By Daniëlle Hirsch and Maria van der Heijden
The social debate on the Netherlands' role in the global economic crisis is now in full swing. At the centre of the debate is the question: how can we compensate for the setbacks affecting the Dutch economy without losing sight of efforts to make international trade and production chains more sustainable? We – Both ENDS and MVO Nederland (CSR Netherlands) – are particularly concerned about what we hear in these discussions about human rights, climate and the environment. That these are 'luxury problems' which we have no time to address at this time of crisis. And this, while the Corona crisis is showing us just how closely our current economy is irrevocably intertwined with the pollution of the planet and is making people all around the world more and more vulnerable. In short, we have to make our economy more resilient to such shocks. And that means committing ourselves to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goals of the Paris climate agreement. We therefore address ourselves first and foremost to the government.
Sophia lives in a small village in Puncak, along the river Ciliwung, around 500 km upstream from Jakarta where it flows into the ocean. The river is her life: she drinks from it, cleans in it, cooks with it and uses it to water the crops on her small plot. But many others want to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and the cool climate as well. The forests and land surrounding Sophia’s village are being cleared for villa’s, restaurants, tea plantations and new settlements. The increased amount of waste and a lack of sanitation have polluted the river. For Sophia it’s getting harder and harder to find any clean water nowadays. People in the villages further down the stream are complaining about the plastic waste that ends up on their riverbanks, the reduced
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.