Jahin Shams Sakkhar: "20 million Bangladeshi might have to move because of sea level rise"
We asked three of our partner organisations to tell us how climate change is already affecting the daily lives of the people they work with, what they are doing to turn the tide and if they think the Climate Court Case against Shell can be important in the context of climate change. Jahin Shams Sakkhar of UTTARAN (Bangladesh) talks about floods, salinity and (in)justice.
"Bangladesh is one of the most climate vulnerable countries in the world. Among the coastal region of Bangladesh, the south west coastal communities are already vulnerable to various natural and manmade disasters such as cyclones and water logging. These disasters are all likely to increase due to the impact of climate change putting the life and livelihood of the communities at further risk.
Over the last decade the rainfall patterns of the area have become erratic, which means that in one year we have more rainfall and in the other it's very little, or in a short span of five to ten days we receive the whole month of rainfall. This causes flooding and drought in the area, making agriculture and aquaculture highly vulnerable. In monsoon season (June to September) many men in particular are migrating to other areas, particularly to Dhaka and northern Bangladesh, in search of work. This leaves women with almost no capital to deal with the monsoon flooding along with their infants and elderly, thus creating a gender issue.
Sea level rise is perhaps the biggest threat to the coastal people. Several reports claim that sea level rise will permanently inundate 13-17% of the land mass of the country and will force around 20 million people from the affected area to migrate away. On the one hand, the rivers of the south west are losing their water carrying capacity and on the other hand the sea level keeps on rising. Salinity has increased in the coastal region which increases the already existing fresh water crisis of the area, making it harder in some of the coastal areas to find potable water.
In terms of social vulnerability, poor people are now being forced to buy water from local water vendors at high price or they drink saline water, which increases health problems. In some of the coastal areas, women in particular spend 20-30% of their lifetime in search of fresh drinking water. Locals are suffering from an increased heat wave in the area. During the summer the temperature can sometimes go over 45 degrees. This destroys many agricultural products and also puts people's health in danger from heat related stresses.
The coastal people who can afford it are trying to adapt to climate change in various ways, for example by changing the seasonal plantation time of rice, by growing saline tolerant vegetable, rice and fruit species, or by growing multiple crops. There are many similar efforts that are ongoing in the area, some of which are planned by the government or NGOs, some of which are autonomous, reactive and indigenous. But the extreme poor communities who are the most vulnerable are finding it difficult to adapt to climate change. They are left with one option: every day hundreds of them are migrating either temporarily or permanently.
Uttaran thinks that this case against Shell is quite important, because of justice. It's not just Shell, it's a matter of those companies and countries, who historically have been and still are the biggest emitters of Carbon, taking responsibility for their actions. As mentioned before it is probably a very hard truth to digest that extreme and poor people here are fighting a lost battle every day because someone else has emitted or is still emitting irresponsible greenhouse gasses and is taking no measure to reduce it. It's a matter of justice. It's a matter of life: not just one but millions of lives here in Bangladesh and many more globally."
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Both ENDS is co-plaintiff in the climate lawsuit being brought by Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth The Netherlands) against Shell to stop the company from causing harm to the climate. Shell has known about the severity of the climate problem for many years but continues with the climate-polluting extraction of oil and gas. By doing so, it undermines efforts to achieve the climate goals. Companies have a responsibility not to cause serious harm to society and the climate. Because Shell refuses to take that responsibility itself, we are taking the company to court. In brief, we demand that Shell has zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and adapts its activities to be fully aligned with the climate goals in the Paris Agreement.
News / 19 March 2019
We asked three of our partner organisations to tell us how climate change is already affecting the daily lives of the people they work with, what they are doing to turn the tide and if they think the Climate Court Case against Shell can be important in the context of climate change. Ana di Pangracio, working for FARN (Argentina) tells us about climate threats to large wetlands, while these same wetlands are crucial in mitigating global climate change.
News / 27 November 2020
Next week, the climate case brought against Royal Dutch Shell by Dutch environmental organisation Milieudefensie is due to start. Milieudefensie hopes to force the company to stop causing dangerous climate change and adopt a more sustainable course. Six Dutch organisations have decided to become co-plaintiffs in the case. They include ActionAid and Both ENDS, organisations that work outside the Netherlands on human rights, gender equality, environment and sustainable development. Though, at first glance, the case may not seem relevant to them, nothing is farther from the truth, as Nils Mollema of ActionAid and Niels Hazekamp of Both ENDS explain.
News / 12 April 2019
We asked three of our partner organisations to tell us how climate change is already affecting the daily lives of the people they work with, what they are doing to turn the tide and if they think the Climate Court Case against Shell can be important in the context of climate change. Sara Crespo Suarez of our Bolivian partner Probioma explains how the effects are already being felt in her country.
Press release / 5 April 2019
The Hague, April 5, 2019 - Today Friends of the Earth Netherlands will deliver a court summons to Shell to legally compel the company to cease its destruction of the climate, on behalf of more than 30,000 people from 70 countries. A 236 page complaint will be delivered to Shell's International Headquarters in the Hague this afternoon by Friends of the Earth Netherlands, ActionAid NL, Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace NL,Young Friends of the Earth NL, Waddenvereniging and a large group of co-plaintiffs.
News / 28 May 2021
"Historical verdict", "unique decision", "landslide victory". Superlatives flew to our ears in the media yesterday, when it became clear that the judge ruled that Royal Dutch Shell must reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% by the year 2030. For the plaintiffs, including Both ENDS, the verdict is very hopeful, as it was for many co-plaintiffs and citizens interested in this court case.
Press release / 26 May 2021
The Hague, 26 May 2021 - For the first time in history, a judge has held a corporation liable for causing dangerous climate change. Today, as a result of legal action brought by Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) together with 17,000 co-plaintiffs and six other organisations (ActionAid Netherlands, Both ENDS, Fossil Free Netherlands, Greenpeace Netherlands, Young Friends of The Earth Netherlands and the Wadden Sea Association) the court in The Hague ruled that Shell must reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% within 10 years. This historic verdict has enormous consequences for Shell and other big polluters globally.
Press release / 26 March 2019
Wealthy Dutch investors to disinvest personal capital worth 200 million euros from the fossil industry
Joint press release from Both ENDS and Fossielvrij NL - 26 March 2019
A group of 22 wealthy Dutch investors have decided to disinvest all their personal capital, worth a total of 200 million euros, from the top 200 oil, gas and coal companies. The investors have pledged to disinvest all their capital from the fossil industry within three to five years. By doing so, they are giving a clear signal that they do not want their capital to contribute to disastrous climate change.
News / 4 July 2019
Tidal rivers in the southwest coastal area of Bangladesh have been dying since flood plains were replaced by Dutch-style polders in the 70s. Rivers are silted up, and during monsoon season water gets trapped within embankments. Every year, this situation of waterlogging inflicts adverse consequences particularly on women, as they take care of the household in waterlogged conditions in the absence of men who travel to the city in search of temporary work. NGO Uttaran is advocating for a change in policy and practice.
News / 27 May 2021
During the formation of a new Dutch government after the general elections in March, a group of concerned citizens is holding a wake in front of the Prime Minister's residence to remind the political leaders of the climate crisis. On Friday May 28, they will pay attention to the international aspect, initiated by Cordaid, Oxfam Novib, Care, ActionAid, WECF, Hivos and Tearfund. Both ENDS is happy to support the initiative.
News / 17 September 2019
On September 20 and 27 the global climate strike takes place. Both ENDS joins the Dutch Climate Strike on September 27 in The Hague. This is why.
News / 22 March 2021
An increasing number of stakeholders in the Dutch water sector are acknowledging the importance of an inclusive approach to climate adaptation. However, where our knowledge institutes and companies are involved in delta plans and master plans, as in Bangladesh and the Philippines, this approach is proving difficult to apply in practice. Taking local realities, vulnerabilities and inequalities – such as those between men and women – as a starting point is essential for good plans that give everyone the opportunity to adapt to climate change.
News / 13 August 2021
The situation in the southwest delta of Bangladesh is critical. Because of sea level rise, floods are increasing and the area is about to become uninhabitable, despite Dutch-style dikes and polders built in the previous century. Partner organisation Uttaran works with local communities on climate-friendly solutions that restore the living environment and give the inhabitants a say about their future and food production.
Press release / 27 September 2017
Despite climate agreements, the Netherlands supports the fossil sector with 7.6 billion euros a year
Although outgoing economics minister Henk Kamp stated in May of this year that fossil fuels are not subsidised in the Netherlands, a report out today shows that this is clearly not the case. The report. ‘Phase-Out 2020: Monitoring Europe’s fossil fuel subsidies’, by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Climate Action Network Europe (CAN-Europe), says that the Netherlands is supporting the fossil sector at home and abroad with more than 7.6 billion euros a year (1). The Netherlands made international agreements as long ago as 2009 (2) to ban subsidies for fossil fuels. Environment NGO Milieudefensie and Both ENDS – both members of CAN-Europe – call attention to these findings because they find it unacceptable that the government perpetuates our dependence on fossil fuels in this way.
Press release / 14 May 2017
The Dutch pension fund, ABP, invested about two billion euros more in the fossil energy industry at the end of 2016 than the year before. This is announced by the report "Dirty & Dangerous: the fossil fuel investments of Dutch pension fund ABP," published today by Both ENDS, German urgewald and Fossielvrij NL. The report criticizes these investments because of the impact on the climate and the catastrophic consequences for the people in the areas where coal, oil and gas are being produced.
Press release / 8 July 2021
Civil society organisations send urgent letter on climate to financial sector
Amsterdam, 8 July 2021 – The Shell ruling has consequences for the financiers of major climate polluters. That is the message in a letter from a number of civil society organisations, including Oxfam Novib, Eerlijke Geldwijzer, Milieudefensie, Greenpeace and Both ENDS, to the biggest banks, pension funds and insurance companies in the Netherlands. In the letter, they call on the financial institutions to reduce CO2 emissions from loans and investments in line with the 1.5 degrees goal laid down in the Paris climate agreement.
Press release / 26 August 2020
Dutch pension money is invested heavily in companies that contribute to deforestation in the Amazon region and the Cerrado savanna in Brazil, such as soy, animal feed and beef companies. This is concluded in a report published today by Profundo, commisioned by the Fair Finance Guide, Hivos and Both ENDS. All ten pension funds that were examined invest in these types of companies, with the ABP pension fund and Pensioenfonds Zorg en Welzijn on top with investments worth EUR 580 million and EUR 383 million respectively.
Publication / 26 August 2020
Pension funds have a lot of influence because of their enormous assets. Both ENDS therefore wants pension funds such as the Dutch ABP to withdraw their investments from the fossil industry and to invest sustainably instead.
In 2015, the member states of the United Nations committed themselves to the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unlike their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs recognise the importance of equality within and between countries, of decision-making processes in which all people are included and heard, and of legal systems that are independent and accessible to all.