At the World Trade Organization (WTO) headquarters in Geneva, an important discussion is now being held. The discussion is about the question if strict rules will be imposed on the least developed countries for the protection of intellectual property. These regulations are meant to protect investments in the development of new products, but they also block the development of the poorest countries. Thus far, these countries were therefor excepted from regulations for developed (i.e. rich) countries, but this agreement ends July 1st this year. Both ENDS’ Burghard Ilge has been working to make sure the agreement will be prolonged. ‘I fear many people in these countries will no longer have access to medicine and study books.’
At the end of November EFLAC, the most important gathering of feminists from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, took place in a park just outside Montevideo, Uruguay. Within Both ENDS, I coordinate the GAGGA programme, in which we promote cooperation between the environmental and women's movements. Our partners Mama Cash and FCAM persuaded me that this meeting was the perfect opportunity to find out whether and, if so, in which way women are interested in the environment. They had prepared me for a very intensive meeting, at which the whole spectrum of emotions would be aroused and expressed. I had no idea what to expect and set off with a completely open mind. And so it came that I spent four days among more than 2,000 women from across the continent.
These days, government leaders of the Eurozone meet again to discuss the Greek debt crisis. It is all or nothing; Greece’s future hangs by a thread. Greece cannot possibly meet its payment obligations, so the only way to help the country back on its feet is debt cancellation. Such is the view of a large number of organisations in Europe, including Both ENDS. Wiert Wiertsema of Both ENDS explains why.
During the COP21 in Paris, Both ENDS will be cooperating and presenting with partners on a number of events. If you plan on going, please consider visiting one or more of these sessions:
"How many layers of clothing are you wearing? One? No, that's not enough. You should wear your ski pants over your jeans, and change your shoes for snowboots." And there you are, on day 1 of your trip to Mongolia. I had already heard that Mongolia is very cold at the end of November, and with -22 degrees that seemed to be all true.
On 22 May European citizens will head to the polls to vote for the European Parliament. The outcome will have a major impact on the policies emanating from Brussels. These elections are not just about the choice for or against Europe, but about what kind of Europe we want. Trade and investment policy is an important part of the European project. Up till now however, this policy has not served people and planet. Curious which politicians will commit themselves to a fair and sustainable European trade and investment policy? Take a look at the list of candidates for the European Parliament who have signed the pledge of the Alternative Trade Mandate alliance.
Gilbert Adum, co-founder of Save the Frogs Ghana, won one of this year's Whitley Awards and will receive a grant of £ 35.000 to continue his efforts for the conservation of frogs in Ghana. In 2012, Gilbert already received a young leaders grant from the Joke Waller Hunter Initiative (JWHI), which is managed by Both ENDS.
As negotiations were held by European policymakers today about a possible capital increase of the European Investment Bank (EIB), a press release was issued by Counter Balance: a coalition of Both ENDS and European NGO's that monitor the EIB. As long as it's not clearly evident where the loaned money goes and no conditions are set for advancing the support of sustainable projects, the EIB is not ready for such an expansion according to the involved organisations.
With an overwhelming majority - 643 votes in favour, 20 against and 9 abstentions - a new law, which forces European export credit agencies (ECAs) to be more transparent about the environmental and social effects of transactions supported by ECAs, has just been approved of in the European Parliament. As of next year, all ECAs will have to deliver a report about this to the European Commission and the European Parliament on a yearly basis.
Both ENDS is a member of the ECA-Watch network, which monitors ECAs and stimulates more transparent, sustainable and socially just ECA-supported transactions. Clearly we are very pleased with the current developments and we hope that this will be a first step towards greener and fairer investment policies in the EU.