Janet Awimbo, a Kenyan ecologist, presented the first copy of the booklet 'Imagining sustainability' to HRH Prince Willem-Alexander yesterday. In the booklet, which is a co-production of Both ENDS and Cordaid, are seven interviews with thinkers from the southern hemisphere. They all envision a green and fair economy in the future. Awimbo and the Prince of Orange met at the Rio aan de Maas event in Rotterdam. At the event, Both ENDS also organised a workshop where Janet Awimbo, Paul Wolvekamp (Both ENDS) and Maarten Hajer (Bureau for Environmental planning) spoke with each other and with the audience.
Large-scale soy production is causing continuous problems in South America such as land seizure, public health issues and loss of valuable natural areas. The Ecosystem Alliance - a cooperation of Both ENDS, IUCN NL and Wetlands International - enabled twenty South American civil society organisations to compose a plan together. The organisations are all directly or indirectly involved in soy issues. Both ENDS attended a meeting in Brazil at the end of March: participants from Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and the Netherlands gathered to identify communal problems and work towards a combined strategy to combat these.
In preparation of Rio+20 - the June 2012 UN summit on sustainability - the Dutch National Platform Rio+20 organises the pre-event, 'Rio aan de Maas'. On the 30th of May policy makers, entrepreneurs and citizens will share and experience local initiatives for global sustainability in the Van Nelle Fabriek in Rotterdam. Both ENDS and Cordaid are organising the workshop 'Visions from the South' and will launch the book 'Imagining Sustainability'.
The Netherlands follow the United Kingdom and became the second country where 'good gold' is being sold. On May 7th the official launch of 'Fairtrade-Fairmined gold' took place in Amsterdam. Highlight was the handover of the first golden bracelet with this certificate to Katja Römer-Schuurman by a Peruvian miner. The bracelet is symbolic for good gold and will be worn with pride by Römer-Schuurman. "The circle is now complete", says Lina Villa, director of the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM), who was involved in the project since the beginning.
As negotiations were held by European policymakers today about a possible capital increase of the European Investment Bank (EIB), a press release was issued by Counter Balance: a coalition of Both ENDS and European NGO's that monitor the EIB. As long as it's not clearly evident where the loaned money goes and no conditions are set for advancing the support of sustainable projects, the EIB is not ready for such an expansion according to the involved organisations.
Megaprojects in South America like large dams and mines are a threat to the natural habitat of indigenous tribes. Cross Cultural Bridges - in cooperation with Both ENDS - therefore started a two-year project to encourage young indigenous leaders in the Amazon and Andes area to defend their rights. Ralph Schreinemachers of Cross Cultural Bridges came to visit Both ENDS to report on the project that he participated in as a trainer.
Since the nineties, the production of red bush tea in South Africa has grown enormously: over 4500 people now live off of tea production. Red bush can only be grown in South Africa because of its unique ecosystem. The entire world market for red bush tea depends on South Africa. However, climate change causes increasing heat and drought which endangers red bush production. The Environmental Monitoring Group (EMG) from Cape Town - a Both ENDS partner - supports farmers who aim to develop sustainable production techniques.
For small-scale farmers in development countries it's getting increasingly more difficult to compete with large-scale agricultural companies that have popped up all around the world in the past decades. The exhibition Sanlog! will be on display in the city of Bacolod in the Philippines until the end of May. This exhibition offers insight into the way in which the indigenous population uses its natural habitat in a sustainable manner. The photos and artifacts show how sustainable production techniques have been used for centuries and may serve as an inspiration for the rest of the population.
Sustainable trade and production initiatives are interesting steps on the way to sustainability. In the past years, Both ENDS has been involved in several sustainability initiatives, such as Fair Flowers and Fair Plants, Forest Garden Tea and the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Likewise, through our network of locally-based partner organizations, we monitor the consequences of global trade in general and the development of sustainability initiatives in particular. Both ENDS and partner organizations have in-depth knowledge about the diversity of challenges that sustainability initiatives face
Ikal Angelei, founder of Friends of Lake Turkana in Kenya, a partner organisation of Both ENDS, received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize this week for her battle against the construction of the infamous Gibe 3 dam in Ethiopia. The construction of this dam would severely damage the ecosystem around Lake Turkana and have disastrous consequences for the indigenous people and their natural habitat.