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
Event / 28 September 2023, 16:00 - 17:30
What does a food system look like that serves the well-being of people and the planet?
While agriculture and livestock food production in the world have become increasingly large-scale, industrial and ever more efficient for decades, the damage and inequality this food system causes is also becoming increasingly clear. Across the world, more and more people are therefore engaged in alternative, sustainable food production that ensures many generations to come to still have access to fertile, healthy land and clean water.
In this talkshow, we highlight some of these examples and hope to fuel the dialogue about this topic.
- Rosinah Mbenya - PELUM Kenya (via Zoom)
- Matt Canfield - University of Leiden
- Ida Simonsen - Dutch UN Youth Representative Biodiversity and Food
- John Arink - Ekoboerderij Arink (biodynamic farmer)
Farid Tabarki - Studio Zeitgeist
Inspired? Join our 'The Future We See' - talkshow on September 28th! You can either attend live or online, quietly listen or actively participate in the discussion - or during the drinks afterwards. We hope to see you there!
Also take a look at our previous session
To get a glimpse of the atmosphere, see a short video of our last session (about economic systems): https://youtu.be/AUNGcROovnc
And to dive in a little deeper, watch this compilation: https://youtu.be/nzuwIREeiNo
News / 21 September 2023
Six out of nine planetary boundaries have been crossed (Stockholm Resilience Centre) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that the world is likely to breach global temperature of 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels between now and 2027. COP28 is the moment of the first Global Stocktake, which means the assessment of where we are at in reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement.
News / 18 September 2023
In the heart of Liberia, the Western Region Women Network Association (WERWONA) is scripting a story of resilience, advocacy, and transformation. This journey began in September 2022 when WERWONA, supported by Both ENDS's partner Sustainable Development Institute, embarked on a mission to empower women leaders and communities in Bomi, Grand Cape Mount, and Gbarpolu counties to reclaim their rights to land and natural resources. This shows how the partnership between Both ENDS and local organisations is driving positive change in Liberia.
News / 11 September 2023
Danielle Hirsch, our director, is running as candidate for GroenLinks-PvdA in the parliamentary elections in November this year.
News / 24 August 2023
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News / 17 July 2023
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Letter / 26 June 2023
CSO reject EU policy reform that would legalize EU trade sanctions against developing countries, based on their migration policies
An important trade and development policy tool of the EU is the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which allows developing countries to export goods to the EU at low or no tariffs. The current GSP Regulation is to expire end of this year.
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News / 15 June 2023
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News / 15 June 2023
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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.
Publication / 25 May 2023
Event / 25 May 2023, 16:00 - 17:30
What does an economy look like that serves the well-being of people and the planet?
A wide range of great ideas about a transition to sustainable and just economic systems already exist, including ways to get there and examples that show that it is really possible. In this talkshow, we highlight some of these examples and hope to fuel the dialogue about this topic.
Inspired? Join our 'The Future We See' - talkshow on May 25th! You can either attend live or online, quietly listen or actively participate in the discussion. We hope to see you there!
Press release / 23 May 2023
On 23 May, the Netherlands celebrates 60 years of bilateral investment treaties (BITs). The first BIT was signed with Tunisia in 1963. These treaties were intended to make an important contribution to protecting foreign investments by Dutch companies. A study by SOMO, Both ENDS and the Transnational Institute (TNI), however, shows that in practice they mainly give multinationals a powerful instrument that has far-reaching consequences people and the environment worldwide.
Publication / 23 May 2023
Letter / 4 May 2023
The Dutch government, through its export credit agency Atradius DSB (ADSB), provides export support to companies that undertake activities abroad. The state wants projects it insures to have no negative consequences for people and the environment and therefore sets requirements for corporate social responsibility (CSR). A consultation on CSR policy ran until the end of April, to which a coalition of thirteen social organisations from the Netherlands and abroad, including Both ENDS and Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth the Netherlands), responded.
News / 4 May 2023
Our manifesto "The Dutch Agriculture Agreement reaches further than the Netherlands: offer prospects for sustainable farmers and consumers worldwide" has now been signed by over 70 civil society organisations, agricultural organisations and companies, environmental organisations and scientists from around the world. Below, a few of them give their personal motivation why they support the manifesto.
Publication / 24 April 2023
Press release / 21 April 2023
The Dutch Agriculture Agreement, which is currently under development, is too much focused solely on the Netherlands. That is the opinion of a broad coalition of more than sixty NGOs, farmers' organisations, scientists and companies that have today sent an urgent letter to agriculture minister Piet Adema and foreign trade and development minister Liesje Schreinemacher. The government's agricultural policy should also aim to reduce the Netherlands' enormous agrarian footprint beyond our borders, by taking food security and the preservation of biodiversity as its starting points. The coalition has published a manifesto in which it sets out how reform of the Netherlands' foreign agricultural policy could be given shape.