Minister Liesje Schreinemacher for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation recently made her first working visit, to Kenya and Uganda. With this visit, the minister made a flying start in honouring the pledge in the new government's coalition agreement to formulate a 'targeted Dutch Africa strategy'. Such a strategy is desperately needed as, too often, our foreign trade is conducted at the expense of people and the environment, including in countries in Africa. The new strategy presents a perfect opportunity to ensure that the 'trade and aid' agendas are closely aligned.
Last week the 11th Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil was held in Medan , Indonesia. One of the issues central to the discussions was the increasing conflict over land use, especially in Indonesia, but increasingly elsewhere in Asia, Africa and Latin America . The cause: the poorly controlled production of palm oil, a raw material for a wide range of products such as food and cosmetics, and as biofuel as an alternative to fossil fuels.
The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) in Geneva has announced that the Brazilian government should take measures to guarantee the security of members of the Forum Suape Social Environmental Space, and of national activists in general, against intimidation from third parties. The ISHR has issued a statement about this after Forum Suape member and attorney Dr. Conceição Lacerda (photo) reported she had been harassed by security guard members of the Industrial and Harbor Complex of Suape (CIPS).
Both ENDS' deputy director Paul Wolvekamp attended the 10th Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change which was hosted by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and Oxfam Novib and took place in The Hague on the 7th of september.
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.
We are deeply shocked about the murder on Dexter Condez, the 26-year-old leader of the Ati tribe, an indigenous group in the Philippines. He was shot dead Friday night February 22nd on the tourist island of Boracay. While no suspects have been arrested, the police thinks the motive could involve a dispute between de Ati tribe and developers over a piece of land. Our sympathy goes to the family, friends and the people he worked with.
In April 2021, the Dutch development bank FMO announced that it is no longer involved in the Barro Blanco project, a controversial dam in Panama. GENISA, the Panamanian company that built the dam, unexpectedly paid off the multi-million dollar loan early. The question is to what extent, now that the bank is no longer actively financing the project, FMO can still be held responsible for the damage and suffering that was caused when this was still the case.