Infrastructure has become a buzzword of the current development debate. But will the recent infrastructure strategies of the World Bank and the G20, which favour large centralized projects, address the needs of the poor? This is the central question in International Rivers' report "Infrastructure for whom?". Strategic infrastructure projects such as large dams and transport corridors promoted by the World Bank and G20 are funded with public money. In order to make these projects attractive to private investors, they are supported by public guarantee schemes. One of the examples mentioned in the report is the Grand Inga Dam in the Congo River (DRC) which - if ever realised - would be the largest dam in the world.
Today, it is exactly one year ago that Berta Cáceres was brutally murdered in her home in Honduras. Cáceres was a globally known human rights defender and coordinator of the indigenous Lenca organisation COPINH. The murder of Berta is closely related to her protest against the Agua Zarca dam, a hydroelectric project financed partially by the Dutch development bank FMO.
For a moment it appeared that the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to stop investments in coal fired power plants. The bank even seemed to have issued a press release on the matter. But, unfortunately, the message was not real. During the annual press conference of the bank the activists, who were the source of the fake press release, stroke again. In the name of ‘the citizens of Europe’, EIB president Werner Hoyer was awarded with the ‘World Coal Down Award’. Hoyer, who was confused for a second, did not accept the award. The EIB fiercely denied the rumors surrounding the investment stop on coal with the term 'pure nonsense'.
‘The polluter pays’ is a good principle, but what about the institutions that financially support polluting companies and projects? Shouldn’t banks, that are often major investors in unsustainable activities, take their responsibility and pay as well? In the end, these banks also cash in. Pieter Jansen of Both ENDS contributed to research about the ‘Green Credit Policy’ of Chines banks, executed by the Chinese NGO ‘Green Watershed’. Pieter Jansen of Both ENDS and Chen Yu of Green Watershed have launched the report 'Green Credit Footprints of Chinese Banks'.
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.
Global public support for coal is decreasing. Obama has pledged to stop American support for public financing of new coal plants outside the U.S., the World Bank has announced to phase out support for coal projects and some large private banks are withdrawing from fossil fuels. But what about export credit agencies (ECAs)? Until now, ECAs have not withdrawn from coal projects. On the contrary: while other investors gradually cease their support to coal projects, export credit agencies are investing in coal more than ever. On June 11, an alliance of 50 NGOs, including Both ENDS, published a recommendation to the OECD calling for an end to export credit support for coal.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) plans to give multinational Monsanto 40 million dollars to sell seeds and pesticides in Eastern Europe. Farmers and environmental groups from all around the world are shocked, since Monsanto is known for promoting genetically modified crops and pesticides. Today Both ENDS and partners from Eastern Europe requested the EBRD to stop this project.