Last week, another round of trade negotiations between the EU and India took place in Brussels, Belgium. Local organisations in India are concerned that the outcome of these negotiations will have a negative impact on their livelihoods and access to natural resources. They also worry about its effect on political conflicts and the maintenance of human rights in their country. Recent public demonstrations such as a rally last month in the border town of Moreh, Manipur, North East India, reflect these concerns.
On the 14th of September, in the Public Library of Amsterdam, three partner organisations of Both ENDS presented their experiences with a method, developed by Both ENDS, to integrate gender equality in their work on access to natural resources. The presentations of the three organisations from Togo, Colombia and Bangladesh, showed the result of a process they each started in the beginning of 2010. They formed the starting point for a broader debate with other environmental and development organisations.
Pieter Jansen, programme officer at Both ENDS, interviewed Sukanta Sen from the Bangladesh Resource Center for Indigenous Knowledge (BARCIK). BARCIK is an NGO that works in the field of environment, biodiversity conservation and development. They have been promoting the significance of local and indigenous knowledge in development initiatives as well as the empowerment process of local and indigenous communities.
Both ENDS' deputy director Paul Wolvekamp attended the 10th Dialogue on Forests, Governance and Climate Change which was hosted by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) and Oxfam Novib and took place in The Hague on the 7th of september.
With an overwhelming majority - 643 votes in favour, 20 against and 9 abstentions - a new law, which forces European export credit agencies (ECAs) to be more transparent about the environmental and social effects of transactions supported by ECAs, has just been approved of in the European Parliament. As of next year, all ECAs will have to deliver a report about this to the European Commission and the European Parliament on a yearly basis.
Both ENDS is a member of the ECA-Watch network, which monitors ECAs and stimulates more transparent, sustainable and socially just ECA-supported transactions. Clearly we are very pleased with the current developments and we hope that this will be a first step towards greener and fairer investment policies in the EU.
Last week, President Museveni announced that the government will not necessarily stick to its plan to clear one third of Mabira rainforest for the cultivation of sugar cane. The president said that his government is open to alternative ways to increase Uganda's sugar production. Before, Museveni had said that his decision was final, but pressured by national and international environmental activists (including Member of Parliament Beatrice Anywar) he agreed to consider other options.
Both ENDS and partner organisation Amichocó (Colombia), BARCIK (Bangladesh) and ANCE (Togo) acknowledge the important role of gender inequality in our work on environmental and development issues. We jointly set out to test a practical approach to mainstream gender in our work on natural resources management, each in its specific context and based on its specific ambition.