Today, 800 million (almost 1 billion!) people around the world suffer from acute hunger. Add to that the almost two billion people who do not have access to even a minimum of healthy and nutritious food, and the way in which food production currently causes deforestation, erosion, pollution and climate change, and it’s clear why it’s time to do things differently! The Dutch government has set itself the goal of tackling this problem thoroughly and food security is one of the focus areas of the Netherlands’ development cooperation policy. Both ENDS shares that ambition, but feels that the government’s approach could be much better and more future-proof.
The first Voedsel Anders (Food Otherwise) conference in February 2014 was visited by more than 800 people. And that literally gave everyone the taste for more! So this year, the second Voedsel Anders conference is to be held. The conference is the initiative of the Voedsel Anders movement, which consists of organisations and active citizens who are engaged in a different way in changing the food system and making it sustainable. Karin van Boxtel from Both ENDS is involved in organising the conference.
Nairobi, Kenya's capital city, will be the epicenter of international trade from 15 to 18 December 2015. The representatives of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), which currently has 162 member countries, will come together to negotiate. The different countries tend to have very different and often conflicting interests, which makes it difficult to reach agreements. Burghard Ilge of Both ENDS travels with Minister Ploumen as an official adviser and mediator from civil society. His role is to inform the Minister about the views and interests of civil society organisations around the world, in order for her to take these positions into consideration during the negotiations. We asked Ilge some clarifying questions.
Both ENDS has, as a member of the RSPO, participated in a dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Netherlands is the largest importer of palm oil in Europe and wants to promote sustainable trade and production chains.
One of the side events Both ENDS and partners will host at the COP 21 in Paris, will touch the issue of local access to Climate Finance. Only if CSOs and local communities are really involved in the design of projects, we can ensure that climate investments meet social and environmental safeguards. See the official invitation below and also find more information about our other side-events during the Climate Change COP
After nearly two years of discussions, the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries have reached an agreement on reducing their support to some coal plants through their export credit agencies (ECAs). The agreement comes a day after the G20 has reiterated its willingness to reduce inefficient fossil fuel subsidies and only 12 days before the start of COP21, the climate change conference. The agreement, which takes effect in 2017, still allows the most efficient “ultra-supercritical” plants, and less efficient plants in the very poorest countries.
The Pantanal, in the heart of South America, at the border of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay, is the world’s largest freshwater wetland with an extremely rich biodiversity. Tourism and fishing are the main sources of income for the local population. This enormous natural area is invaluable for the water management of a large part of the continent, stretching all the way down to the Argentinian La Plata area, some 1,500 kilometres away. The area faces many threats and Both ENDS therefore already started actively supporting local organisations striving to protect the Pantanal in 1994.
For the past two months, large parts of the rainforests on Sumatra, Kalimantan and other Indonesian islands have caught fire. Each year, parts of these forests are burnt to the ground to make room for palm oil production. An illegal and completely unacceptable practice. This year, though, the fires have become even more violent than usual as the rainy season has not yet arrived. A gigantic amount of smoke has even reached and affected neighboring countries Malaysia and Singapore, and serious respiratory problems – as well as casualties - among the local population are some of the direct consequences of these forest fires. Paul Wolvekamp of Both ENDS has been closely involved in the problematic issues surrounding the production of palm oil.
A week ago, the twelfth ‘Conference of the Parties’ (COP12) of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) took off in Ankara, Turkey. This convention originated from the Rio Conventions of 1992 and specifically focuses on desertification and land degradation. Karin van Boxtel of Both ENDS was there, and today, together with several other organizations that also attended the conference, she launches a document with recommendations for policymakers about the financing of the so-called ‘Land Degradation Neutrality’-concept, one of the many topics that fueled the discussions during the convention. So what is it, and why is it so important?
26 Civil society organisations (CSOs), including Both ENDS, have joined forces and sent a position paper containing 11 recommendations to Minister Ploumen of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. The recommendations address access, sustainability, good governance and finance of clean drinking water and toilets.