For the very first time, the expert panel of the independent complaints mechanism of the Dutch development bank FMO will handle a complaint. It was filed on May 5 by residents of the area where the Barro Blanco dam is currently being built. These people form part of the indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé tribe. They feel that FMO has not adhered to its own social and environmental standards when they lent 25 million US dollars to build the dam. Anouk Franck of Both ENDS has been keeping a close eye on the situation.
While in The Netherlands November 10 was cold and grey, a heated discussion took place in Suape, Brazil. On this day, local residents of the area – which has been claimed by the port of Suape – gathered for a meeting with the chairman of the Bar Association (BA) of Pernambuco, Mr. Pedro Henrique Alves Reynaldo. Though it is likely that the Bar Association will file a complaint against the port authority of Suape, a clear picture of the situation will first have to be constructed. For this reason as many people as possible were invited to share their stories.
Last week Both ENDS’ deputy director, Paul Wolvekamp, was elected board member of the RSPO, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil. Until November, when new elections will take place. “I hope that after the next elections my place will be taken by a social NGO from the South, because that group is not represented well enough in the RSPO.” Therefore Paul, within the RSPO, aims for a stronger voice of NGO’s, plantation workers and small-scale palm oil producers in the South.
Last week the Hunger 4 Action Conference’ , the Second Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change took place in Hanoi. More than one hundred Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including Both ENDS, signed a letter in which they express their concern about the conference. Crucial topics would hardly be addressed, and the voice of small farmers, cattle-breeders and fishermen would not be heard while they are responsible for about 70 percent of global food production. The letter, which also contains suggestions about how it should be, was sent to the outgoing minister Maxime Verhagen, one of the organizers of the conference.