'At the moment we produce six kilos of gold per year, we cannot meet the demand,' María Luisa Villa of AMICHOCÓ from Colombia says. In the last couple of years, AMICHOCÓ has worked hard to organise small-scale sustainable gold miners and to make certification possible. Under the brand name 'Oro Verde' the Fairtrade Fairmined gold is now available on the market. 'We are ready to expand production, but the preservation of biodiversity and the protection of the rights of ethnic groups remains our priority,' Villa stresses.
Despite the fact that Laos recently let its neighboring countries know that the construction of the Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River would officially be put on hold, illegal construction activities appear to be taking place. In April this year, due to massive national and international protests, the Government of Laos felt obliged to suspend construction until the social and environmental impacts of the dam would be clearly examined. Around the spot where the dam was to be constructed however, people are being driven away from their land, a road has been built for the supply of building materials and forest is chopped down.
South Korean company POSCO uses violence against the local population and violates human rights in a controversial mining project in India. Dutch pension fund ABP has shares in POSCO and should therefore put pressure on the company to act according to the rules. This is argued by Fair, Green & Global, an alliance of Dutch civil society organizations. The alliance has therefore submitted a complaint about POSCO violating the OECD Guidelines (on corporate social responsibility) for multinational companies.
On Friday, the long awaited policy note by Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag was published. The note was the outcome of a process of consultation, scientific analysis and much discussion within and outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We searched for the spirit underlying it: What trends does this minister consolidate and deepen? What is new? Are those new aspects a superficial change of discourse or a genuine break with the past? On what issues is the paper silent and what do those silences tell us?
An order, issued by a Brazilian court against the construction of the Belo Monte dam, has been overruled by a higher court. The dam will have disastrous effects on the environment and the population in the area. Moreover, it is questionable whether the supposed benefits will outweigh the high costs and the damage done.
Last week, the first tickets for the World Cup in Brazil went on sale. A total number of around 3.3 million tickets will be available, costing between $90 and $990 each. But who will benefit? Recent demonstrations in Brazil have revealed that the World Cup in 2014 is not all good news, as the majority of the Brazilians seemed to have believed for a long time. Our colleagues from CASA, a Brazilian small grants organisation focusing on environmental issues and sustainable development, are looking for practical ways to turn the tide and make a positive contribution.