With an overwhelming majority - 643 votes in favour, 20 against and 9 abstentions - a new law, which forces European export credit agencies (ECAs) to be more transparent about the environmental and social effects of transactions supported by ECAs, has just been approved of in the European Parliament. As of next year, all ECAs will have to deliver a report about this to the European Commission and the European Parliament on a yearly basis.
Both ENDS is a member of the ECA-Watch network, which monitors ECAs and stimulates more transparent, sustainable and socially just ECA-supported transactions. Clearly we are very pleased with the current developments and we hope that this will be a first step towards greener and fairer investment policies in the EU.
Last week, President Museveni announced that the government will not necessarily stick to its plan to clear one third of Mabira rainforest for the cultivation of sugar cane. The president said that his government is open to alternative ways to increase Uganda's sugar production. Before, Museveni had said that his decision was final, but pressured by national and international environmental activists (including Member of Parliament Beatrice Anywar) he agreed to consider other options.
Both ENDS and partner organisation Amichocó (Colombia), BARCIK (Bangladesh) and ANCE (Togo) acknowledge the important role of gender inequality in our work on environmental and development issues. We jointly set out to test a practical approach to mainstream gender in our work on natural resources management, each in its specific context and based on its specific ambition.
Both ENDS saw a lot of positive changes happen in 2010. Governments, research institutions, NGOs and businesses have a growing focus on 'green' strategies. Still, sustainability is not a matter of course in the current global economy. In order to reach that goal, a lot of work still needs to be done. Both ENDS intends to continue its work and efforts and show that change is possible. Many small steps can make great change. For more details on our activities in 2010 take a look at our Annual Report.
Currently a new highway is being constructed which will connect Hanoi (Vietnam) to Kunming (China). The project, partially financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), aims to stimulate economic development in the region throughout the construction of this "economic corridor".
Despite the fact that Laos recently let its neighboring countries know that the construction of the Xayaburi dam on the Mekong River would officially be put on hold, illegal construction activities appear to be taking place. In April this year, due to massive national and international protests, the Government of Laos felt obliged to suspend construction until the social and environmental impacts of the dam would be clearly examined. Around the spot where the dam was to be constructed however, people are being driven away from their land, a road has been built for the supply of building materials and forest is chopped down.
After 15 years of massive campaign by many organisations from Nepal and abroad, led by Nepalese NGO WAFED, the plans for the construction of the West Seti Dam in Nepal have been shelved. In 2010 the campaign had already forced the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to pull out from this project for its failure to comply with its own policy on information disclosure, public participation, environment, and the rights of indigenous people living in the affected area. The decision of the government of Nepal not to grant permission for construction to Australian construction company Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC) is yet another success.
Replanting a watershed with trees made possible by a micro loan of € 1000: ten years later, this investment still ensures that an entire community has clean drinking water. This small success was further discussed last April at 'Small Grants', a two-day event organized by Both ENDS.
In the course of centuries, traditions around the serving and drinking of tea have become a permanent feature of different cultures around the world. The production of tea however causes many problems: deforestation, soil and water pollution because of excessive use of pesticides, and tea pickers often working in bad working conditions with very low wages. On the 18th of July, a symposium called "Transforming Sri Lanka's Tea Sector To Meet New Market Realities" was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
In the three-part series Struggle Over the Nile, Al Jazeera examines the historical roots and present-day realities of conflicts regarding the Nile. The Nile is the world's longest river: a 7,000 km life-line for almost 400 million people. It is a source of sustenance, but also of tension - and even potential conflict.