The Dutch news programme Netwerk will be broadcasting two items called 'Stroom stinkt!' (Power stinks) today and on Thursday about the origin of coal used in the Netherlands. Many Dutch energy companies use coal from developing countries like South Africa and Colombia to generate electricity. The working conditions in mines are often very bad and coal mining has tremendous impact on the environment and local living conditions. Farmland is destroyed and ground- and drinking water become polluted with chemicals used in the mines. Both ENDS' partners from South Africa and Colombia tell their story in the broadcast.
Yesterday, the World Bank Global Environment Facility announced at a meeting of African leaders in Chad to devote 96 million Euros to the "Great Green Wall of the Sahara" initiative: a barrier of trees 7000 kilometer long and 15 kilometer wide which will be planted across 11 African countries, from Senegal to Djibouti. This Green Wall will have to slow down wind erosion and enhance rainwater infiltration. The idea for this Wall emerged five years ago. In July 2005, President Obasanjo, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, proposed to the Fifth Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU), an initiative for the establishment of a "Green Wall for the Sahara". At the time, the Heads of State requested the African Union Commission (AUC) to facilitate its formulation and implementation. However, because of lackof funds implementation had not yet begun.
Today, the 17th of June 2010, it's World Day to Combat Desertification. This year's theme is "Enhancing soils anywhere enhances life everywhere", in line with the International Year dedicated to Biodiversity. With this theme, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification aims to sensitize the public to the fact that desertification, land degradation and drought dramatically affect the biodiversity resident in the soil.
The Mekong is one of the world's major rivers. From Tibet this river runs through China's Yunnan province, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. The Mekong basin is after the Amazon the second richest area of biodiversity in the world. More than 1200 species of fish have been identified. It is also the home of the rare freshwater dolphin. But the region is in danger because of numerous dams being build. Come join us in a debate: 22 June 2010, 17:30 to 19:30, Nieuwspoort, The Hague.
On the 25th of March 2010, Both ENDS organised a Political Café on the social and environmental effects of coal mining in developing countries. Matthews Hlabane of the Green Revolutionary Council was our special guest of the evening. Coming from the mining city of Witbank, South Africa, he could share his first hand experience on the devastating effects of coal mining.
The World Bank Group is currently undertaking two major consultations one on their new Environment Strategy and the other on their Energy Strategy. Both ENDS has been asked to contribute feedback on these two policies. In follow up to its dialogue with the WBG Both ENDS delivered it's written response.
On March 25th Both ENDS from 18 - 20h Both ENDS organises a Political Café in het Nutshuis in The Hague. With interesting guests we will debate on Dutch energy and the effects of coal mining in developing countries. It is widely known that coal energy is bad for the environment. What many people don't realise is that Dutch used coal comes mainly from South Africa, Colombia and Indonesia, where mining causes great damage to people and the environment. That is why Both ENDS would like to debate this issue, you are more than welcome to join us!
Like many in the field of international development aid, Both ENDS eagerly awaited the recent publication of the WRR (Dutch Scientific Council for Government Policy) report, "Less Pretention, More Ambition". Both ENDS was especially interested in the areas relevant to its own mission and core competencies, i.e. supporting civil society organisations working in the fields of ecological sustainability and social justice.
On 7 December 2009 the overwhelming majority of the Hungarian Parliament voted to oppose the use of cyanide in gold mining. So doing, Hungary has set a new global environmental standard and can thus play a leading role in banning the use of cyanide in the European mining sector.
On December 21st our dear colleague and friend Glenn Switkes from International Rivers passed away very unexpectedly shortly after he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Only two months ago he contributed to a political café organised by Both ENDS in the Netherlands about the impact of infrastructural projects in the Amazon. He was strong as ever, full of energy, making a strong case clearly showing his years of experience.