Pieter Jansen, programme officer at Both ENDS, interviewed Sukanta Sen from the Bangladesh Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK). BARCIK is an NGO that works in the field of environment, biodiversity conservation and development. They have been promoting the significance of local and indigenous knowledge in development initiatives as well as the empowerment process of local and indigenous communities.
Each year Both ENDS organises Political Cafés and expert meetings on development issues. Our work with Southern Civil Society Organisations often makes us aware of the negative effects of the policies of Multi Financial Institutions (MFIs), such as the World Bank and the IMF. The Political Cafés and expert meetings often focus on making these institutions more transparent. Working with our Southern partners we recently addressed the issue of the human right to water and sanitation, by holding a Political Café on this issue at the World Bank's headquarters in Washington DC.
Last Wednesday, just before the summer recess, the Tweede Kamer (the Dutch Lower House) discussed Minister Koenders's policy memorandum: "Samen werken aan mondiale uitdagingen, Nederland en multilaterale ontwikkelingssamenwerking" (Working together on global challenges; the Netherlands and multilateral development cooperation). With 'multilateral' Koenders refers to the UN, Multilateral Financial Institutions (MFIs) such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and a number of global funds.
After 15 years of massive campaign by many organisations from Nepal and abroad, led by Nepalese NGO WAFED, the plans for the construction of the West Seti Dam in Nepal have been shelved. In 2010 the campaign had already forced the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to pull out from this project for its failure to comply with its own policy on information disclosure, public participation, environment, and the rights of indigenous people living in the affected area. The decision of the government of Nepal not to grant permission for construction to Australian construction company Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) is yet another success.
Today, 122 civil society groups are releasing letters to eleven government signatories to the Glasgow Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition, laying out the actions they must take as soon as possible to meet their commitment. In this joint statement at COP26, 35 countries and 5 public finance institutions committed to end their international public finance for 'unabated' fossil fuels by the end of 2022, and instead prioritise their "support fully towards the clean energy transition."
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.
Today, almost 90 organisations and networks from around the world, including Both ENDS, sent a letter to the European Commission to urge the EU to stop including UPOV91 in Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). The main objective of UPOV91 is to further erode traditional seeds rights and to regulate local seed markets in the interest of internationally operating seed companies.
This matter is urgent because currently, the EU and Indonesia are negotiating an FTA. Including UPOV91 in this FTA means that Indonesia will have to change its policies, which will take away the farmers' rights to:
- breed, save and exchange all seeds and other planting material
- participate in decisions concerning seed improvement/ breeding, selection, quality standards, pricing, production, distribution and diversity
- customary practice especially in regard to indigenous seed
- be protected from being sold fake and inappropriate seed
- have a true choice between the use of certified and seed from fellow farmer managed seed systems.