Our West-African partners in Integral Water Resource Management are rapidly taking steps forward. In Lomé (Togo) they have founded their own regional headquarters. The proud name of the center is ‘AfriwaterCoP’ ( Community of Practice). They strive to bring together stakeholders such as farmers, fishermen, companies and authorities for fair and sustainable use of river water. Slowly but surely they also convince more and more government officials that all these stakeholders should be able to think along and take part in the decision process. This should be adopted in rules and regulations of regional and national law in the concerning provinces and states.
The impacts of climate change are largely mediated by water. Changes in precipitation and glacial melt patterns, variations in river flow, increased occurrence of droughts and floods, and sea level rise all impact both urban and rural communities in developed, emerging, and especially developing countries. The book:'Adaptation to Climate Change through Water Management: Capacity, Equity and Sustainability' presents evidence of the emerging wealth of knowledge and experience on adaptation to climate change from across the world. It identifies common barriers and bridges for local adaptation to climate change through water resources management, looking at adaptive capacity, equity, and sustainability.
Signed by ministers of Togo and Benin, the transboundary Mono River will now have an institutional structure to discuss the management of this basin: the Mono River Basin Authority (MBA). Based on our Negotiated Approach, our partner JVE has from the start successfully engaged in the set up of this authority, advocating for the inclusion of all stakeholders in the future decision-making processes of the MBA.
Just before being elected president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker from Luxemburg, has spoken out against ISDS. The ‘Investor to State Dispute Settlement’ would be a part of the proposed EU-US trade agreement TTIP. It would deal with conflicts between investors that feel disadvantaged and states they hold responsible. Those conflicts would not be taken to regular courts but to a special dispute settlement tribunal. Mr Juncker is clearly opposed to such a provision.
The Mekong River - one of the most important rivers in Asia - is under great threat. Laos, Thailand and Cambodia want to build eleven large hydropower dams on the river’s mainstream. These dams would disrupt the river and jeopardise the lives of millions of people who depend on it for their livelihood. On June 26, Ministers of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam will gather on a meeting of the Mekong River Commission Council (MRC) in Bangkok. The MRC is responsible for the management of the river basin.This is why the ‘Save the Mekong coalition’ – a coalition of NGO’s - has issued a statement, calling upon the Prime Ministers to work together to address the economic and ecological threats these dams will pose.
Global public support for coal is decreasing. Obama has pledged to stop American support for public financing of new coal plants outside the U.S., the World Bank has announced to phase out support for coal projects and some large private banks are withdrawing from fossil fuels. But what about export credit agencies (ECAs)? Until now, ECAs have not withdrawn from coal projects. On the contrary: while other investors gradually cease their support to coal projects, export credit agencies are investing in coal more than ever. On June 11, an alliance of 50 NGOs, including Both ENDS, published a recommendation to the OECD calling for an end to export credit support for coal.
For the very first time, the expert panel of the independent complaints mechanism of the Dutch development bank FMO will handle a complaint. It was filed on May 5 by residents of the area where the Barro Blanco dam is currently being built. These people form part of the indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé tribe. They feel that FMO has not adhered to its own social and environmental standards when they lent 25 million US dollars to build the dam. Anouk Franck of Both ENDS has been keeping a close eye on the situation.
At the beginning of this century, Jatropha Curcas made its name as the miracle tree. Jatropha was easy to grow in dry areas, the seeds could be used for biofuel and since Jatropha trees - like all trees and plants - absorb CO2, growing the tree would contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In one stroke the solution to climate change, energy scarcity and underdevelopment would be within reach. Investors lined up to invest in large-scale Jatropha cultivation, especially in Africa. Ten years later, the miracle turned out to be a mirage.
This week the brand new South-African website ‘EMG’s Untold Stories’ was launched. On the website, author Leonie Joubert gives a voice to different people who work to improve their environment, together with the South African organization ‘Environmental Monitoring Group’ (EMG). Each of the four stories collected by Joubert focuses on a different aspect of the work EMG does to ensure that South African natural resources are managed in a sustainable and equitable way. The online book has been published as part of the Both ENDS’s project ‘An Untold Story’, which gives human rights and environmental organisations from four different corners of the world a chance to tell their story about the impact the global economy has on their local environment.
On 22 May European citizens will head to the polls to vote for the European Parliament. The outcome will have a major impact on the policies emanating from Brussels. These elections are not just about the choice for or against Europe, but about what kind of Europe we want. Trade and investment policy is an important part of the European project. Up till now however, this policy has not served people and planet. Curious which politicians will commit themselves to a fair and sustainable European trade and investment policy? Take a look at the list of candidates for the European Parliament who have signed the pledge of the Alternative Trade Mandate alliance.