Both ENDS and partners inspire during World Water Week in Stockholm
'Water for development' was the topic of the annual World Water Week (WWW), which was held last week in Stockholm for the 25th time. Thirza Bronner, Sanderijn van Beek and Cindy Coltman of Both ENDS were present, together with partners Serah Munguti of ‘Nature Kenya’ in Kenya, and Suu Lam from the ‘Centre for Social Research and Development (CSRD)’ in Vietnam. In light of this year’s theme, Both ENDS decided to invite these two outspoken women leaders to this conference to bring strong civil society voices to the table. They took part in a roundtable session that was marked by enthusiastic participation of policy makers, donors and NGOs. During the session, Munguti and Lam told us about their organisational objectives, their experiences and how ‘water for development’ translates into their practice.
The daily struggle for water
“Water is life in the Tana Delta; it determines whether there is peace or war, or whether one is rich or poor.” With this short and clear opening phrase, Munguti kicked off the roundtable session organised by Both ENDS. Around 12 persons attended the session, mostly policy makers and NGO-representatives. Munguti and Lam work closely with communities and therefore know all about their daily struggles for access to water. They both shared their stories that demonstrate how poor planning, water use and sharing of water resources can lead to chaos and are a major source of conflict and poverty. At the same time, they emphasized that the only way forward in finding a solution is by involving communities in water management and in the planning of this resource. "Only when community needs are included and discussed, and trade-offs for all stakeholders are debated, development is possible."
Tana Delta in Kenya
Over the last seven years, Nature Kenya has been working on involving local communities in the land use planning process for the Tana Delta. Down-stream pastoralists and farmers in this Delta – which, besides from being home to 100.000 people, is also one of Kenya’s most important wetlands for various bird species - have been facing an alarming water scarcity. Upstream urban water users in Nairobi and and large scale biofuel plantations - meant to compensate Europe’s carbon emissions! - put a huge strain on the Delta. This struggle over water has even led to fatal conflicts. In response to this water crisis, Nature Kenya supported and facilitated the local government in developing a bottom up water-use planning. Because of this effort, the local inhabitants of over 100 villages were invited to participate. “You have to go door by door, knocking on their doors,” says Munguti, “but in this case it resulted in the first bottom-up land use plan ever in Kenya, so it truly represents the needs of the local people. The plan has now been adopted and launched by both the county governments as well as the national governments. For the first time, we have a mutually agreed plan: pastoralists know where to graze, investors know where to plan their business, and conservationists can protect the areas important to save species.”
Huong River in Vietnam
Suu Lam tells us about the work she and her organisation ‘Centre for Social Research and Development’ do in the Huong River area in Vietnam. “Here, people directly suffer from the effects of climate change, such as salinization of agricultural land due to a rising sea level. Moreover, upstream large-scale interventions, such as dams, plantations and mining cause severe damage to the environment that local people depend upon for their survival.” Lam tells us about the successful integration of the voices, knowledge and practices of the local population in provincial policies and local management. In her presentation, she stresses the need to integrate bottom-up mechanisms to cope with and adapt to climate change in the policies of other NGOs and regional development banks, and to encourage multi stakeholder processes. “The answer to climate change adaptation is not only to invest in concrete infrastructure, but particularly to invest in the resilience of local communities, and ensure they can act upon climate change by, for example, investing in replanting mangroves.”
Raising awareness among embassies
“I am happy that Both ENDS gave us this opportunity to have a dialogue with these important actors, as it is hard for us to get in contact with them,”, says Lam. “For example, the Dutch government invests in international financial institutes such as the World Bank or the Asian Development Bank. Those institutes invest in my country, to make it more climate proof. However, these institutes often invest too much in the infrastructure, and not enough in the green and social side of climate change adaptation measures, leaving the country with only more and more roads and new dams. That is not always the most sustainable option”. During the lively and fruitful discussion at the end of the session, the participating policy makers indicated that they and their respective embassies are often not aware of the actual impact of those investments on the ground. Lam: “Mr. Kees Rade, who is the head of the Inclusive Green Growth Department of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, suggested to also share our ideas with their respective embassies. I think this is a very useful suggestion, because in order to promote inclusive and sustainable water-use planning, the voices of local stakeholders must be heard. It would be great if the embassies too could then share their message with the financial institutions that invest in our country!” Munguti fully agrees with this and adds: “It has been a great opportunity to be in one room with European policy makers and funders and present the eyewitness evidence of the work that is happening on the ground.”
World Water Week: Shifting from a technical to a more social approach to water management
Traditionally, the WWW program represents a rather narrow focus to water, as it mostly focuses on access to drinking water and sanitation, or the so-called WASH agenda. This year, however, the conference presented a more social and integral view on water and its crucial role in achieving sustainable livelihoods. Water security is one of the main challenges of the 21st century. Security has not so much to do with the availability of water, but more with how it is divided amongst different users. In their 2015 World Water Development Report, the UN stated that in order to foster a more equitable allocation of scarce water resources and to facilitate water sharing among competing users, innovative tools and approaches should be developed.
Read more about this subject
Event / 28 September 2023, 16:00 - 17:30
What does a food system look like that serves the well-being of people and the planet?
While agriculture and livestock food production in the world have become increasingly large-scale, industrial and ever more efficient for decades, the damage and inequality this food system causes is also becoming increasingly clear. Across the world, more and more people are therefore engaged in alternative, sustainable food production that ensures many generations to come to still have access to fertile, healthy land and clean water.
In this talkshow, we highlight some of these examples and hope to fuel the dialogue about this topic.
- Rosinah Mbenya - PELUM Kenya (via Zoom)
- Matt Canfield - University of Leiden
- Ida Simonsen - Dutch UN Youth Representative Biodiversity and Food
- John Arink - Ekoboerderij Arink (biodynamic farmer)
Farid Tabarki - Studio Zeitgeist
Inspired? Join our 'The Future We See' - talkshow on September 28th! You can either attend live or online, quietly listen or actively participate in the discussion - or during the drinks afterwards. We hope to see you there!
Also take a look at our previous session
To get a glimpse of the atmosphere, see a short video of our last session (about economic systems): https://youtu.be/AUNGcROovnc
And to dive in a little deeper, watch this compilation: https://youtu.be/nzuwIREeiNo
News / 21 September 2023
Six out of nine planetary boundaries have been crossed (Stockholm Resilience Centre) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that the world is likely to breach global temperature of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels between now and 2027. COP28 is the moment of the first Global Stocktake, which means the assessment of where we are at in reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement.
News / 18 September 2023
In the heart of Liberia, the Western Region Women Network Association (WERWONA) is scripting a story of resilience, advocacy, and transformation. This journey began in September 2022 when WERWONA, supported by Both ENDS's partner Sustainable Development Institute, embarked on a mission to empower women leaders and communities in Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, and Gbarpolu counties to reclaim their rights to land and natural resources. This shows how the partnership between Both ENDS and local organisations is driving positive change in Liberia.
News / 11 September 2023
Danielle Hirsch, our director, is running as candidate for GroenLinks-PvdA in the parliamentary elections in November this year.
News / 24 August 2023
A wave of international recognition is shedding light on the valuable role that indigenous communities play in looking after our planet's most vital ecosystems. Last night in Vancouver, two of our partners won a grant in the Inclusive GEF Assembly Challenge Program: the ILED Network and AIDER (Peru). Our colleague Eva Schmitz was present to receive the prize on behalf of the ILED Network.
News / 17 July 2023
On 17 and 18 July, representatives of the governments of Latin America, the Caribbean and the European Union meet in Brussels for the EU-CELAC summit. The European Commission and several EU Member States want to use this moment to accelerate the ratification of the trade and investment treaties between the EU and Mexico, the EU and Chile and the EU and the South American Mercosur countries*.
Letter / 26 June 2023
CSO reject EU policy reform that would legalize EU trade sanctions against developing countries, based on their migration policies
An important trade and development policy tool of the EU is the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which allows developing countries to export goods to the EU at low or no tariffs. The current GSP Regulation is to expire end of this year.
Publication / 23 June 2023
News / 15 June 2023
In the Jenipapo community, in the north-east region of the Caatinga Biome in Brazil, farmer Fátima Maria dos Santos runs her farm. Fátima is applying the principles of agroecology on her farm by having a cistern that collects rainwater, retaining native vegetation and developing an agroforestry system that comprises of native and fruit trees and crops and medical plants. Fátima is also one of the first farmers to be part of the 'Caderneta Agroecológica' or 'Agroecological Logbook' initiative, that stimulates women farmers to monitor their food production. This way, they get more insights about the value of production for the family, about monetary and non-monetary benefits and the preservation of soil health and biodiversity.
News / 15 June 2023
Even a region like the South American La Plata Basin, known for it's majestic rivers and wetlands, is struggling with drought. A group of organisations united in the Wetlands without Borders network strive to turn the tide.
News / 15 June 2023
Koussanar, in eastern Senegal, is a small town that is expanding rapidly, surrounded by villages still rooted in rural and nomadic life. The region is hot and dry, which is exacerbated by climate change. The soil in the region is also dry and often exhausted due to a combination of factors such as unsustainable agricultural practices, (peanut) monoculture, intensive agriculture, forest fires and overgrazing. Today, however, the region's farmers and nomadic pastoralists take a different approach. They are working towards a better future by committing to the restoration of degraded land using Farmer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR).
News / 14 June 2023
For decades, the local partner organisations of Both ENDS have been developing and promoting ways to fight land degradation, desertification and drought in their surroundings. And this accounts not only for regions like the Sahel, but also for forests and wetlands. To celebrate the UNCCD's Desertification and Drought Day 2023, we'd like to show a few examples of how our partners restore ecosystems to serve the well-being of people and the environment.
Publication / 25 May 2023
Event / 25 May 2023, 16:00 - 17:30
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!
Press release / 23 May 2023
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.
Publication / 23 May 2023
Letter / 4 May 2023
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
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
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.