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?
The Netherlands provides export credit insurances and guarantees worth 1.5 billion euros annually to Dutch companies active in the oil and gas sector abroad. This support amounts to one and a half times the annual amount that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Rutte mobilises for climate initiatives worldwide. The intended effects of Dutch international climate policy are more than offset by this fossil export support. That is the conclusion of a new report from Both ENDS which is published today.
This week the European Investment Bank (EIB), or ‘Europe’s house bank’, presented a concept policy note which outlines future policies on loans in the energy sector provided by the bank. Network organisations CEE Bankwatch and Counter Balance, both of which Both ENDS is a member, monitor policies and investments of the EIB. They find the new proposal very disappointing and have therefore sent a press release. Huub Scheele from Both ENDS, who has been working with our colleagues from CEE Bankwatch and Counter Balance for years, explains why.
Both ENDS letter to the World Bank on the Environmental and Social Safeguards policies review. The World Bank safeguards review is part of a reorganization that aims at making lending cost-effective with less rules in place, which likely entails an increase in the number of problem projects. The reorganization aims at making lending
more cost-effective, forms in place. Safeguards policies are of crucial importance for project affected people to hold banks to account. However, Environmental and Social Frameworks (ESF) nowadays replace safeguards at banks. The ESF model leads to a reduction of a Bank's direct and mandatory role in overview, including due diligence, monitoring, and evaluation, of Bank funded activities and investments, along with a shift towards a greater reliance on client self-assessment and self-reporting. Our main ask is a return to binding, rules-based safeguards policies at banks.
As negotiations were held by European policymakers today about a possible capital increase of the European Investment Bank (EIB), a press release was issued by Counter Balance: a coalition of Both ENDS and European NGO's that monitor the EIB. As long as it's not clearly evident where the loaned money goes and no conditions are set for advancing the support of sustainable projects, the EIB is not ready for such an expansion according to the involved organisations.
The European Union's (EU) foreign trade policy has many implications for the sustainability of food systems in developing countries, heavily impacting farmers, breeders, and citizens. The unhidden promotion by the EU of strong intellectual property rights on plants affects food systems from its very basis, i.e., the seeds that are available for farmers to grow. Amongst these intellectual property rights, the main instrument that is advocated by European authorities is the 1991 Act of the UPOV Convention, which provides exclusive rights to breeders over the propagating material of new plant varieties, while diminishing the rights of others to use the material for further breeding and hampering with the rights of farmers to freely save, use, exchange and sell their seeds.