These days, government leaders of the Eurozone meet again to discuss the Greek debt crisis. It is all or nothing; Greece’s future hangs by a thread. Greece cannot possibly meet its payment obligations, so the only way to help the country back on its feet is debt cancellation. Such is the view of a large number of organisations in Europe, including Both ENDS. Wiert Wiertsema of Both ENDS explains why.
The International Service for Human Rights (ISHR) in Geneva has announced that the Brazilian government should take measures to guarantee the security of members of the Forum Suape Social Environmental Space, and of national activists in general, against intimidation from third parties. The ISHR has issued a statement about this after Forum Suape member and attorney Dr. Conceição Lacerda (photo) reported she had been harassed by security guard members of the Industrial and Harbor Complex of Suape (CIPS).
On June 3rd, the third European roundtable of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) took place. This is a worldwide initiative with a focus on making the production chain of palm oil sustainable. Apart from being Both ENDS’ deputy director, Paul Wolvekamp is also a board member of RSPO. OneWorld held an interview with him. “It is important to collectively take responsibility. Everybody has to contribute.”
The Cauvery, a large river that runs through west and southeastern India, is home to a varied and vibrant wildlife and communities. The video documentary team of Dusty Foot Productions had initially been working on a research project on wildlife – mainly otters – of the Cauvery. While documenting the vibrant and diverse ecosystem around the river, the Dusty Foot team however realised that it could not ignore the problems that were present in the area: illegal gill netting, sand mining and the construction of mini hydels (hydroelectric power plants).The story about the Cauvery’s wildlife could therefore not be told without also focusing on the negative effects of industrial projects on the environment.
Yesterday, a coalition of more than 130 civil society organisations from all over the world called upon the member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), to agree to a permanent exemption from the WTO rules on intellectual property rights for the least developed countries in the world. A group of about 20 NGOs (including Both ENDS) took the initiative for this letter, which was coordinated by the Third World Network. On June 9th and 10th the WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Council) will meet and although the agenda of this meeting is still secret, it is expected that this request will be discussed.
On June 3rd at De Balie in Amsterdam, ‘angry old man’ Yash Tandon presented his new book ‘Trade is War: The West’s War Against the World’ – a new perspective in the debate on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the controversial trade agreement which the EU is currently negotiating with the US. In Europe, opponents of TTIP are mainly concerned about transparency, ever-increasing corporate power and the impact on the environment. But what does the treaty imply for North-South relations and what are the geopolitical dynamics behind it?
Dutch development bank FMO did not sufficiently take into account the rights of the local population and effects on the environment before approving a $ 25 million loan for the construction of the Barro Blanco dam in Panama. This is not in accordance with FMO’s own standards. This was revealed in the long-awaited report by the independent complaints mechanism (ICM) of the FMO and the German development bank DEG, released on May 29. The report was published in response to a complaint filed by the M-10, the movement representing the affected indigenous Ngöbe population, in May 2014. Both ENDS has been supporting the M-10 in its struggle against the dam for years, and was one of the organisations that supported the complaint.
During the UNFCCC Climate Change Conference next week in Bonn, Both ENDS,Transparency International, Human Rights Watch and Carbon Market Watch will host the side event “Environmental and social accountability for results based finance - Lessons learned and ways forward’’. This event will discuss how lessons from International Financial Institutions can inform the design and operation of appropriate redress mechanisms for the Green Climate Fund and other private and public climate finance flows.
The currently negotiated Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the US and the EU (TTIP) is higly controversial and has ignited the public debate about the costs and benefits of globalisation to society at large. In the Netherlands, concerns are raised on transparency, the growing power of big companies and the consequences for the environment. But how should we view TTIP in the bigger picture around global free trade, the relation between the North and the South and the geopolitical dynamics behind free trade agreements? Yash Tandon addresses this and related subjects in his new book 'Trade is War – The West’s War Against the World', which he will present on the 3rd of June in Amsterdam.
The Dutch Entrepreneurial Development Bank (FMO) has put pressure on the Panamanian government to proceed with the construction of the Barro Blanco dam. This was reported by the Dutch Newspaper ‘de Volkskrant’ on Monday the 18th of May. Construction works were suspended last February after the Panamanian environmental authority had found out that the company carrying out the construction – the Panamanian company Genisa – had violated environmental regulations and had failed to make proper arrangements with local Ngöbe communities. FMO is one of the investors in the project.