The Netherlands does not reach target for responsible soy
The Dutch Soy Coalition (consisting of eight development and environmental organisations*) finds that in 2013 only a quarter of the 2.4 million tons of soy used in the Netherlands is responsibly produced. The social or environmental impacts of the production of the other three quarters of Dutch soy imports are not at all clear or accounted for. The target set by the Netherlands is to purchase 100 percent responsible soy by 2015. This will be almost impossible to achieve at this point.
The port of Suape in Brazil is currently being expanded and dredged, with damaging implications for the local population and environment. The Dutch dredging company Van Oord executes a large proportion of the dredging-work, supported by export credit insurance from the Dutch export credit insurance agency Atradius DSB. Correspondent Katy Sherriff has made several reports in the area, which will be aired on Dutch radio in ‘Reporter’ on Sunday. Her story will be accompanied by live commentary from the studio, from Dutch political party PvdA-member Jan Vos and Both ENDS’ own Wiert Wiertsema.
Many of our food products contain palm oil and soy in one form or another. To meet the growing demand, they are being cultivated on an increasingly large scale. This has unfortunately been the cause of many problems. Deforestation, environmental pollution and ‘land-grabbing’ are rampant in South-East Asia and South America. Of course, these paractices should stop. But what are the most sustainable, ethical, and – above all – feasible ways to achieve this? And how do you get all parties to cooperate? To explore the answers to these questions, the Ecosystem Alliance (Both ENDS, IUCN NL and Wetlands International) is organising a conference on October 30.
Large-scale plans made by governments or companies can often have profound effects on small communities and their environment. Countless people have to move if a dam is built, forests are cleared for new highways, airports or palm oil plantations. Promised compensation is often incomplete or not given at all. For local communities, objecting to such plans is not easy. Nevertheless a community in Uganda has managed to receive fair compensation from the government. Together with the organisations NAPE and AFIEGO, partners of Both ENDS and IUCN NL, the community has persuaded the government to buy new land for those who are forced to move.
Whenever deforestation is mentioned, most people will automatically think of the Amazon rainforest. In Argentina, however, the disappearance of its forests has also become a pressing problem. In the province of Salta, for example, the deforestation level is the highest. Between 1998 and 2006, the amount of lost hectares of forests has doubled there. The culprit to this problem is the country’s agricultural activities.
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.
The successes of Both ENDS’ work are usually the result of prolonged efforts. The same goes for our endeavours in Suape, Brazil. This week, Wiert Wiertsema and a representative from partner-organisation SOMO took off to Brazil to support another milestone. Around thirty parties from different states in the country, including environmental organisations, lawyers and of course, representatives of the Forum Suape as well, gathered in the port. This shows that the social movement that has risen as a reaction to the disastrous expansion of the port and industrialisation is also slowly taking shape elsewhere in Brazil. The saga of Suape seems to have become a stone cast in the pond of Brazilian environmental politics.
The African Development Bank (AfDB), which was founded in 1964 to stimulate economic development in Africa, has had a complaints mechanism since 2006. Individuals who have somehow been affected by projects financed by the AfDB can make an appeal to this mechanism. Yet, according to a large number of African and international organisations, this system has its weaknesses and there is much to improve. How exactly? Well, the organisations have recently presented their recommendations to the AfDB. Anouk Franck of Both ENDS coordinated this process.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has announced a worrying change in their policy on transparency. One of the changes would result in EU citizens no longer being able to access internal EIB documents, even if they are of public interest. Several campaigners, including Both ENDS’ Pieter Jansen, have therefore urged the the Dutch Minister of Finance Jeroen Dijsselbloem to speak out against these plans on the next board meeting on September 16th.
The publication ‘The strength of lobbying and advocacy’ is now available in English. This makes the information accessible to everyone who tries to improve the policies of companies, investors and governments, anywhere in the world. The booklet contains 10 success factors as well as policy recommendations which are based on the experiences of the Fair, Green and Global Alliance.