The Pothole Experience
The Pothole Experience
It was a funny, imaginative story, and driving on the Ghanaian roads reminds me of this encounter in Uganda. I am in Ghana to prepare a workshop in the Atiwa District near the township of Kwabeng. Together with my guide and friend dr. Adansi, I’m travelling to environmentally interesting sites, while encircling abundant smaller and bigger potholes in the roads. Still more worrying is another type of pothole: we enter the area of “galamsey”.
Illegal gold mining
'Galamsey' is the local word for illegal (gold) mining and has a devastating effect on the landscape. The environment is totally destroyed by the digging and ruined because of the use of chemicals to extract the gold. The extensive erosion and the chemicals are polluting both the groundwater and the surface water and thus affecting the drinking and household water of the nearby villages. The mining is done in an uncontrolled way and even though it is illegal by law, no serious attempts are made to stop it. Only from time to time police and military actions take place, but afterwards the workers just resume their devastating work. Still the miners are clearly on the look-out for trouble. When we approached them a number of women lined up towards us as a barrier for the other workers. “They think we are military”, explained Adansi, pointing to my cap. Soon however they understood that we are not the authorities and showed us around.
Water ponds and mosquitoes
Most worrying is the fact that after the digging the landscape is not restored. It leads to a barren landscape with lots of hillocks and water filled depressions. These ponds are a perfect breeding place for mosquitoes and it is why malaria is still a major health threat. Of all places we visited, only at one site some poor attempts were made to level the area and do some reforestation.
Commissioners, chiefs and village-elders
In accordance with organizing the workshop, we visited a number of authorities, in order to explain and raise support for our plans to improve the water and sanitation situation in the Kwabeng area. Governance structures in Ghana are a complex hybrid system of Westminster style government linked with many semi-autonomous bodies, traditional leaders, and local government structures. In two days we visited the community of Kwabeng, the Member of Parliament for the Atiwa Constituency, the District Commissioner of Atiwa District and a prominent Chief representing the Chieftaincy.
Learning more about the environmental problems that Ghana is facing, and talking with different stakeholders and authorities, left a big impression. It showed me that there is an entrance to talk about these issues and cooperate for a more sustainable future for Ghana. I already look forward to visit Ghana again, but the next time without potholes, please!
Read more about this subject
Publication / 25 May 2023
Event / 25 May 2023, 16:00 - 17:30
The Future We See: economic systems
What does an economy look like that serves the well-being of people and the planet?
A wide range of great ideas about a transition to sustainable and just economic systems already exist, including ways to get there and examples that show that it is really possible. In this talkshow, we highlight some of these examples and hope to fuel the dialogue about this topic.
Inspired? Join our 'The Future We See' - talkshow on May 25th! You can either attend live or online, quietly listen or actively participate in the discussion. We hope to see you there!
Get your free tickets for the liveshow (limited!) or to join online here!
Publication / 23 May 2023
Press release / 23 May 2023
60th anniversary of Dutch bilateral investment treaties no cause for celebration
On 23 May, the Netherlands celebrates 60 years of bilateral investment treaties (BITs). The first BIT was signed with Tunisia in 1963. These treaties were intended to make an important contribution to protecting foreign investments by Dutch companies. A study by SOMO, Both ENDS and the Transnational Institute (TNI), however, shows that in practice they mainly give multinationals a powerful instrument that has far-reaching consequences people and the environment worldwide.
Letter / 4 May 2023
Letter from NGOs to Dutch export credit agency: CSR policy must be strengthened
The Dutch government, through its export credit agency Atradius DSB (ADSB), provides export support to companies that undertake activities abroad. The state wants projects it insures to have no negative consequences for people and the environment and therefore sets requirements for corporate social responsibility (CSR). A consultation on CSR policy ran until the end of April, to which a coalition of thirteen social organisations from the Netherlands and abroad, including Both ENDS and Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth the Netherlands), responded.
News / 4 May 2023
18 reasons for a Dutch agricultural policy with an international perspective
Our manifesto "The Dutch Agriculture Agreement reaches further than the Netherlands: offer prospects for sustainable farmers and consumers worldwide" has now been signed by over 70 civil society organisations, agricultural organisations and companies, environmental organisations and scientists from around the world. Below, a few of them give their personal motivation why they support the manifesto.
Publication / 24 April 2023
Press release / 21 April 2023
Manifesto: The Netherlands can reduce its international footprint with new Agricultural Agreement
The Dutch Agriculture Agreement, which is currently under development, is too much focused solely on the Netherlands. That is the opinion of a broad coalition of more than sixty NGOs, farmers' organisations, scientists and companies that have today sent an urgent letter to agriculture minister Piet Adema and foreign trade and development minister Liesje Schreinemacher. The government's agricultural policy should also aim to reduce the Netherlands' enormous agrarian footprint beyond our borders, by taking food security and the preservation of biodiversity as its starting points. The coalition has published a manifesto in which it sets out how reform of the Netherlands' foreign agricultural policy could be given shape.
News / 18 April 2023
The Future We See - dialogues about sustainable and just global systems
In these uncertain times of accumulating national, international and global crises, we need hope and inspiration more than ever. Fortunately, many hopeful ideas and initiatives are already existing that show that it is indeed possible to change the world - and especially the systems behind it - in a sustainable and fair way. What opportunities are to be found, what is hopeful, what is already happening and how can we, as the Netherlands, respond to this?
Event / 23 March 2023, 13:15 - 14:30
Making finance for gender just water and climate solutions a reality!
The UN Water Conference is an important event that brings together stakeholders from around the world to discuss water and climate solutions. This year, GAGGA is organizing a side event during the conference that you won't want to miss!
On Thursday March 23rd, from 1.15 -2.30 pm, GAGGA will present their commitment to support, finance, and promote locally rooted, gender just climate and water solutions within the Water Action Agenda. This event will inspire other stakeholders to join in their commitment, while presenting inspiring examples of such solutions presented by local women from Nepal, Kenya, Paraguay, Mexico, and Nigeria.
Event / 23 March 2023, 09:00 - 11:00
Towards just water governance in Colombia; a dialogue on the Transformative Water Pact
Online side event at the UN Water conference in New York
This event will present The Transformative Water Pact (TWP), an innovative framework for water governance that has been developed by environmental justice experts from around the world. The TWP will serve as a starting point for dialogue between representatives of the government of Colombia, academia, regional and international NGOs in relation to Colombia's current ambitions in multi-scalar water governance.
Letter / 22 March 2023
Suggestions to the CRM Act appreciations for the Dutch government
While the energy transition via renewable energy, such as solar and wind energy, is fundamental to reduce EU CO2 emissions, we are concerned with the impacts it will have on the (geo-political) economy, people and environment. Our collaboration with civil society organisations in the Global South over the past 30 years has shown us that the patterns of consumption by rich countries, such as the Netherlands and the EU in general, have a devastating impact on people and the environment in mainly Africa, South-America and South-East Asia.
Publication / 21 March 2023
News / 21 March 2023
Agua es vida: Both ENDS and water governance
Water is literally life, the lifeblood of ecosystems, of nature, of humans. However, in many places the distribution and use of water is unjust and unsustainable. Water management is generally focused on short-term economic interests, on maximizing the profit of a well-connected few at the expense of people and nature. This dominant view of water and water management has its origins in the European industrial revolution, which became the global norm through colonialism and globalization. But according to Melvin van der Veen and Murtah Shannon, water experts at Both ENDS, this view will have to give way to equitable, sustainable and inclusive water management. Both ENDS cooperates with and supports communities and organisations worldwide who are working to this end.
Press release / 20 March 2023
A Transformative Water Pact : A radical response to the global water governance crisis
Academics and civil society representatives from around the world came together to articulate an alternative vision and framework for water governance, in the run-up to the UN Water Conference 2023 in New York. The Transformative Water Pact was developed in response to the continued exploitation of nature, neglect of human rights and the extreme power-imbalances that characterize contemporary water governance throughout the world. It details an alternative vision of water governance based on the tenets of environmental justice, equality and care.
Publication / 15 March 2023
Publication / 15 March 2023
Publication / 9 March 2023
Press release / 9 March 2023
Dutch Pension funds do not vote in line with climate ambitions
Authors note rectification 13 April 2023
Most Dutch pension funds and their asset managers do not vote consistently in favour of climate resolutions at the oil and gas companies and banks in which they invest. That is the conclusion of a report published today by Both ENDS and Groen Pensioen. Eleven of the twelve* Dutch pension funds studied have made public statements and pledges about adapting their policies in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. But their voting behaviour does not sufficiently correspond with these pledges. Only pension fund PME votes for 100% in line with its own climate promises.
Publication / 9 March 2023