We have good news from our partner organisation Gram Swaraj in India! In light of the Ecosystem Alliance India Programme, Both ENDS and the Non-Timber Forest Products Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP) have nominated Gram Swaraj for the ‘Paul K. Feyerabend Award – A World of Solidarity is Possible’. This organization is committed to fighting for the rights of tribal communities in rural India. Due to increased mining and other industrial activities in India, the culture, living environment and overall existence of such communities are being threatened.
The Cauvery, a large river that runs through west and southeastern India, is home to a varied and vibrant wildlife and communities. The video documentary team of Dusty Foot Productions had initially been working on a research project on wildlife – mainly otters – of the Cauvery. While documenting the vibrant and diverse ecosystem around the river, the Dusty Foot team however realised that it could not ignore the problems that were present in the area: illegal gill netting, sand mining and the construction of mini hydels (hydroelectric power plants).The story about the Cauvery’s wildlife could therefore not be told without also focusing on the negative effects of industrial projects on the environment.
Biju Mathew, an American professor from India who is also active for the 'Mining Zone Peoples Solidarity Group (MZPSG), visited Both ENDS' office in Amsterdam on January 19th. He was returning from a 'fact-finding mission' in the province of Orissa in India, where Korean steel company POSCO has plans for building a steel plant, several iron ore mines, roads, a railroad and a private harbor.
The U.S. is not always in the front line when it comes to the protection of human rights and the environment in developing countries, but there are exceptions. The Netherlands has recently joined the ‘climate initiative’ of President Obama, which aims at ending the public funding of coal plants. But the U.S. is going even further than that: under the ‘Appropriations Bill’, U.S. directors at international financial institutions have to vote against projects that support large dams and industrial logging or mining projects in tropical forests. We are calling on Dutch Minister Ploumen to follow the U.S. example!
South Korean company POSCO uses violence against the local population and violates human rights in a controversial mining project in India. Dutch pension fund ABP has shares in POSCO and should therefore put pressure on the company to act according to the rules. This is argued by Fair, Green & Global, an alliance of Dutch civil society organizations. The alliance has therefore submitted a complaint about POSCO violating the OECD Guidelines (on corporate social responsibility) for multinational companies.
The Netherlands follow the United Kingdom and became the second country where 'good gold' is being sold. On May 7th the official launch of 'Fairtrade-Fairmined gold' took place in Amsterdam. Highlight was the handover of the first golden bracelet with this certificate to Katja Römer-Schuurman by a Peruvian miner. The bracelet is symbolic for good gold and will be worn with pride by Römer-Schuurman. "The circle is now complete", says Lina Villa, director of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), who was involved in the project since the beginning.
On March 25th Both ENDS from 18 - 20h Both ENDS organises a Political Café in het Nutshuis in The Hague. With interesting guests we will debate on Dutch energy and the effects of coal mining in developing countries. It is widely known that coal energy is bad for the environment. What many people don't realise is that Dutch used coal comes mainly from South Africa, Colombia and Indonesia, where mining causes great damage to people and the environment. That is why Both ENDS would like to debate this issue, you are more than welcome to join us!