An increasing number of stakeholders in the Dutch water sector are acknowledging the importance of an inclusive approach to climate adaptation. However, where our knowledge institutes and companies are involved in delta plans and master plans, as in Bangladesh and the Philippines, this approach is proving difficult to apply in practice. Taking local realities, vulnerabilities and inequalities – such as those between men and women – as a starting point is essential for good plans that give everyone the opportunity to adapt to climate change.
Worldwide, hundreds of millions of people live in areas where the soil is depleted; often they are forced to, or the region they have been living in for generations has become increasingly arid over time. The desert is advancing and this is a global problem. Opinions about the causes of land degradation and desertification, but especially about the solutions, are very divided. To discuss this, the biennial global conference on desertification will take place from 2 to 14 September. This is where policymakers, scientists, NGOs, female and male farmers and pastoralist, herders and companies from all over the world come together. Our colleague Nathalie van Haren is present at the conference and explains why.
After five years of equivocation the European Commission has proposed a ‘roadmap’ for stepping-up EU action to address its contribution to global deforestation. Despite the escalating impact of EU trade in forest-risk commodities, regardless of repeated calls from the European Parliament for regulatory measures and contrary to the conclusions of the Commission’s own feasibility study in support of legislative intervention, the Commission has ruled-out out any new initiatives, let alone any legislative measures. The Commission’s solution to this complex problem: policy coherence.
If the Netherlands wants to make its agriculture and livestock industry sustainable and to ensure that farmers get a fair price for their products, it will also have to look beyond its own borders. The Netherlands is the world's second largest exporter of agricultural products. We have a great impact because, through our trade relations, we uphold a system of intensive agriculture that destroys ecosystems and undermines local production. Partly due to our trade in agricultural products, the Dutch economy is has a large, and growing, footprint. That should and can be different: the Netherlands is in a good position to lead the required transition in agriculture. Fortunately, the party manifestos for the coming elections offer sufficient opportunities to set that in motion. A new coalition can thus take decisive new steps.
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.
Song Trangh 2 Dam in Quang Nam (Vietnam) is leaking. This poses a serious danger to local communities and their livelihood. There is little room for any public debate about the problems, despite the local populations' deep concerns. To try and find a solution, Both ENDS' partner organisation Vietnam Rivers Network (VRN) organised a workshop in cooperation with authorities and experts.
In November 2011 Both ENDS organized a Negotiated Approach workshop in Entebbe, Uganda. Participants from Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya were introduced to the negotiation method which guarantees that the local population will keep their access to natural resources such as water and land. When disputes over the use of rivers, lakes or land occurs the Negotiated Approach unites policy makers, researchers, companies and local NGO's. Together they will work towards sustainable solutions for the use of natural resources.
Almost a billion people worldwide have to survive without clean drinking water and millions of people don't have proper sanitary provisions. This causes a lot of health risks. Managing water is a source of conflict in many areas and ill water management is one the biggest problems in providing clean water. From 12 until 17 March, Both ENDS will be attending the sixth World Water Forum (WWF) in Marseille which is held every three years since 1997. The theme this year is 'Time for Solutions'. At the WWF, deputies from local communities, together with NGO's, policy makers and companies will be searching for solutions for worldwide water issues.