Full house during workshop on indigenous rights at Ministry of Foreign Affairs
While last Thursday afternoon half the Dutch population sat outside on a terrace to enjoy the last tropical heat of 2016, more than seventy people gathered in a room at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Why? To attend a workshop on 'Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC), an international guideline which stipulates that indigenous peoples should be involved in and give permission for developments taking place in and around the area where they live.
The workshop was organised - at Both ENDS initiative – by the "Land Governance Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue" in which government, businesses, financial institutions and civil society organisations, including Both ENDS are represented.
Not only the organising group, but also the audience was diverse. "What particularly struck me was the amount of representatives of financial institutions and the government that attended the workshop," said Karin van Boxtel from Both ENDS, who was closely involved in the organisation. "Businesses, governments and financial institutions investing in projects in areas where indigenous peoples are living, must comply with the FPIC rules. Before plans are carried out in such an area the indigenous people and local communities need to be informed. But more importantly, after this they should be given the opportunity to give free consent (or not) to the plans.”
FPIC, how do you do that?
This sounds beautiful, but being a company or investor, how do you know that you’re applying FPIC rules in the right way? How do you identify local land users? How do you know if the spokesmen of the local land users actually represent the opinion of the entire group, when in practice this not always appears to be the case? And if you’re a Dutch financial institution or business, not physically present in the area, how can you be sure that FPIC is carried out well? A lot of uncertainty exists about these matters and too often things are going wrong. According to the initiators of the workshop all parties should be working together to eliminate these doubts and ambiguities.
Indispensable, but it can be even better
"Both ENDS promotes FPIC to ensure that the rights of indigenous land users are respected in investments," says Karin, "even though the mechanism leaves room for improvement. To start with, we find it a missed opportunity that under international law, FPIC only applies to indigenous peoples, while other local land users are also entitled to a participatory process. Another disadvantage is that indigenous peoples can only 'yes' or 'no' to a plan. They are not involved in the design of such a plan or project, which would be the ideal situation. Therefore, we would strongly support the idea of remodeling FPIC the future."
Nevertheless, it would already be a very good start if FPIC would be implemented adequately everywhere, says Karin. "The first step is to make investors aware of what impact their investment may have on local communities and land users, and step two is to see how this impact can be minimised as much as possible. What should we work on to make FPIC more effective on one hand, and easy to carry out on the other hand?" Dr. Marcus Colchester, founder of the Forest Peoples Programme ( FPP), was one of the main speakers at the workshop. He was pleasantly surprised to feel the positive energy during the workshop: "It's good to see that government and industry in the Netherlands are taking the protection of indigenous peoples seriously and that they work together with civil society to improve their performance on FPIC. This is certainly not always the case in other Western countries! "
Back to practice
Both ENDS is going to actively engage in organising two follow-up workshops at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, one in November and one in January, according to year. During these workshops we hope to go into more detail of the reality on the ground, and to develop – together with financial institutions and the government - real tools for conducting FPIC.
Read more about this subject
News / 9 December 2019
At the end of November, the organisations WALHI South Sulawesi (part of Friends of the Earth) and Both ENDS filed a formal complaint with the Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB. Despite the warnings from local communities for the negative consequences of a land reclamation project in the bay of Makassar, Atradius DSB advised the Dutch government to provide dredging company Boskalis with insurance for the execution of the project. The consequences for the fish stock, the beach and the lives of thousands of small-scale fishermen and their families are severe. Atradius DSB has not sufficiently investigated these harmful consequences beforehand.
Event / 4 December 2019, 15:00 - 16:30
On Wednesday December 4th 2019 Both ENDS together with Heinrich Böll Stiftung from he US organises a side event at the UNFCCC COP in Madrid: Can the GCF Catalyze Inclusive, Gender-Responsive Local Climate Action Globally and in Latin America?
News / 26 November 2019
No fewer than 55 NGO's, foundations and associations, many of whom do not normally deal primarily with climate change, express their concern about the dangers of climate change for everyone and everything in the statement 'The climate belongs to everyone'.
They call for urgent action and support the international Climate Strike taking place this Friday, November 29. In cities all over the world, young and old will take to the streets again. In the Netherlands too, climate strikes will be organised in many cities.
News / 18 November 2019
Good news for the climate: last week, the European Investment Bank (EIB) decided to stop investing in fossil fuels by 2021. This is part of its new energy strategy.
Press release / 18 November 2019
The Netherlands provides export credit insurances and guarantees worth 1.5 billion euros annually to Dutch companies active in the oil and gas sector abroad. This support amounts to one and a half times the annual amount that the Cabinet of Prime Minister Rutte mobilises for climate initiatives worldwide. The intended effects of Dutch international climate policy are more than offset by this fossil export support. That is the conclusion of a new report from Both ENDS which is published today.
Publication / 17 November 2019
Video / 8 November 2019
The Athi River Community Network is made up of communities who live along the Athi River watershed. Members of the Athi River Community Network promised to join forces with the Friends of Ondiri Wetland to ensure that this critical wetland is restored and conserved for the sake of current and future generations.
News / 8 November 2019
On Thursday November 7th, a group of European NGO's including Both ENDS, sent a letter to Vice-President of the EU Frans Timmermans, in which they ask him to support the phase out of European Investment Bank’s fossil fuel financing by the end of 2020.
News / 5 November 2019
After a complaint filed by women's groups from Ixquisis, Guatemala, the Interamerican Development Bank (IDB) has started an investigation on several policy violations, amongst which the Gender Equality policy. This is a unique chance to create a precedent, because complaints on the IDB's gender policy are very rare. The women from Ixquisis are fighting for their rights with support of the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA).
News / 31 October 2019
Earlier this month, we learned that Golfrid Siregar, an Indonesian environmental lawyer working for our partner organisation WALHI died under suspicious circumstances. We call for a thorough and transparent investigation and have brought the case to the attention of the Indonesian embassy in The Hague and to the Netherlands' embassy in Jakarta.
Press release / 24 October 2019
Press release 24 October 2019
Starting today, investors can use five criteria to test whether companies in the fossil sector are actively working on phasing out their fossil activities. Too many investors still seem hesitant to switch to a profitable future of sustainable energy and these criteria should help them do this. The organisations DivestInvest Network, Sustainable Energy (Denmark) and Both ENDS (the Netherlands) publish the report "Managed Decline of Fossil Fuel Businesses" today, which describes these five criteria. The criteria aim to help investors choose investments that are in line with the Paris goal "stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius warming." The recommendations are presented at the World Pension Summit deliberately, because pension fund investors in particular can take more responsibility in this.
Publication / 24 October 2019
News / 11 October 2019
In Indonesia, US-based mining companies succeeded to roll back new laws that were meant to boost the country’s economic development and protect its forests. This is the level of impact that investment treaties can have on social, environmental and economic development and rights. Why? Because of the ‘Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS) clauses that are included in many such treaties.
News / 11 October 2019
Indigenous communities in Paraguay saw their attempts to regain their ancestral lands thwarted by German investors. This is the level of impact that investment treaties can have on social, environmental and economic development and rights. Why? Because of the ‘Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement’ (ISDS) clauses that are included in many such treaties.
Indigenous communities in Paraguay saw their attempts to regain their ancestral lands thwarted by German investors. In Indonesia, US-based mining companies succeeded to roll back new laws that were meant to boost the country’s economic development and protect its forests. This is the level of impact that investment treaties can have on social, environmental and economic development and rights. Why? Because of the ‘Investor-to-State Dispute Settlement’ clauses that are included in many such treaties.
Publication / 4 October 2019
Event / 27 September 2019, 13:00
On Friday 27 September, Both ENDS joins the Dutch Climate Strike and the march in The Hague.
This way we let our government know that there is no more time to waste and that it must take significant action in all policy areas to stop climate change.
More information on the Dutch Climate Strike can be found on https://klimaatstaking.nl/english/
News / 25 September 2019
52 charity organisations, community groups, foundations and NGOs, many of whom are not primarily concerned with climate change, have come together to express their concern about the dangers of climate change for everyone and everything in a joint declaration. They call for urgent action and support the Climate Strike this Friday 27 September in The Hague.
Press release / 23 September 2019
Amsterdam, 23 September 2019 - The world's 5th largest pension fund, with assets of over €430 billion, Dutch ABP is continuing to invest in companies that are on a collision course with the Paris climate goals, such as coal and oil companies.
Publication / 23 September 2019