Celebrating the River Paraguay
Each year on the 14th of November, in the Brazilian city of Cáceres the 'Day of the Paraguay River' (Dia do Rio Paraguai) is celebrated. This tradition started in the year 2000, when civil society mobilized for the first time and successfully campaigned against the construction of the Hidrovía Paraguay-Paraná. Since then, the date symbolizes the close relationship of the people with the river, its culture and the environment.
The wetlands system of the Paraguay and Paraná rivers constitutes the largest living freshwater wetland in the world. It is a supplier of water for human consumption and irrigation for agriculture, and provides freshwater and food for the millions of people living along its margins. It has a regulating role in water levels of the rivers of the system, and plays a crucial role in continental and global climate control and local adaptation strategies.
River defines identity of its people
On the 'Dia do Rio Paraguai' of 2018, civil society (CSOs, NGOs and members of local riverine and indigenous communities) from several countries along the Paraguay river (Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay) came together, among them many partners of the Wetlands Without Borders programme. They use the day not only to raise awareness about the threats to the river, such as mining, large-scale agriculture, dams and canalization of the river, but also to stress the close relationship that the people living along its shore feel with the river.
The river is not only an ecosystem they depend on for their livelihoods; it also defines for a large part their culture and identity. Therefore, on the Dia do Rio Paraguai the river is being celebrated with songs, dances and rituals.
Development of sustainable alternatives
In the Wetlands without Borders programme, a large network of civil society organisations work together to develop sustainable economic activities, such as agroecology. These alternatives can provide livelihoods for the riverine communities, protect and strengthen the ecosystem of the Pantanal wetlands area and build resilience to the effects of climate change, in which wetlands play an important role.
Furthermore, the regional network of organisations is developing the concept of biocultural corridors. The idea of biocultural corridors proposes the restoration of waterbodies (small streams, rivers, lakes, springs) that flow towards the wetlands system of La Plata Basin and to the Alto Paraná River. The restored corridors, once implemented, will recover the connection between the ecosystem pockets and therefore restore and strengthen their biological and cultural functions.
The local partners used the Dia do Rio Paraguai to develop these sustainable alternatives further and present them to the communities taking part in the festivities of the day.
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With our Wetlands without Borders program, we work towards environmentally sustainable and socially responsible governance of the wetlands system of the La Plata Basin in South America.
Blog / 2 February 2022
On World Wetlands Day communities throughout the La Plata Basin are asking for support in their fight for their endangered wetland ecosystemsBy Eva Schmitz
The new year has barely begun but already record high summer temperatures are being reported in parts of South America, especially Argentina, Paraguay and Southern Brazil. The latest heatwave, with temperatures of up to 45C, arrives on top of two years of severe drought which had a devastating effect on the entire region. It is a painful reminder of the immediacy of climate change and emblematic for what happens when vital ecosystems are not protected and for the catastrophic consequences as much on already endangered wildlife as on the local communities who depend on them for their livelihoods. One of the most affected areas are the regions wetlands – unique ecosystems, which are crucial ecological pressure points, vital for the regulation of river systems and huge carbon sinks. Their loss not only has ecological impacts but affects thousands of local communities which depend on their health for fishing, tourism and local agriculture. The threat to them by for example droughts and fires, can be directly linked to the large-scale production of soy, produced mainly for export. This in turn means responsibility for what is happening in the region needs to be acknowledged and shared by leaders around the world, and especially large importers such as the Netherlands.
News / 15 June 2023
Even a region like the South American La Plata Basin, known for it's majestic rivers and wetlands, is struggling with drought. A group of organisations united in the Wetlands without Borders network strive to turn the tide.
External link / 19 June 2020
A popular committee succeeded in preventing a licence for a hydrodam in the river Jauquara, Brazil. Building a transnational people's movement to protect the wetland ecosystem: that's what the Wetlands Without Borders programme is all about. "Being connected provides a lifeline for communities."
News / 26 September 2018
Good news from Brazil! The National Water Agency (ANA) has stopped issuing new permits for the construction of hydroelectric dams in the Brazilian Paraguay river basin, which is part of the Pantanal wetlands in South-America. The suspension will last at least until May 2020, after the publication of a comprehensive socio-economic and environmental impact assessment that the ANA started in 2016.
News / 26 August 2022
In Argentina, the wetlands of the Paraná Delta are burning. The fires, caused by human activity and aggrevated by climate change, clearly show the wetlands need protection. The Argentinian organisations that form part of the Wetlands without Borders programme are therefore calling for a strong "Ley de Humedales", a Wetlands Law.
External link / 24 August 2022
Fundamentally changing the current food and agricultural system towards greater ecological sustainability, social justice, and resilience is a top priority for Both ENDS and our partners worldwide. Together, we are contributing to the growing global movement for agroecology. As part of the Wetlands without Borders programme, partners across the La Plata Basin region of South America further expanded the agroecological practices as a key strategy to strengthen livelihoods, fight deforestation, and conserve the region's vitally important wetlands.
Large-scale infrastructural projects have detrimental effects on local people and the environment, while their benefits are felt elsewhere. Both ENDS is working to ensure that local people have a greater say in decision-making and is investigating the way these projects are funded.
The rising demand for soy is having negative consequences for people and the environment in South America. Both ENDS reminds Dutch actors in the soy industry of their responsibilities and is working with partners on fair and sustainable alternatives.
News / 13 April 2015
For several decades, Both ENDS has been closely following the developments in this large water area in the centre of South America. We work closely with organisations which aim to ensure that the local population knows about these developments and, if necessary, protect it from these changes. But why is this area both so special and important for the whole of South America? And what exactly is threatening this area? C. Cornell Evers, independent photographer and writer, spoke with Tamara Mohr of Both ENDS and Sander van Andel of IUCN to find answers. The result of this meeting is an interesting interview.
Publication / 2 December 2014
External link / 20 January 2022
The Wetlands without Borders programme aims to preserve the biodiversity of the La Plata Basin and the sustainable livelihoods of its communities. Preservation of the La Plata Basin is essential for protecting the region from flood and drought, and preserving the quality of life of its inhabitants. Click here for the programme's website and for the latest information.
News / 14 June 2023
For decades, the local partner organisations of Both ENDS have been developing and promoting ways to fight land degradation, desertification and drought in their surroundings. And this accounts not only for regions like the Sahel, but also for forests and wetlands. To celebrate the UNCCD's Desertification and Drought Day 2023, we'd like to show a few examples of how our partners restore ecosystems to serve the well-being of people and the environment.
Blog / 28 May 2020
The Rio de la Plata Basin in South America extends across Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The livelihoods of the millions of people who live there – city-dwellers, small farmers and fishers, and indigenous peoples – are under pressure from soya cultivation, mining and logging, and by the construction of dams and ports. The COVID-19 crisis is making the situation even worse.
News / 3 February 2022
In the coming months, new EU regulation on deforestation-free products will be discussed in the Dutch and EU parliaments. The goal is that no more products related to deforestation in whatever way, will be imported into the EU . A very good and important initiative, but according to many civil society organisations, including Both ENDS, the bill that has now been drafted is far from sufficient.
News / 18 March 2022
Today is International Day of Forests. An ever more important day, as the amount of forest and forested area's on this globe is shrinking at a fast pace. One the main causes is our ever increasing demand for products such as soy and palm oil from area's that have been deforested for their cultivation. The current proposed EU-deforestation law to prevent this, is not strict enough and does not include the protection of other crucial natural areas such as grasslands, savannas and swamps, as well as the human rights of the millions of people living in these area's. During these past few weeks we therefore participated in the campaign #Together4Forests, calling on citizens to send a letter to their own responsible ministers. The campaign paid off: almost 54,000 letters were sent to European ministers across the European Union, demanding a strict forest law that guarantees the import of only deforestation-free products in Europe.
To celebrate this International Day of Forests, we would like to emphasise the great value of forests and other natural areas, directly or indirectly, for the livelihoods of at least 2 billion people. Below, we selected some examples that show how, throughout the world, local communities use many different ways to collect and produce food and other natural products in a sustainable way, while protecting and restoring the forests and forested area's they are so dependent upon.
News / 3 March 2015
Under the pretext of a ‘Natural Resource Management Project’ funded by the World Bank, the Kenyan Forest Service has, again, started to forcibly evict the indigenous Sengwer people from their ancestral lands in the Kerangany Hills and to burn down their houses. This was documented on March 2nd, by a fact-finding team that was sent to the ground by the World Bank’s own inspection panel.
Blog / 26 February 2024
Last September, together with our Brazilian partner FASE, Marius Troost of Both ENDS visited Guanabara Bay (near Rio de Janeiro) to map the impacts of the fossil fuel sector there. During the trip, he was struck by the braveness and fearlessness of the local fisherfolk who protest the injustices faced by the people who live around Guanabara Bay and about the damage done to the environment.
Event / 13 April 2019, 14:15 - 15:30
On Saturday April 13th, the annual Africa day will take place in the Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam.
Both ENDS and Voice 4 Thought will organise a joint workhop (in English), titled:
'Positive vibes from the Sahel: from regreening to slam poetry'
Facilitator: Andrew Makkinga
The Sahel region from Chad to Senegal is often seen in the Netherlands as an immensely dry, infertile area where extremists and smugglers serve and where hunger thrives. But there is so much more to tell about the Sahel region.
Over the last decades, a large number of positive social initiatives have been taken up both in the cities and in rural areas. Initiatives that create and stimulate self-esteem, culture, education, climate resilience and prosperity.
Young people are often the driving force behind these movements, which is not surprising considering that almost 70 percent of the population in a country like Niger is under the age of 25.
In this workshop Both ENDS and Voice4Thought want to tell the other story of the Sahel by highlighting some of these positive initiatives, and by showing how they are interlinked and part of a larger, bottom up movement in this area.
Hope to see you there!
News / 24 January 2024
272 innocent people were killed. A tsunami of toxic mud unleashed, some 12 million cubic metres of ore tailing into the surrounding areas. January 25th, 2024 is the solemn 5-year mark of the Brumadinho upstream mining dam collapse. This was Brazil’s worst environmental and industrial disaster.