Tobias Schmitz at UN on water: 'This is a turning point'
"This is a turning point in global water management," said Both ENDS colleague Tobias Schmitz. He was in Geneva for a UN meeting on the future of water management or ‘the world after 2015’, when the term for the current Millennium Development Goals has passed. The conference had a special focus on the management of water resources and of waste water. We asked Tobias why he was attending the meeting and what were – and should be- the main issues in his view.
Why did the UN gather?
"During the period 2000-2015 there is global funding for the implementation of the so-called 'Millennium Development Goals' (MDGs). This period ends soon and new agreements must be made. The current MDGs focus mainly on drinking water, but access to water is much more than that. Water is essential for food production, economic development, poverty reduction, sustainable development and environmental protection. In short, water is key to almost everything we do. That’s why the discussion has now broadened to the management of water resources and wastewater.
The meeting in Geneva was meant mainly to prepare the topics for 'World Water Day', which will be held in March in The Hague. There, the final discussions will take place and agreements will be signed. But because many decisions were already taken now, this meeting was very important! "
Why were you there?
"I was there because Both ENDS is a member of the" Butterfly Effect ", a global alliance of NGOs. We put pressure on the UN, donors and the World Water Council to involve local populations in the discussions on the future of water. Switzerland, The Netherlands and Liberia for example, want to jointly support the participation of local people in water management in Africa. Because we are close to the Dutch Government, we might have been able to influence that process and of course we had to use that opportunity.
I have talked with various agencies and donor organisations to convince them to involve the local people. For example I have ongoing discussions with South African Ministries about the important role of women in water management. These ministries want to support the female participation in policy making, but need the help of NGOs."
What will the meeting bring?
"Southern countries are mainly engaged in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), environmental goals which are measurable and verifiable. Western countries focus mainly on economic development goals. The Netherlands and Switzerland try to bring these two processes together. I strongly support that. I also hope that the UN and states finally recognise that the implementation of integrated water resources management (IWRM) is going much too slow. For IWRM to be successful, it is absolutely necessary that locals are involved. If the UN and the states will work towards that involvement, I am temporarily satisfied.
But I’ll be only really satisfied if I have convinced some donors and policy makers of the importance of involving all water users in the management of their habitat. A good example is the 'Negotiated Approach', where different groups of water users look at the amount of available water in their region, and decide how it can best be distributed. In practice, time and time again it turns out that people themselves know best how to use, manage and protect their natural environment, including their water resources. And they will do so if they get the chance. So threatened natural resources like water are much better protected and used if you leave them to the local population. It would be nice if we could show this all over the world!"
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Event / 23 March 2023, 13:15 - 14:30
Making finance for gender just water and climate solutions a reality!
The UN Water Conference is an important event that brings together stakeholders from around the world to discuss water and climate solutions. This year, GAGGA is organizing a side event during the conference that you won't want to miss!
On Thursday March 23rd, from 1.15 -2.30 pm, GAGGA will present their commitment to support, finance, and promote locally rooted, gender just climate and water solutions within the Water Action Agenda. This event will inspire other stakeholders to join in their commitment, while presenting inspiring examples of such solutions presented by local women from Nepal, Kenya, Paraguay, Mexico, and Nigeria.
Event / 23 March 2023, 09:00 - 11:00
Towards just water governance in Colombia; a dialogue on the Transformative Water Pact
Online side event at the UN Water conference in New York
This event will present The Transformative Water Pact (TWP), an innovative framework for water governance that has been developed by environmental justice experts from around the world. The TWP will serve as a starting point for dialogue between representatives of the government of Colombia, academia, regional and international NGOs in relation to Colombia's current ambitions in multi-scalar water governance.
Letter / 22 March 2023
Suggestions to the CRM Act appreciations for the Dutch government
While the energy transition via renewable energy, such as solar and wind energy, is fundamental to reduce EU CO2 emissions, we are concerned with the impacts it will have on the (geo-political) economy, people and environment. Our collaboration with civil society organisations in the Global South over the past 30 years has shown us that the patterns of consumption by rich countries, such as the Netherlands and the EU in general, have a devastating impact on people and the environment in mainly Africa, South-America and South-East Asia.
Publication / 21 March 2023
News / 21 March 2023
Agua es vida: Both ENDS and water governance
Water is literally life, the lifeblood of ecosystems, of nature, of humans. However, in many places the distribution and use of water is unjust and unsustainable. Water management is generally focused on short-term economic interests, on maximizing the profit of a well-connected few at the expense of people and nature. This dominant view of water and water management has its origins in the European industrial revolution, which became the global norm through colonialism and globalization. But according to Melvin van der Veen and Murtah Shannon, water experts at Both ENDS, this view will have to give way to equitable, sustainable and inclusive water management. Both ENDS cooperates with and supports communities and organisations worldwide who are working to this end.
Press release / 20 March 2023
A Transformative Water Pact : A radical response to the global water governance crisis
Academics and civil society representatives from around the world came together to articulate an alternative vision and framework for water governance, in the run-up to the UN Water Conference 2023 in New York. The Transformative Water Pact was developed in response to the continued exploitation of nature, neglect of human rights and the extreme power-imbalances that characterize contemporary water governance throughout the world. It details an alternative vision of water governance based on the tenets of environmental justice, equality and care.
Publication / 15 March 2023
Publication / 15 March 2023
Publication / 9 March 2023
Press release / 9 March 2023
Dutch Pension funds do not vote in line with climate ambitions
Most Dutch pension funds and their asset managers do not vote consistently in favour of climate resolutions at the oil and gas companies and banks in which they invest. That is the conclusion of a report published today by Both ENDS and Groen Pensioen. Eleven of the twelve* Dutch pension funds studied have made public statements and pledges about adapting their policies in line with the Paris Climate Agreement. But their voting behaviour does not sufficiently correspond with these pledges. Only pension fund PME votes for 100% in line with its own climate promises.
Publication / 9 March 2023
Event / 5 March 2023, 13:00
On Sunday March 5 Both ENDS will be joining the Feminist March (called Women's March before). It starts at 1 PM at De Dam in Amsterdam.
With our block "Feminists for Climate Justice" we'll gather in front of Madame Tussauds.
News / 4 March 2023
Op-ed: We can’t leave tackling the climate crisis to men
Make women and gender equality a priority in climate policy, wrote Rebecca Heuvelmans (Women Engage for a Common Future), Marjon Melissen (ActionAid), Esin Erdogan (Simavi), Annelieke Douma (Both Ends) and Eva Lia Colombo (Wo=men Dutch Gender Platform) in Dutch newspaper Trouw. Sunday March 5, they'll join the Feminist March in Amsterdam.
Event / 2 March 2023, 14:00 - 15:30
Inclusive finance for land governance: A conversation with donors
Both ENDS and the Land Portal Foundation invite you to the fourth webinar in the Whose Land? Inclusive Pathways to Land Governance series. This fourth Whose Land? webinar will focus on the question: How can donors fund land governance initiatives through an inclusive process?
More information about this event is available on Landportal.org
Letter / 28 February 2023
175 CSOs call on world leaders to end OECD export finance for oil and gas
This joint position launched by 175 civil society organisations from 45 countries calls on world leaders to end OECD export finance for oil and gas, and explains how it can be done.
News / 20 February 2023
Almost 60 organisations send a letter about fossil export support to Dutch Parliament
Today, a letter, undersigned by almost 60 organisations from countries that face the consequences of fossil fuel projects or stand in solidarity, has been sent to the Dutch Members of Parliament. This Thursday, a debate about the export credit facility and the policies around it, will take place in the Dutch Parliament. The coalition calls upon Dutch politicians and policy makers to stand up against any form of export support for fossil fuel projects that are to be executed by Dutch companies abroad, expecially in the global South.
Letter / 20 February 2023
Letter of international CSO's to Dutch Parliament: close gaps in Dutch policy on limiting public finance to fossil fuels
In October 2022, the Dutch government published a policy to implement the COP26 statement in which it promised to stop public finance for fossil fuel projects abroad by the end of 2022 . The proposed policy, unfortunately, has quite some 'loopholes' that make it possible for the Dutch government to keep supporting large fossil projects abroad for at least another year. These projects often run for years and will have a negative impact on the countries where they take place for decades to come.
News / 6 February 2023
Op-ed: Dutch construction project in the Philippines shows that voluntary corporate social responsibility doesn’t work
This op-ed was published in Dutch newspaper Trouw on the 3rd of February this year
Abuses committed during the construction of an airport in the Philippines show the urgent need for legislation on corporate social responsibility here in the Netherlands, say Murtah Shannon of Both ENDS and Maartje Hilterman of IUCN NL on behalf of a coalition of Dutch and Philippine organisations.
News / 5 February 2023
Using Philanthropy, Advocacy and More to Shift Power
(This interview was published on January 18th in Inside Philantrophy)
Most people in philanthropy don't enter the sector because they have dreams of working in a financial institution. But that's exactly what they're doing. The philanthropic sector as we know it today was deliberately designed by the robber barons of the early 19th century as a response to extreme wealth inequality they created through exploitative labor practices in the oil, steel and shipping industries. Whether to genuinely make amends for the harms they created or to engage in reputation washing, the industrialists cornered the market on philanthropy, guarding against legal challenges to its tax shelter functionality and curtailing regulatory legislation that could induce democratic decision-making. Today, the value of philanthropy stands at about $2.3 trillion, which is 3% of the global economy.
News / 10 January 2023
In Memoriam: Irene Dankelman
With pain in our hearts we say farewell to Irene Dankelman. She was pioneer in the field of gender and environment and one of the founders of Both ENDS.