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.'
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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
News / 20 September 2019
We are shocked and alarmed by the news of a planned raid into the headquarters of an environmental organisation in the Philippines. Although the raid has not materialised until now, we are deeply concerned for their wellbeing.