Halls filled with booths, stands, professionally set up corners, wifi-spots. Big rooms where lectures, interactive sessions and workshops are held. People from all corners of the world and from different kinds of sectors (companies, government, and social organisations) are gathering here for five days. They have one thing in common: they are talking about water. The sixth World Water Forum in Marseille is about 'solutions'. For water issues, that is. Almost a billion people worldwide have to cope without clean drinking water.
By 2020, all EU countries must blend 10% of their transport fuels with renewable energy. In practice, these are mostly biofuels. Minister of State Joop Atsma is now trying to reach this percentage by 2016, even though a lot of studies show that biofuels made out of agricultural crops decrease food provision and cause deforestation. Four civil society organisations, including Both ENDS, are asking the Dutch Parliament to try and halt the Minister of State.
Both ENDS has developed a method to integrate gender issues into managing natural resources like land and water. Partner organisations AMICHOCÓ in Colombia, ANCE in Togo and BARCIK in Bangladesh have been using this method in their areas since 2010. Although women in these and many other areas are doing the same work as men, equal control of the production and management of resources doesn't yet exist. The approach Both ENDS uses is aimed towards expanding awareness of gender relations and the importance of equality by defining the problem and applying practical exercises.
Almost a billion people worldwide have to survive without clean drinking water and millions of people don't have proper sanitary provisions. This causes a lot of health risks. Managing water is a source of conflict in many areas and ill water management is one the biggest problems in providing clean water. From 12 until 17 March, Both ENDS will be attending the sixth World Water Forum (WWF) in Marseille which is held every three years since 1997. The theme this year is 'Time for Solutions'. At the WWF, deputies from local communities, together with NGO's, policy makers and companies will be searching for solutions for worldwide water issues.
"My idea of 'good' is that people can make decisions about their own development; that they are able to decide what happens to their environment. That we all respect the boundaries of our ecosystems and that women, just like men, are able to develop in the way that they want". Daniëlle Hirsch is responding to a question from the audience where she just gave a lecture on her views for a future sustainable economy.
Was the discovery of oil in Uganda in 2005 a blessing or a curse for its poor population? Meanwhile, it's become clear that oil exploitation is a great threat to people and the environment through corruption and misuse of natural resources. Frank Muramuzi of the Ugandan organisation NAPE visited Both ENDS on January 28th to talk about the threatened lakes in the Albertine oil rift. A number of western oil companies have a permit for mining in and around Lake Albert, resulting in large scale erosion. Chances are that Uganda will suffer from the lack of regulation and legislation around this topic, and like many African countries, will go down in the battle for oil. As members of the Ecosystem Alliance, NAPE, Both ENDS, IUCN NL and Friends of the Earth are actively involved in protecting this area.
This week, a special rapporteur of the United Nations spoke out against the opening of an open-pit coalmine in Phulbari in the northwestern part of Bangladesh. He did this because of the enormous human rights violations this project might lead to. A year ago, the International Accountability Project (IAP) presented a proposal for research on this subject to a number of UN Special Rapporteurs. Olivier de Schutter (UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food) has worked on the proposal since then. From the start, Both ENDS has been active within several networks that are trying to prevent the opening of this coalmine.
In Niger, farmers have turned no less than 5 million ha. of the Southern Sahelian provinces Maradi and Zinder green. They protected and assisted spontaneous regeneration of trees in and around their agricultural fields. Between January 12th and 20th, Both ENDS colleague Marie José van der Werff ten Bosch accompanied Chris Reij (CIS, VU University Amsterdam) to the south of Niger, to find out how farmers were able to regreen at such a large scale, and how their experiences can benefit other villages in the Sahel. Both ENDS, VU-CIS and the Centre Régional d'Enseignement Spécialisé en Agriculture (CRESA) have a joint project to spread the approach to the region of Dogondoutchi.
Between January 12th and 20th, Both ENDS colleague Marie José van der Werff ten Bosch accompanied Chris Reij (CIS, VU University Amsterdam) to the south of Niger, to see with her own eyes what Chris has been advocating for many years now: farmers have turned this dry part of the Sahel green.
In preparation for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20, which will take place in June, Both ENDS published a document in February to start the discussion on the progress of events. In this policy note, Both ENDS has made some suggestions to improve "the Future we want" which is the 'zero' draft of the negotiating document, in an effort to maximize the chance of a successful outcome of the conference.