Last Thursday June 13, Rahmawati Retno Winarni of TUK, an Indonesian partner organisation of Both ENDS, presented a symbolic tree and an appeal to the Dutch Minister of Agriculture Carola Schouten, also on behalf of 10 NGOs. The joint NGOs are pushing the EU, including the Dutch government, for strict EU legislation to prevent the destruction of forests and ecosystems and to protect human rights.
On Wednesday, November 14, Dutch Newspaper De Volkskrant published a joint op-ed by Both ENDS, Hivos, Greenpeace Netherlands and Witness about the deforestation in the Amazon region which is still going on rapidly, having disastrous consequences for the indigenous people who live in the area, for biodiversity and for the climate. The Netherlands is one of the largest buyers of Brazilian agricultural products such as soy and beef, and should ensure that deforestation, land grabbing and human rights violations do not occur in these production chains. Unfortunately, this is not at all the case yet.
We are very proud that our director Daniëlle Hirsch has been included again in the ‘Sustainable 100’ (an annual ranking list published by Dutch newspaper Trouw), and has gone up more than 40 spots compared to last year! Danielle was included in the list because of the many things she does with her organisation as a whole, but she got the higher ranking for the way she combines her criticism of the destructive role of the Netherlands as a trading nation and large cause of CO2 emissions in the world (often supported by the Dutch government), with a constructive attitude when it comes to finding alternatives and solutions.
The Dutch government, through its export credit agency Atradius DSB (ADSB), provides export support to companies that undertake activities abroad. The state wants projects it insures to have no negative consequences for people and the environment and therefore sets requirements for corporate social responsibility (CSR). A consultation on CSR policy ran until the end of April, to which a coalition of thirteen social organisations from the Netherlands and abroad, including Both ENDS and Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth the Netherlands), responded.
89 NGOs and farmers' organisations from Indonesia, the EU and around the world sent open letters to the EU Commission and the Indonesian government today, calling on them to refrain from any clause that restrict farmers' rights in a future free trade agreement.
In October 2022, the Dutch government published a policy to implement the COP26 statement in which it promised to stop public finance for fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022 . The proposed policy, unfortunately, has quite some 'loopholes' that make it possible for the Dutch government to keep supporting large fossil projects abroad for at least another year. These projects often run for years and will have a negative impact on the countries where they take place for decades to come.
Both ENDS together with 13 other Dutch NGOs and trade unions have written to the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation to express their deep concerns over the hasty approval of the so-called Omnibus Law on Job Creation by the Indonesian parliament.
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.
The second United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) was held from 2 to 14 September in New Delhi, India. Our colleague Nathalie has been working together with many civil society organisations for several years to show the UNCCD that large numbers of local communities around the world are working on sustainable land use and on combating desertification and land degradation, and that land-use security is essential.