News / 29 March 2024

Both ENDS visit Tweede Kamer to talk about destructiveness of dredging worldwide

This week several Both ENDS colleagues visit Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal to meet Christine Teunissen and Luc Stultiens with partners from Mozambique, Indonesia and the Filippines to talk about the destructiveness of dredging worldwide and especially in projects with the aid of the Dutch government.

Read their plea

Niels - Introduction

Thank you chairman and thank you to the members of parliament for your interest to hear stories from the ground about the negative impacts of export credits for the dredging sector.

Last Monday, we, 4 Dutch and 6 international civil society organisations, published the report Dredging destruction that you see in front of you. It reveals how Dutch dredging companies are systematically destroying human lives and the environment around the world with the help of taxpayers’ money. Between 2012 and 2023, The Netherlands provided 8.4 billion euros in insurance for dredging projects by Boskalis and Van Oord around the world. This is 32% of the total insured value. These projects are destroying human lives and the environment. The Dutch government’s policy to protect people and planet is failing systemically. After twelve years of studies and talking with Dutch ministries, Atradius and the dredging companies, there are no real improvements. It is time for a thorough clean-up of Dutch governmental support for the dredging sector.

Now you will hear from my colleagues Julio Ernesto from Mozambique, Muhammad Al Amin from Indonesia and Maria Sol Taule from the Philippines. Their organisations, like the other co-authors of the report, represent thousands of farmers and fisherfolk that have bore the brunt of large-scale dredging projects. In Cabo Del Gado Mozambique, the Dutch government awarded an insurance against the background of an unprecedentedly violent conflict that has displaced hundred of thousands of people. In Makassar, the Netherlands awarded an insurance to a project that resulted in the widespread destruction of marine ecosystems and fishing livelihoods. In Manila, the Netherlands has awarded an insurance to the New Manila International Airport that displaced hundreds of families in a context of one of the most repressive and violent regimes towards human rights activists, culminating in the abduction of two activists by armed forces in September 2023 who advocating for the rights of communities impacted by the airport project.

Amin’s talking point on the Dutch Parliament and Minister

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you behalf of the communities of Galesong, Takalar Indonesia. On this very excellent meeting, I would like to convey several things, especially how the fishermen and coastal women have been affected by the sea sand dredging project of Boskalis supported by the Dutch government.
The Boskalis dredging project in Indonesia was finished in 2017, but the impacts are still experienced by the community today, especially traditional fishermen and women. The most serious impact of this project is the eviction of 43 families at the reclamation site. Their homes and livelihoods were destroyed. They didn’t receive any compensation. Atradius didn’t consider these families to be living in the project area of Boskalis, however this is not true. They had to leave their homes and fishing grounds for a mosque and fancy houses to be build for the project. Boskalis also caused impacts to the marine ecosystem due to the sea sand dredging. Until now, thousands of traditional fishermen are still catching less fish then before the project was carried out. This is due to the destruction of the marine ecosystem, as fishermen depend on this ecosystem for their fishing areas. Now with climate change, the situation for the fishermen is getting even worse as the marine ecosystem served as a natural barrier against heavy waves. This natural barrier is now broken. Due to less fish catches and damaged houses, many fishermen had to migrate and become fishing boat laborers with a small income of 3 EUR per day.

In 2019, the Galesong fishermen and coastal women represented by WALHI South Sulawesi and Both ENDS filed a complaint to Atradius for their involvement in the project. The communities wish to receive support from the Dutch government to restore their livelihoods by creating new opportunities to fish in a traditional way, as they have been doing for generations. Also, we request Atradius and the Dutch government to change its social and environmental policies to prevent damages in the future. After a very long process, almost 5 years, the complaint process is almost finished. I request you to follow the results of this complaint closely and make sure the recommendations are implemented.

In conclusion, learning from the impact of the sand dredging project Makassar in 2017, this project is very destructive to vulnerable communities.
On behalf of the communities affected by the sand dredging project insured by Dutch public money (taxes of the Dutch people), I ask you to:


  • Assist affected communities by sea sand dredging projects via livelihood restoration programs.
  • Improve the social and environmental policy of Atradius to prevent environmental impacts, human rights violations, and impoverishment of vulnerable communities
  • Ensure that the social and environmental safeguard policies of Atradius are properly implemented.


Speech Julio

It is with great concern and sadness that I address this session, where everyone is well dressed and wearing suits under a nice building and air conditioning with all kinds of technology, while at the moment there are many children, women and people with disabilities who are starving and living in real misery, without a home, school or basic health services, and many people, populations are dying because of terrorism in Cabo Delgado, in the face of this the Dutch government and its companies are only concerned with exploiting the natural resources of my province!

I feel that developed countries, including the Netherlands, are taking advantage of the financial vulnerability of poor countries, offering disproportionate contracts to continue impoverishing poor countries, exploiting their resources through fabricated policies and narratives, as is happening in my country. Furthermore, the Dutch government seems to me to be running away from its responsibilities and throwing all the blame at the poor countries it calls its partners.

In 2019, we issued some recommendations on gender issues and other aspects in relation to the activities of Dutch companies involved in the Rovuma basin LNG project and we have yet to see any results from them.

In 2019, Atradius, the Dutch export credit agency, visited my region, Cabo Delgado, to carry out a socio-environmental and safety assessment so that your companies, like Van Oord, could receive its insurance and support. But the team that did this work went to the project area with a helicopter and bulletproof vests.

How can a team that wants to carry out a socio-environmental and safety assessment go into the field equipped like that? What results do you think this team could bring to report on the real situation in the region? Just to see, two years after that assessment, we had the situation of the occupation by terrorists in the town of Palma and other neighboring districts in the project area. Total evacuated its team, but the population was besieged and many of them were killed.

This shows that your lives are worth more than those of the people of that region, who are the real owners of the wealth you want to exploit. However, the Netherlands and the whole of Europe boast that they are the great defenders of human rights, but don't those people who are suffering and losing their lives have the right to live like you?

Furthermore, the conclusion of the proximities report, the assessment at the request of the Dutch parliament that will be published in 2022, stated that Atradius did not have the expertise for a safety assessment and Atradius ignored recommendations given by civil society in my country, for example the UPC, my organization. At the moment Atradius is re-evaluating the project and we are extremely concerned that the Proximities recommendations are not being implemented.

Dear Dutch parliamentarians, we have noticed the contracts you impose when investing in poor countries in the global south, especially in Africa. For example in the LNG project in the Rovuma basin, the balance weighs more heavily on the more developed countries to the detriment of the benefits for Mozambique, since TotalEnergies itself and its creditors stand to gain the most from this project.

Ladies and gentlemen, to conclude, I would like to know if you would be satisfied if Mozambicans came to your country to exploit resources, under the hypocritical conditions that you impose on us. Would you like it? Or do you think that Mozambicans are not human? Please let's show more solidarity when it comes to exploiting natural resources.

Niels - Conclusions and recommendations of the report

Chairman, in my 8 years experience at Both ENDS I have heard these stories over and over. And they still make me feel sick to my stomach. I can see these stories have also made an impression on you and the parliamentarians here today. Then how can it be that the Dutch government and the dredging companies don’t take action?

In 2018 a motion from the parliamentarians Alkaya and Van Raan (nr 26 485) was accepted that tried to break through the systemic failures. It requested the government to ensure that any application for export credit insurance is rejected when the risks of human rights violations or environmental damage are too high, regardless of the level playing field and the impact on applicant companies. This motion is clearly not put in practice. What do you think about that?

For those cases where the damage is done we request repairs, like in Makassar. In three of the seven cases described in our report, there is still the opportunity to do the right thing while the project is ongoing. These projects are bringing nothing but destruction to the communities and environment. We therefore call on you to urge the Dutch government to STOP the export credit support for the projects in Mozambique, the Philippines and the Maldives.

We must also think ahead in order to prevent any new export credit support for destructive dredging projects. Therefore we call on you and your legislative power to ensure alignment with the OECD guidelines, UN Guiding Principles, Biodiversity Frameworks and Sustainable Development Goals.

Concrete measures that should be taken are:

  • Strong implementation of the social and environmental policy of Atradius;
  • Adjusting the policy to
    • ensure public disclosure of all relevant environmental and human rights documentation and
    • ensure proper community consultations in which they are aware about the involvement of Dutch dredging companies and Atradius.
    • include a gender policy to assess and manage gender-specific adverse impacts
  • Reject requests for export credit support for projects that are planned in areas of high biodiversity importance, including in ecosystems of high ecological integrity.
  • Reject requests for export credit support for projects that have already been associated with human rights abuses or illegal environmental destruction.


>> Read the publication Dredging Destruction


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