy has on their local environment.