Driving the Ugandan roads two months ago, Allan (who wortks with Ugandan organisation NAPE) came up with a wonderful idea to promote tourism to Uganda and add a special exiting and adventurous feature to it. “What”, he told me, “if we would hire an amphibious car and do the Pothole Experience. We load the car with tourists and drive at selected Ugandan roads along the potholes in the road and disappear in the biggest ones at one side and come up at the other side. As an encore we could ultimately experience a water filled pothole, dive into it with the car and see if we manage to come out the water at the other side. If not, we at least had a wonderful time in the previous potholes!”
A year ago, the Senegalese NGO Takkom Jerry filed a complaint with the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Dutch Development Bank FMO, with support from Both ENDS. These banks finance the Sendou coal power station, right next to the fishing village of Bargny. The AfDB has now recognized the complaint. FMO is already processing the complaint and will publish an official response shortly.
It has been planned for several years, but had so far been postponed: the Korean steel company POSCO wants to build and operate on a large scale in Orissa, an Indian state. Local people, environmental organizations and experts strongly resisted the plan, with all the consequences that entailed. Local police and militias cracked down the protests and recently there were four deaths. Wiert Wiertsema points out the responsibility of ABP, the Dutch pension fund that invested in POSCO. Wiertsema and ABP talked recently about the issue following an official complaint by the FGG Alliance on violations of the OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises.
Last week, Global Witness published 'Honduras: the deadliest place to defend the planet'. This shocking report clearly shows the worrying situation of human rights in Honduras and backs the demand of Both ENDS and partner COPINH: FMO must divest from the Agua Zarca dam.
At the end of November EFLAC, the most important gathering of feminists from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, took place in a park just outside Montevideo, Uruguay. Within Both ENDS, I coordinate the GAGGA programme, in which we promote cooperation between the environmental and women's movements. Our partners Mama Cash and FCAM persuaded me that this meeting was the perfect opportunity to find out whether and, if so, in which way women are interested in the environment. They had prepared me for a very intensive meeting, at which the whole spectrum of emotions would be aroused and expressed. I had no idea what to expect and set off with a completely open mind. And so it came that I spent four days among more than 2,000 women from across the continent.
Hundreds of millions of euros from Ukraine found their way in recent years through Dutch letterbox companies, many of them registered at the Amsterdam Zuidas. The purpose: invisible and beneficial laundering of funds that lined the pockets of a handful of oligarchs in Ukraine by means of corruption and illegal practices - including the son of President Yanukovych. Fortunately, the Dutch government has now put a stop to this practice. Last week, Parliament decided to investigate suspicious Ukrainian assets and freeze them: a small triumph for Both ENDS and their partners!