At first glance, a dam in Uganda and a paper mill in Brazil don't seem to have much in common. Nevertheless, both projects are financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and both projects have a significant impact on the environment and the local population. The European Union is said to have great ambitions for the climate summit in Copenhagen, to be held in December.
The World Bank, an institution that aspires to achieve global sustainable development, now wants to position itself as an environmental bank. This role does not seem like a natural fit and is inconsistent with the implementation of its policies. So, for example, its climate investment funds' criteria are not ambitious enough to realise a transition to (real) renewable energy.
Take yourself on a trip back in time. Go to Mar del Plata, Argentina, in the year 1977. A high profile international conference is taking place under the auspices of the United Nations, full of hope and burdened with lofty aims. In that year, only 20% of the world's rural population in developing countries had access to safe drinking water.
Within the context of the upcoming G-20 summit in the United States, Both ENDS, SOMO, Tax Justice and Oxfam Novib wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Balkenende. On September 24-25 he will represent the Netherlands in meetings with nineteen world leaders and heads of international financial institutions about combating the global crisis.
The World Bank has agreed to suspend all new investments in the palm oil industry by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) - an independent body within the World Bank focused on the private sector - with immediate effect. In a letter to Both ENDS' partner Forest Peoples Programme, Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, writes that all existing investments will be re-examined, pending a number of guarantees that must limit damage to humans and the environment.
Negusu Aklilu from Forum for Environment is voted one of Ethiopia's most influential people by Addis Neger, Ethiopia's largest newspaper. He is honoured for his work on putting Africa - the continent hardest hit by climate change - on the international climate calendar by coordinating the African Climate Appeal. This appeal states that African countries should be compensated for the effects of climate change, caused by green house gasses emitted by developed countries. He has been at the forefront in signing the Appeal together with the 2004 Peace Nobel Laureate and environmentalist Wangari Mathai.
Soy, sugar and wood - the Netherlands and Brasil are riding the wave. Thousands of ships transport millions of tons of merchandise from the Amazon to Rotterdam harbour every year. The Rio Madeira basin, one of the main waterways in the Brazilian rainforest, is threatening to become overwhelmed by the large roads, big dams, and new ports and polluting factories. This infrastructure is intended to stimulate export, but economic development here is fast becoming completely out of balance with social and ecological integrity. As a major trading partner of Brazil, what can the Netherlands do? Wednesday, September 30 from 17h30 - 19h30 Both ENDS is organising a Political Cafe at the Nutshuis in The Hague.
The 17th session of the Commission for Sustainable Development of the United Nations (UNCSD) took place in New York in May. This session, which commenced last year, was continued by Gerda Verburg, the Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. The subjects on the agenda at this 17th session were Africa, Agriculture, Drought & Desertification, Rural Development and Land. Both ENDS was present in New York to follow the negotiations.
Last Wednesday, just before the summer recess, the Tweede Kamer (the Dutch Lower House) discussed Minister Koenders's policy memorandum: "Samen werken aan mondiale uitdagingen, Nederland en multilaterale ontwikkelingssamenwerking" (Working together on global challenges; the Netherlands and multilateral development cooperation). With 'multilateral' Koenders refers to the UN, Multilateral Financial Institutions (MFIs) such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and a number of global funds.
Friday the 3rd of July Both ENDS facilitates a CERES Summer School workshop on the Impact and Drivers of Biofuel Production. Session 1 from 10.00-12.00h and session 2 13.30 - 15.30h are held at the Spinoza Building of the Radboud University in Nijmegen.