A rights based analysis of the zero draft of the Rio+20 document
In preparation for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20, which will take place in June, Both ENDS published a document in February to start the discussion on the progress of events. In this policy note, Both ENDS has made some suggestions to improve "the Future we want" which is the 'zero' draft of the negotiating document, in an effort to maximize the chance of a successful outcome of the conference.
Although the global focus on sustainable development has increased significantly since Rio 1992 and has led to international negotiations and national debate, few measures are now legally binding or linked to accountability mechanisms and the Rio agreements have met with very limited implementation. This is alarming because meanwhile ecological degradation and poverty is only expanding. In order to honour the agreements of 1992, the zero draft should be an evaluation of the progress of the agreements until now and monitor which areas require further attention.
Social and cultural value of nature
Although the zero draft refers to the 27 basic principles laid down in Rio '92, it focuses mainly on the Green Economy, the new discourse on sustainable development. It focuses on the link between economic interests and environmental protection and hereby does not acknowledge the social and cultural bond people have with nature: the environment is represented as instrumental to the economic development of people. This instrumentalist approach of the zero draft is insufficient; as agreed in 1992, sustainable development requires an integral approach addressing the ecological, economic and social dimension at the same time. This should be the guiding principle for the Rio +20 negotiations.
Right to sustainability
Since 1992 there have been new insights and developments in the discourse on human rights. The term 'development' is being redefined to a right for every individual person. This redefinition has implications for policies and their implementation: because development is now a general human right, no one can be excluded from policies. All people have the right to sustainable development. Along this line, some remarkable documents have departed from the human right to sustainability. They are based upon extensive consultation and participation from stakeholders. These international documents, such as the Earth Charter, IAASTD and the recommendations of the World Commission on Dams lack formal recognition by the international community. Rio+20 should get these documents out of the policy limbo if they are to play the role they were designed for.
People, the private sector and NGOs should all play a role to achieve sustainability. The global action for the transition towards sustainable development lies with the international community and therefore with the UN and the national governments. However, within the UN there is no central coordination, nor a clear division of roles regarding sustainable development. The clarification of this responsibility is lacking in the current draft. Finally, the Rio+20 conference should conclude with a roadmap that consists of politically binding targets in order to meet global Sustainable Development Goals that reflect an integrated and balanced treatment of the three dimensions of sustainable development.
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News / 19 October 2020
Both ENDS together with 13 other Dutch NGOs and trade unions have written to the Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation to express their deep concerns over the hasty approval of the so-called Omnibus Law on Job Creation by the Indonesian parliament.
External link / 19 October 2020
Countries might face a wave of cases from transnational corporations suing governments over actions taken to respond to the Covid pandemic using a system known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. In June 2020, 630 organisations already called on governments to urgently take action to shut down this threat. With this video we invigorate this message, as the threat, unfortunately, has not decreased.
News / 16 October 2020
To Eric Wirsiy, director of CENDEP, the importance of forests is clear: not only do they function as a "free supermarket", providing foods and other things to local communities, but they are crucial to make landscapes resilient to climate change and other impacts.
News / 15 October 2020
Institut Dayakologi works to preserve Indigenous Peoples' livelihoods and cultures in West Kalimantan. One of their central goals is to gain ancestral land rights for Indigenous communities. This is not only essential for the security of these communities, but also for the forests and ecosystems on which they depend for their livelihood, identity, culture and customs.
News / 21 September 2020
The Pantanal, the world's largest freshwater wetland, is suffering exceptionally devastating forest fires, mostly caused by human activities. Over the past few months, an area as big as Northern Ireland has burned down. Both ENDS's partner organisations call for attention for this ecological and social disaster.
Press release / 18 September 2020
Boskalis doesn’t have to share documents on controversial project; fishing communities will not get crucial information
18 september - The court in Rotterdam today ruled that Dutch dredging company Boskalis does not have to make information on the social and environmental risks of its sand extraction operations in the coastal zone near Makassar, Indonesia, available to local fishing communities affected by the activities. Environmental and human rights organisation Both ENDS had initiated legal action against the company. The court declared Both ENDS inadmissible and did not consider the case. Both ENDS brought the action on behalf of Indonesian fishing communities after Boskalis had rejected repeated requests to provide information on the impact of its activities.
News / 18 September 2020
On September 16, 9 members of the Save Bugoma Forest Campaign in Uganda have been arrested. One of them works for AFIEGO, a partner organization of Both ENDS. The members of the Save Bugoma Forest campaign were in the Hoima province to take part in a peaceful demonstration aimed at stopping the destruction of Bugoma forest for sugarcane growing and oil activities.
Press release / 11 September 2020
100+ NGOs launch #Together4Forests urging EU action
Fires raging in the Amazon are started deliberately to make way for large-scale industrial agriculture – and EU market demand for commodities produced on former-forest land is adding fuel to the fires. Globally, the EU is responsible for over 10% of forest destruction through its consumption of commodities like meat, dairy, soy for animal feed, palm oil, coffee and cacao.
News / 11 September 2020
The world's forests are under threat. Remaining forests – havens of precious biodiversity and the lungs of the planet – are being cleared to make way for beef, soy, sugar and palm oil production, mining and other industrial activities, fuelled by increasing demand from Europe and other countries. But the good news is: you can help stop the destruction!
Press release / 1 September 2020
Both ENDS brings legal action against Dutch dredging company on behalf of fisherfolk in South Sulawesi
Environment and human rights organisation Both ENDS is bringing legal action against Boskalis, after the Dutch dredging company continually ignored requests for information on a controversial sand extraction project in South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Boskalis is extracting sand off the coast of Sulawesi for expansion of the port in the capital, Makassar. The extraction activities are affecting fishing grounds, making it impossible for local fisherfolk to earn their livelihoods.
Press release / 26 August 2020
Dutch pension money is invested heavily in companies that contribute to deforestation in the Amazon region and the Cerrado savanna in Brazil, such as soy, animal feed and beef companies. This is concluded in a report published today by Profundo, commisioned by the Fair Finance Guide, Hivos and Both ENDS. All ten pension funds that were examined invest in these types of companies, with the ABP pension fund and Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn on top with investments worth EUR 580 million and EUR 383 million respectively.
Publication / 26 August 2020
News / 21 July 2020
At the end of last week, oil and gas company Total announced that, through its export credit insurer Atradius DSB, the Dutch government is participating in a funding package for a controversial gas extraction project in Mozambique. The project, in which various Dutch and foreign companies are involved, is having a deep impact on the local population and the natural environment in the area. Which Dutch companies the government will be insuring is not yet clear.
News / 10 July 2020
Dutch development bank FMO is considering investing in the controversial Ficohsa bank in Honduras. The bank has close ties with the elite in Honduras, which holds considerable power in politics, the (para)military and the business community. Last Wednesday, a number of Honduran organisations, including the indigenous organisation COPINH – whose leader Berta Cáceres was murdered in 2016 – sent a letter to the FMO management. The letter, signed by forty organisations including Both ENDS, calls on FMO not to do business with this bank.
Blog / 7 July 2020By Eva Schmitz
Pernambuco, is in the extreme northeast of Brazil, is one of the country's poorest regions. One of the most important projects aimed at stimulating development in the state is the expansion of the deep-sea port of Suape, complete with an oil refinery and shipyards. The port covers an enormous area; at 13,500 hectares it is bigger than all the different sites of the port of Rotterdam together. Unfortunately, the port lies in the middle of an exceptional and vulnerable ecosystem of mangrove forests and Atlantic rainforest, which are under serious threat from the expansion. Furthermore, the livelihoods of the approximately 25,000 people living in the area are at risk. Most of these people are so called 'traditional communities' of artisanal fisher folk including a number of Quilombola communities whose inhabitants are descended from enslaved people who have lived in this lands for hundreds of years. The communities' fishing catch is visibly declining as a consequence of industrial pollution, the most serious case of which was the oil spill that badly affected the whole coast of Northeast Brazil at the end of last year.
News / 30 June 2020
Almost 40 civil society organisations and networks from around the world, including Both ENDS, today sent a letter to Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag and State Secretary for Finance Hans Vijlbrief. They are asking the ministers to ensure that the expansion of export credit insurance as a result of the Corona crisis contributes to a green recovery.
News / 29 June 2020
On 23 July 2020 a global network of NGOs working to strengthen corporate accountability for environmental destruction and human rights abuses, including Both ENDS, published an open letter to European Commission DG Justice Commissioner Reynders. The letter is a response to his recent commitment to propose legislation in 2021 on both corporate due diligence and directors’ duties as part of an initiative on sustainable corporate governance.
Press release / 29 June 2020
Germany must use its influence as president of the EU in the second half of this year to ensure that the controversial EU-Mercosur free trade agreement is not signed. This is the message in a letter presented to German chancellor Angela Merkel today by 265 civil society and environmental organisations from the EU and Mercosur countries. The deal between the EU and Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay will stimulate destruction of the natural environment and the violation of human rights in vulnerable areas in South America. The agreement will also give European farmers an unfair competitive advantage. Dutch signatories to the letter include Greenpeace and Both ENDS and various organisations united in the Handel Anders! coalition.
News / 26 June 2020
Countries could be facing a wave of cases from transnational corporations suing governments over actions taken to respond to the Covid pandemic using a system known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS. Cases could arise from actions that many governments have taken to save lives, stem the pandemic, protect jobs, counter economic disaster and ensure peoples' basic needs are met. Threats of cases have already been made in Peru over the suspension of charging on toll roads, and law firms are actively advising corporations of the options open to them. 630 organisations from across the world, representing hundreds of millions of people, are calling on governments in an open letter to urgently take action to shut down this threat. The letter below is published today.
Press release / 22 June 2020
Amsterdam, Copenhagen 22 June 2020 – In these times of increasing climate crisis, corporate social responsibility also means that investments in fossil gas must be phased out as quickly as possible. In a world in which a maximum temperature rise of 1.5 Celsius is the norm, fossil gas cannot be a 'transition fuel' towards sustainable energy. This is the message from five European environmental organisations (Both ENDS, the Danish AnsvarligFremtid, Fossil Free Sweden, Fossil Free Berlin and the Italian Re:Common) to pension funds in their countries that still invest in fossil gas companies. They are promoting that message with a new campaign called "Gas Free Pensions", which is being launched today.