Dear Mr. Balkenende,
From the 16th till the 22nd of March Istanbul is the stage for the fifth World Water Forum. The World Water Forum is the main water-related event in the world, aimed at putting water firmly on the international agenda. A stepping stone towards global collaboration on water problems, the Forum offers the water community and policy-and-decision-makers from all over the world the unique opportunity to come together to achieve water security. Both ENDS is present at the Forum and participates on three levels.
On April 2, 2009 the G-20 - the 20 countries with the largest national economies in the world - will be meeting to discuss new, (mostly) short term solutions for the financial crisis. The Netherlands is not a member country, but will be allowed to sit in. But which long term changes should Balkenende be advocating? To inspire him Both ENDS organises on wednesday March 25th, 2009 a Crisis Café: 'De Duurzame Daalder'.
During the Political Café on the integration of the right to water and sanitation (RTWS) in European development policies, organised by Both ENDS on the 17th of December 2008, Southern NGO representatives from Umzabalaso We Jubilee (South Africa) and FANCA (Costa Rica) exposed the importance of a rights-based approach in the water and sanitation sector in the South.
Recently Both ENDS is getting part of her energy directly from the sun. On the roof of the office in Amsterdam nineteen solar panels have been installed by Energieker. A young company specialized in alternative sustainable energy for the consumer market. The local Amsterdam broadcasting company AT5 made a short clip.
A highly critical report on the Bujagali Dam was recently released by the World Bank Inspection Panel - the independent investigation body of the World Bank. The controversial Bujagali Dam, a US$860 million hydropower dam under construction in Uganda, is co-financed by the World Bank and the African Development Bank. Unfortunately the report of the Inspection Panel has done little to change the commitment of the World Bank in funding the dam. Nor will it implement any fundamental changes in response to the indicated problems.
The Biodiversity and Natural Resources Task Force, led by Hans Alders, was launched on January 23. Daniëlle Hirsch, Director Both ENDS, will be taking on the challenge with top professionals from the business world, the science sector, the civil government and civil society organisations. The Task Force would like to develop a vision for how the Netherlands can reduce its impact on natural resources.
Life & Garden, a Dutch national garden centre, will be presenting the first sustainably produced orchid to Minister Cramer, the Dutch Minister of Environment and Spatial Planning on January 26.
Both ENDS introduced process to develop a land Dispute Settlement Facility under the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil during RSPO Round Table 6 in Bali.
Together with our colleague organisations BankTrack; OxfamNovib; Tax Justice Nederland; Milieudefensie and the Vereniging van Beleggers voor Duurzame-Ontwikkeling Both ENDS wrote an open letter to Dutch Minister Bos. The daily newspaper `de Volkskrant', published a summary of this letter on December 19th (in Dutch):