Large-scale plans made by governments or companies can often have profound effects on small communities and their environment. Countless people have to move if a dam is built, forests are cleared for new highways, airports or palm oil plantations. Promised compensation is often incomplete or not given at all. For local communities, objecting to such plans is not easy. Nevertheless a community in Uganda has managed to receive fair compensation from the government. Together with the organisations NAPE and AFIEGO, partners of Both ENDS and IUCN NL, the community has persuaded the government to buy new land for those who are forced to move.
In September 2019, the streets of Jakarta were filled with angry demonstrators protesting against the Omnibus Employment Law. The law will ease the rules for mining, make it much more difficult to hold companies liable for criminal acts and severely restrict the power of the national anti-corruption committee. At the moment, such protests are completely impossible in Indonesia because of the COVID-19 crisis and the associated lockdown measures. And Indonesian people already had few other means of exerting influence on decision-making and legislative processes.
I’m very happy about the judgement of the Indonesian Constitutional Court, which has ruled on May 16 that woodlands of native communities may no longer be indicated as state forests. This means that the Forest Act, which says all woodlands are owned by the state, has to be adjusted. Because of this law, it was easy for large companies to get permission to start large-scale palm oil and acacia plantations on woodlands that often have been managed by local communities for decades.
On 23 July 2020 a global network of NGOs working to strengthen corporate accountability for environmental destruction and human rights abuses, including Both ENDS, published an open letter to European Commission DG Justice Commissioner Reynders. The letter is a response to his recent commitment to propose legislation in 2021 on both corporate due diligence and directors’ duties as part of an initiative on sustainable corporate governance.
Sustainable trade and production initiatives are interesting steps on the way to sustainability. In the past years, Both ENDS has been involved in several sustainability initiatives, such as Fair Flowers and Fair Plants, Forest Garden Tea and the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Likewise, through our network of locally-based partner organizations, we monitor the consequences of global trade in general and the development of sustainability initiatives in particular. Both ENDS and partner organizations have in-depth knowledge about the diversity of challenges that sustainability initiatives face
Today the Netherlands is celebrating freedom. Our freedom goes further than living in peace. We have the freedom to discuss policy to our hearts’ content on, for example, ending the lockdown on television, in the press and on social media. We can do that freely because we know that our rights to freedom of expression are well protected. But how different that is in countries where authoritarian leaders are grasping the crisis as an excuse to throw these rights out with the trash and rule with an iron hand.
On September 20 and 27 the global climate strike takes place. Both ENDS joins the Dutch Climate Strike on September 27 in The Hague. This is why.
Pension funds have a lot of influence because of their enormous assets. Both ENDS therefore wants pension funds such as the Dutch ABP to withdraw their investments from the fossil industry and to invest sustainably instead.