The Netherlands is facing an important choice this week. On one side, there are political parties that want to shut the country off from the outside world and let climate change advance unchecked. On the other side, there are parties calling on the Netherlands to once again take the lead in areas like climate change, fair taxes and sustainable trade. Both ENDS believes that such leadership is crucial now more than ever.
Last week the Hunger 4 Action Conference’ , the Second Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change took place in Hanoi. More than one hundred Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), including Both ENDS, signed a letter in which they express their concern about the conference. Crucial topics would hardly be addressed, and the voice of small farmers, cattle-breeders and fishermen would not be heard while they are responsible for about 70 percent of global food production. The letter, which also contains suggestions about how it should be, was sent to the outgoing minister Maxime Verhagen, one of the organizers of the conference.
A large part of earth's surface is covered by dry areas: some 40%, in fact, and over two thirds of Africa. Most of the poorest people on earth, some 70% of the undernourished - over 600 million people - live in these areas. Funding and initiatives to fight desertification and other forms of land degradation and to improve food productivity are of vital importance. However, there seems to be no urgency to do so within the international development cooperation world.
Between January 12th and 20th, Both ENDS colleague Marie José van der Werff ten Bosch accompanied Chris Reij (CIS, VU University Amsterdam) to the south of Niger, to see with her own eyes what Chris has been advocating for many years now: farmers have turned this dry part of the Sahel green.