While last Thursday afternoon half the Dutch population sat outside on a terrace to enjoy the last tropical heat of 2016, more than seventy people gathered in a room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Why? To attend a workshop on 'Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), an international guideline which stipulates that indigenous peoples should be involved in and give permission for developments taking place in and around the area where they live.
The Mekong River - one of the most important rivers in Asia - is under great threat. Laos, Thailand and Cambodia want to build eleven large hydropower dams on the river’s mainstream. These dams would disrupt the river and jeopardise the lives of millions of people who depend on it for their livelihood. On June 26, Ministers of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam will gather on a meeting of the Mekong River Commission Council (MRC) in Bangkok. The MRC is responsible for the management of the river basin.This is why the ‘Save the Mekong coalition’ – a coalition of NGO’s - has issued a statement, calling upon the Prime Ministers to work together to address the economic and ecological threats these dams will pose.
On Saturday, 25 April the Evert Vermeer Foundation will be organising its annual Africa Day. This will be the day for putting Africa and development cooperation in the spotlight. Exciting debates, interesting classes, dozens of workshops and a fantastic cultural programme will form the most important components of the EVS Africa Day.
We are deeply shocked and saddened by the death of Berta Cáceres, who was murdered in her own home last week. Berta was the driving force behind the ‘Consejo Civico de Organizaciones Populares e Indigenas de Honduras’ (COPINH), a network of Honduran civil society organisations standing up for the rights of indigenous communities in the country. This attack once again proves that these rights are virtually non-existent in Honduras. We share the fear of many in and outside the region that this assassination will further worsen the situation of local communities.
On Tuesday 24th of May the locks of the Barro Blanco dam in the Tabasará river in Panama, which is partly financed by the Dutch development bank FMO, were closed. This is in complete discord with the previous agreements between the Panamanian government and the leadership of the indigenous communities. Last august these parties had agreed that the reservoir of the dam would not be filled until a new agreement had been reached which includes all affected parties. According to the Panamanian government and the company Genisa the present filling of the dam is only a test. But this ‘test’ means that the water will rise 26 meters above the predicted future level of water.
Guest blog by Debora Calheiros, Brazil