Thirza and Remi are currently working on the first steps towards a more sustainable future in Uganda after the discovery of oil in 2006. The oil was found on different locations close to Lake Albert. About 6 to 8 million people, mostly fishers and farmers, are dependent on this region to survive and the biodiversity in this region is very rich. For example, 7 of the 10 most important bird species in Uganda brood in this area.
I’m very happy about the judgement of the Indonesian Constitutional Court, which has ruled on May 16 that woodlands of native communities may no longer be indicated as state forests. This means that the Forest Act, which says all woodlands are owned by the state, has to be adjusted. Because of this law, it was easy for large companies to get permission to start large-scale palm oil and acacia plantations on woodlands that often have been managed by local communities for decades.
The planned initial public offering (IPO) of Malayan state-owned enterprise Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) will take place this month (28th June). It will be underwritten by Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley; with an expected valuation of around 2.5 billion Euro this will be the second biggest IPO ever, trailing Facebook. A significant detail is that FGVH is controlled by the governing part UMNO, led by Prime Minister Mohd Najib Abdul Razak. The upcoming privatisation might be prompted by a need to generate capital for the upcoming elections.
On Friday, the long awaited policy note by Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag was published. The note was the outcome of a process of consultation, scientific analysis and much discussion within and outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We searched for the spirit underlying it: What trends does this minister consolidate and deepen? What is new? Are those new aspects a superficial change of discourse or a genuine break with the past? On what issues is the paper silent and what do those silences tell us?
After months of lobbying of a group of NGOs, including Both ENDS, the United States Congress has opposed weakening of the investment criteria, the so-called ‘safeguards’ of the World Bank. The Congress sent a letter to the US Treasury, stating that the Banks’ social and environmental criteria for investments should not be weakened and the Treasury should oppose this. This is a great success for civil society organisations from around the world - including Both ENDS – which have been working for years to maintain and even improve the current investment criteria of the World Bank.
Whenever deforestation is mentioned, most people will automatically think of the Amazon rainforest. In Argentina, however, the disappearance of its forests has also become a pressing problem. In the province of Salta, for example, the deforestation level is the highest. Between 1998 and 2006, the amount of lost hectares of forests has doubled there. The culprit to this problem is the country’s agricultural activities.