‘Shifting Grounds’, a one-of-a-kind project
There are several reasons why Remi Kempers sees Bangladesh as his second home. There, he has been working on water projects and is a fervent advocate of our ‘Negotiated Approach’. On numerous occasions, he has appeared on Bangladeshi national television in programs about water governance. Remi will soon be collaborating with the Dutch Technical University Delft, the Technical University of Dhaka (BUET), SaciWATERS and local CSOs to start a new, one-of-a-kind project. This project will be financed by the Dutch NWO, a research council that funds scientific research, in light of their program ‘Urbanizing Deltas of the World’. It focuses on the delta of the bold Ganges river in Bangladesh and India.
BE: What exactly will you be doing?
“Local water supply and distribution are under increasing pressure, especially on the dividing lines between urban and rural areas. In part due to quickly expanding cities, different groups like inhabitants, the industry, water companies and farmers have clashed, arguing about the usage of water. And what’s more, though you wouldn’t expect this to happen to a river such as the Ganges, the quality of river- and groundwater has diminished because of salinisation and contamination. There is even presence of arsenic in groundwater!.
We will start in two places: around Khulna, in Bangladesh, and Kolkata (Calcutta), in India. We have opted for these locations so that we can compare water supplies in practice from different national institutions, but which at the same time are located in the same delta. First we will study the water usage, during which we will also extensively investigate (for the first time) the groundwater – which is rather unusual in this type of research. We are planning to focus on change: what is the influx of inhabitants like, which effect does climate change have on the water, and in what ways is the water being used by different groups? Afterwards, we will take a look at the water companies and government agencies that determine the decision-making process, and see how they cooperate – or compete.”
BE: What is the Negotiated Approach’s place in all this?
“Currently, the changes in usage, the way in which the water is being confiscated, and not to mention the scarcity and pollution, are all taking place – just like that. Not only is this detrimental to the distribution of water and to the environment, but it also has a discriminatory effect. Rich farmers, for example, can afford to drill a pipe to get access to groundwater, but their poor colleagues can forget about this. Water companies are in the position to extract drinking water without first discussing this with the local inhabitants, resulting in far-reaching consequences for water availability for farmers and households. That is why, in particular, the ‘Negotiated Approach’ is the appropriate method in such situations. By means of negotiation, all parties involved are given a voice on water usage, while the importance of sustainable water governance is also being stressed. Whether much or little water is involved, be it surface water or groundwater, the Negotiated Approach is always suitable.”
BE: And there is also a rather modern aspect to this project…
“For the first time ever, we will be using something that is called ‘Serious Gaming’. I am very proud of this. By using a computer game, we will simulate what effects there are on water usage, thereby showing all parties involved what happens as a result of a certain solution to the distribution of water. Several choices are possible, which we can then interactively work with at meetings. It will be an eye-opener to everyone who participates in workshops and meetings, at which the fate of the water in Kolkata and Khulna is determined.”
Read more about this subject
Event / 19 June 2022, 12:30
Still, more funds are spent on the fossil industry than on sustainable solutions. Banks, pension funds, insurers and governments keep investing in fossil infrastructure which endangers people and the environment. Therefore we call on financial institutions to stop funding the climate crisis.
Join our "Stop Fossil Finance" block at the next climate march!
External link / 15 June 2022
Joint CSO call to all WTO Trade Ministers to not accept the current draft of Ministerial Decision on the TRIPS Agreement and demand a real Waiver
Event / 14 June 2022, 15:00 - 16:30
Both ENDS and the Land Portal Foundation invite you to the second webinar in the Whose Land? Inclusive Pathways to Land Governance series, which will focus on the opportunities and constraints of civil society organizations (CSOs) and local communities in advocating for more open land data and in harnessing its power for improved land governance.
News / 13 June 2022
Intellectual property law is regulated at various levels around the world. At the international level, intellectual property rights are mainly laid down within the World Trade Organization (WTO) and in trade agreements. But what does this in practice mean for us? With this infographic, we've visualized what happens when a holder of intellectual property rights - usually a big company - thinks his rights are being violated.
Despite the existence of many hydropower dams, foreign investments and large government spending on energy, and new plans for hydropower, oil and gas projects, the vast majority of rural Uganda still remains without electricity. Together with our local partners we are striving towards a sustainable energy strategy for Uganda that starts from the needs and wishes of local communities.
News / 10 June 2022
In a new Position Statement on Financial Intermediary (FI) Lending, Dutch development bank FMO argues for limited responsibility over the outcomes investments that are channeled through commercial banks, investment funds, and other financial intermediaries, representing by far the bigger sector of its portfolio. In doing so, FMO is undermining its development mission, including the protection of human rights and addressing the climate crisis. FMO intends to delegate these key responsibilities to its FI clients only, falling short of best practices of peer financial institutions. In a joint submission prepared by Both ENDS, Oxfam Novib, Recourse and SOMO, we argue that FMO can do much more to ensure the protection of human rights, the environment, and to measure the development impact of its indirect investments.
Letter / 10 June 2022
Both ENDS, SOMO, Oxfam Novib and Recourse send in a submission to FMO's public consultation on its Position Statement on Financial Intermediaries. In this position statement, FMO only takes limited responsibility for the consequences of its investments through so-called financial intermediaries. We call upon FMO to publish a position statement that focuses on protecting human rights and the environment and take full responsibility for this.
Letter / 9 June 2022
Pesticide Action Network and 430 civil society and indigenous peoples organizations from 69 countries have sent a letter of concern to the 170th session of FAO council about the FAO partnership agreement with CropLife International.
CropLife International is a global trade association whose members are the world's largest agrichemical, pesticide and seed companies: BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Corteva Agriscience, FMC Corporation, Sumitomo Chemical and Syngenta. The UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) en CropLife International have started a partnership in 2020 to collaborate on pesticide use. We think that this partnership is incompatible with FAO's obligations to uphold human rights, directly counters any efforts toward progressively banning Highly Hazardous Pesticides, and undercuts the FAO and several Member States' support for agroecology and other transformative practices.
The letter asks the Council to review and end immediately the partnership agreement with CropLife International.
News / 9 June 2022
This week, Geneva will be the epicenter of world trade, as trade ministers and other representatives from around the world gather for the World Trade Organization (WTO) ministerial conference. Liesje Schreinemacher, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, is present with a delegation. Our colleague Burghard Ilge is joining as an official member of the delegation, to represent civil society organisations. Colleague Fernando Hernandez will also travel to Geneva, to follow and try to influence the negotiations from outside the conference room together with other civil society organisations from around the world.
Event / 28 May 2022, 13:00 - 14:15
Afrikadag: Future of food and farming in Africa: the role for small-scale agroecological food production
Join us this Saturday the 28th of May for an inpiring session about the role of agro-ecology in the trasformation to a future proof food and farming system on the African continent (and beyond).
Blog / 27 May 2022
and Abigail Kyomuhendo*
This week the annual shareholder meeting (AGM) of TotalEnergies took place. Whilst the shareholders celebrated their profits, Ugandan people were being evicted from their lands, thousands of kilometers away, for Total's East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
Press release / 25 May 2022
Award of export support for controversial project in Manilla undermines the Netherlands’ environmental and CSR ambitions
Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB announced yesterday that it is to provide export credit insurance worth 1,5 billion euros to Dutch dredging company Boskalis for a controversial land reclamation project in the Philippines. According to Dutch and international organisations, including Both ENDS, CARE Netherlands, IUCN NL, Kalikasan PNE and Oceana Philippines, the award of export credit insurance for this project runs contrary to the Netherlands' ambitions in the areas of environment and corporate social responsibility (CSR).
News / 19 May 2022
Both ENDS and 95 other organisations* today sent a letter to State Secretary for Finance Marnix van Rij and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher calling on them to implement the Glasgow Declaration in full. In this agreement, which the Netherlands and 33 other countries signed at the Glasgow climate conference, the signatory countries pledge to stop all public funding for fossil projects by the end of 2022.
Press release / 19 May 2022
122 CSOs warn signatory countries they have only six months left to meet COP26 commitment to end international public finance for all fossil fuels
Today, 122 civil society groups are releasing letters to eleven government signatories to the Glasgow Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition, laying out the actions they must take as soon as possible to meet their commitment. In this joint statement at COP26, 35 countries and 5 public finance institutions committed to end their international public finance for 'unabated' fossil fuels by the end of 2022, and instead prioritise their "support fully towards the clean energy transition."
Event / 18 May 2022, 10:45 - 12:15
UNCCD-COP15: Monitoring Tree Cover and Enhancing Decision Making Tools Across Africa’s Great Green Wall
Join us for an open space for a reflection and exchange on a new dataset, developed by WRI, to monitor regreening efforts, and its applications in the Sahel.
In the drylands of Africa, land degradation threatens the livelihoods of millions of people. Fortunately, there are promising initiatives emerging all over the continent that are turning the tide. Throughout the Sahel, for example, vast tracts of land along the Great Green Wall have been restored by local communities. They have nurtured the plants that spontaneously spring from the soil, protecting young sprouts from cattle and other hazards.
Event / 16 May 2022, 13:00 - 15:00
UNCCD-COP15: How funders can best support agroecological initiatives by local communities in drylands
Join our dialogue on how to set up more and better financial mechanisms that can support agroecological initiatives of local communities living in drylands.
The land degradation neutrality (LDN) response hierarchy of Avoid > Reduce > Reverse land degradation is an overarching principle for LDN implementation, which guides people in planning interventions to achieve LDN. The hierarchy articulates which interventions should be prioritised based on their potential to maximise the conservation of land-based natural capital, recognising that avoiding or reducing land degradation is generally more cost-effective than efforts to reverse past degradation. As value for money is highest in the Avoiding and in Reducing Land Degradation response, a smart way to spend money is to support sustainable land management approaches like agroecology that work with nature, not against it.
Event / 16 May 2022, 13:00 - 15:00
Join our event, providing space for an interactive discussion among COP15 participants on multi-actor collaboration and the financing of community-based restoration
Letter / 15 May 2022
Both ENDS Comments and recommendations on the Bank Group’s Environmental and Social Policy of the AfDB Integrated Safeguards System
This letter by Both ENDS to the African Development Bank is a comment written in reaction to a draft version published by the Bank of its Environmental and Social Policy as part of a formal public consultation held by the Bank. This comment was sent to the bank along a joint submission letter with other CSOs, and specifically responds to the overarching Policy.
The bank's flexible requirements for clients and national standards for risky projects dilute safeguards. Project approval should be predicated on specific and binding targets for compliance and reflect input from communities involved.
Letter / 15 May 2022
Joint Submission of comments and recommendations to the Public Consultation on AfDB Integrated Safeguards System
Together with 29 other CSO's, we've submitted our comments and recommendations in the Public Consultation on the AfDB Integrated Safeguards System. These include that the Bank should prioritize community-led development and human rights-based approaches; protect natural resources and tackles environmental and climate crises; raise the bar on access to information, transparency and accountability; facilitate participatory processes in policies, programmes and projects; and end inequality, poverty, and the cutback and privatization of vital services.
News / 10 May 2022
From May 9 to 20, the 15th Conference of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, Land Degradation and Drought (UNCCD COP15) will take place in Abidjan, the capital of Côte d'Ivoire. Governments, policymakers, civil society organisations and scientists from countries all over the world will discuss the problems around drought, land degradation and desertification that are increasing. Colleagues Nathalie van Haren and Stefan Schüller will be there, as will a large number of representatives of organisations with which Both ENDS has been working together for decades. But what is the purpose of the meeting, what is discussed and why is it important to be present? We asked Nathalie and Stefan.