Green gold: demand exceeds supply
'At the moment we produce six kilos of gold per year, we cannot meet the demand,' María Luisa Villa of AMICHOCÓ from Colombia says. In the last couple of years, AMICHOCÓ has worked hard to organise small-scale sustainable gold miners and to make certification possible. Under the brand name 'Oro Verde' the Fairtrade Fairmined gold is now available on the market. 'We are ready to expand production, but the preservation of biodiversity and the protection of the rights of ethnic groups remains our priority,' Villa stresses.
The pilot project 'Oro Verde' is a success. The first groups of miners are now ready to proceed self-reliantly. The standards for certification are high. If a miner does not meet the requirements, the gold of the entire group will not be marked as 'green gold. 'Because of this shared responsibility, we can guarantee that the gold is mined in a sustainable manner.' The demand for green gold exceeds the total production four times. Two new areas have been selected to expand the project. However, it will take three years before these miners can launch certified gold on the market. 'First we have to make sure that the communities have sufficient basic organisational capacity, and that it is safe for our employees to work in the area,' Villa says.
Safety is an important issue in Colombia. The organisation has to face up to corruption and mafia practices. 'Many ethnic groups are not aware of their rights and sell their land to the highest bidder,' Villa explains. Often, these buyers are international corporations. With their great-scale mining projects, they harm the exceptional biodiversity of the Chocó bioregion and hinder local people's access to natural resources. Despite the Chocó bioregion's richness in resources, it is the poorest area of Colombia. The ethnic diversity in the region is high; in addition to several indigenous groups, many Afro-Colombians, descendants of African Slaves, live there. Besides promoting Oro Verde, AMICHOCÓ has developed various other activities to protect the biodiversity and ethnic groups in the region, like reforestation programmes, legal assistance and the project Children's Land.
Never too young to learn
'Many young people leave this area because they do not see any possibilities to build a livelihood', Villa states. 'Knowledge and traditions passed down from generation to generation will be lost because of that.' Therefore, AMICHOCÓ also focuses on children in the age of 6 to 12 years old in their education strategy. 'We want to contribute to the development of the identity of boys and girls in relation to nature by letting them actively participate in their direct environment. 'The organisation has made plots of land available where children can give shape to their own vision of the world. Within the project, each child gets a specific assignment to develop his or her entrepreneurship and organizational talents. Already more than 200 children have taken part in Children's Land.
Plans for the future
In addition to the dedication of the inhabitants of the region, the cooperation of the Colombian government is vital. AMICHOCÓ wants the government to legally recognise sustainable small-scale miners as an important part of the mining industry. International support, both from the EU as well as from organisations like Both ENDS, is more than welcome. 'Both ENDS has been very supportive from the beginning,' Villa says. 'With their help and expertise we have grown, been able to create a broad support base in local communities and to build a network with other organisations. That legitimates and thus strengthens our role in dialogues with the government. She hopes that more people become committed to the protection of the Chocó bioregion. 'The coming year, we wish to increase our influence in the region and to ensure that at least twice as many people can benefit from our projects.'
Read more about this subject
News / 3 June 2020
Last Friday, 29 May, it was announced that both the Fair, Green and Global Alliance (FGG) and the Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) will continue to receive funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the 2021-2025 period. Both ENDS is pleased with the continuing support from the Dutch government for these networks, which show that cooperation on the basis of equality between grassroots organisations and NGOs throughout the world can continue to bring about change in the position of women, in respect for human rights and in making trade chains and financing systems sustainable.
Blog / 20 May 2020
'Comfortably staying home with the family': three women in Latin American villages about the Covid-19 crisis
"The Covid-19 crisis is affecting everyone, but in different ways. In some countries, people are feeling the consequences less than in others, in cities the problems are completely different to in the countryside, and men are suffering from the restrictions totally differently to women. Some of the organisations that we work with in Latin America talked to rural women about the effects of the crisis on their everyday lives and what they are doing to keep their heads above water. Below is a small selection from these conversations (freely translated from Spanish) to give some idea of the situation women in remote areas are finding themselves in, of the enormous solidarity they are experiencing and of the solutions, which largely lie in stimulating local food production." - Danielle Hirsch
News / 19 May 2020
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News / 19 May 2020
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Blog / 13 May 2020
You can't eat gold, copper and gas
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Blog / 12 May 2020
Post-corona economy: five recommendations for the Dutch government on achieving the SDGs and the goals of the climate agreement
By Daniëlle Hirsch and Maria van der Heijden
The social debate on the Netherlands' role in the global economic crisis is now in full swing. At the centre of the debate is the question: how can we compensate for the setbacks affecting the Dutch economy without losing sight of efforts to make international trade and production chains more sustainable? We – Both ENDS and MVO Nederland (CSR Netherlands) – are particularly concerned about what we hear in these discussions about human rights, climate and the environment. That these are 'luxury problems' which we have no time to address at this time of crisis. And this, while the Corona crisis is showing us just how closely our current economy is irrevocably intertwined with the pollution of the planet and is making people all around the world more and more vulnerable. In short, we have to make our economy more resilient to such shocks. And that means committing ourselves to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goals of the Paris climate agreement. We therefore address ourselves first and foremost to the government.
Press release / 6 May 2020
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Blog / 5 May 2020
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Blog / 30 April 2020
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Blog / 20 April 2020
The world is turned upside down in this pandemic. Ordinary life is disrupted on our end. Many people suffer from the ‘polder lockdown’, although fortunately we have enough resilience and safety nets to meet our most urgent needs. Unfortunately, outside the Netherlands this all too often lacking. Especially in countries where public health structures are weak and where people are in a total lockdown. Because local communities that are shackled today may be hungry tomorrow. And aid and money does not naturally flow to the most vulnerable citizens there. So extra financial support is urgent.
Blog / 16 April 2020
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Blog / 15 April 2020
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Blog / 14 April 2020
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Blog / 13 April 2020
Since his previous government, prime minister Mark Rutte has wanted to create a green legacy with Invest-NL and Invest International, two new financial organisations. With the advent of the COVID-19 crisis, these organisations are more important than ever. Aiming to stimulate investment in sustainable and social projects, they will operate at a distance from the government so that they can act quickly and efficiently. With an initial budget of 2.5 billion euros, they will give financial support to companies active in sectors that the market avoids and which are at the heart of the transition. At Both ENDS, we see that as an essential step in closing the door for good on our old polluting lifestyle and putting sustainability at the centre of developments in the energy sector, in the organisation of our transport and mobility system, in how we produce our food and in the design of our cities.
News / 31 March 2020
In these past months, the world has been rocked by a new major threat, in addition to climate change: the rapidly spreading COVID-19 virus. Large efforts are being made in many places to deal with this crisis and, understandably, the concerns about the climate have, faded somewhat into the background. We don't know what the future holds or when the COVID-19 crisis will be behind us, but unfortunately it is certain that global climate change has not stopped by then. This is why, even though so many urgent matters have to be dealt with, we continue to support global climate action.
This Friday April 3rd, global online climate actions will take place. We call on everyone to join and share these actions.
News / 23 March 2020
In many places in Latin America, access to clean water is under great pressure from overuse and pollution, often caused by large-scale agriculture or mining. This has significant impact, especially on women. In March, with International Women's Day on March 8 and World Water Day on March 22, they make themselves heard and claim their right to water.
News / 16 March 2020
In order to slow down and prevent the spread of the coronavirus as much as possible, Both ENDS has decided that from now on all employees will work from home. We want to take our responsibility and aim to prevent further burden on the healthcare sector. All activities we normally undertake from the office will be carried out from home in the coming weeks. Our virtual office remains open and we are accessible through the usual channels: email, (mobile) telephone and social media.
News / 8 March 2020
SEATINI Uganda is engaging women working in the palm oil sector in a campaign to improve their work situation. Around International Women's Day, March 8, they are organizing various actions to gain awareness for the situation and the rights of these women workers.
News / 5 March 2020
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