A lot of talking is going on about what should be done after 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals will come to an end and new agreements must be made to stimulate global sustainable development. But that’s easier said than done. Nathalie van Haren from Both ENDS attended a so-called 'post-2015 conference’ in Bonn, Germany. Why was it held and what did Nathalie do there?
'Water for development' was the topic of the annual World Water Week (WWW), which was held last week in Stockholm for the 25th time. Thirza Bronner, Sanderijn van Beek and Cindy Coltman of Both ENDS were present, together with partners Serah Munguti of ‘Nature Kenya’ in Kenya, and Suu Lam from the ‘Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD)’ in Vietnam. In light of this year’s theme, Both ENDS decided to invite these two outspoken women leaders to this conference to bring strong civil society voices to the table. They took part in a roundtable session that was marked by enthusiastic participation of policy makers, donors and NGOs. During the session, Munguti and Lam told us about their organisational objectives, their experiences and how ‘water for development’ translates into their practice.
By Daniëlle Hirsch and Maria van der Heijden
The social debate on the Netherlands' role in the global economic crisis is now in full swing. At the centre of the debate is the question: how can we compensate for the setbacks affecting the Dutch economy without losing sight of efforts to make international trade and production chains more sustainable? We – Both ENDS and MVO Nederland (CSR Netherlands) – are particularly concerned about what we hear in these discussions about human rights, climate and the environment. That these are 'luxury problems' which we have no time to address at this time of crisis. And this, while the Corona crisis is showing us just how closely our current economy is irrevocably intertwined with the pollution of the planet and is making people all around the world more and more vulnerable. In short, we have to make our economy more resilient to such shocks. And that means committing ourselves to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goals of the Paris climate agreement. We therefore address ourselves first and foremost to the government.
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.
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.
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.