The climate debate in the Netherlands is bogged down in what we can change at home and does not touch on our actions abroad. And that is a missed opportunity. Precisely because our international trade model is both so influential and, at the same time, such a widespread cause of pollution, changes in that policy can have an immediate effect.
Last week Both ENDS’ Wiert Wiertsema attended the launch of Forum SUAPE in Brazil. During this second fact finding mission Wiert talked to Forum SUAPE and local residents about the social and ecological effects of the dredging activities in Suape carried out by a Dutch company.
On Monday 11 November the Dutch Parliament debated on the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF), which was initially launched in 2012 under Minister Ploumen for Foreign Trade and Development. The fund aims to promote ‘development relevant trade’: imports and exports which are beneficial not only for the Netherlands, but also for the population in (poor) countries they invest in. However, the question is whether in practice it will work this way. According to Anouk Franck of Both ENDS, the DGGF focuses too much on trade, and economic factors. This is reflected in critical report which was recently published by ActionAid, SOMO and Both ENDS.
The successes of Both ENDS’ work are usually the result of prolonged efforts. The same goes for our endeavours in Suape, Brazil. This week, Wiert Wiertsema and a representative from partner-organisation SOMO took off to Brazil to support another milestone. Around thirty parties from different states in the country, including environmental organisations, lawyers and of course, representatives of the Forum Suape as well, gathered in the port. This shows that the social movement that has risen as a reaction to the disastrous expansion of the port and industrialisation is also slowly taking shape elsewhere in Brazil. The saga of Suape seems to have become a stone cast in the pond of Brazilian environmental politics.