Vote for fair, sustainable and international leadership
The Netherlands is facing an important choice this week. On one side, there are political parties that want to shut the country off from the outside world and let climate change advance unchecked. On the other side, there are parties calling on the Netherlands to once again take the lead in areas like climate change, fair taxes and sustainable trade. Both ENDS believes that such leadership is crucial now more than ever.
We cannot achieve sustainable development without the rest of the world. But the reverse is equally true: the rest of the world cannot move forward without the Netherlands. As the world's 17th largest economy and a member of the largest trade block, the Netherlands is a leading global player. This week, the people of the Netherlands will choose whether we are going to take on that leadership role or close our doors and retreat behind our dykes.
From taxes to climate: choose clarity
The Netherlands is well placed to take on that leadership role. Many seeds have been sown in recent years. We have helped strengthen tax authorities in developing countries so that they can collect taxes more efficiently, and have reviewed a number of tax agreements with developing countries to make tax evasion in those countries more difficult. We are helping people in vulnerable regions to adapt to climate change. And in the area of free trade, too, the Dutch government has taken the initiative with the establishment of the Breed Handelsberaad (a broad platform of government, the private sector and civil society set up to discuss trade agreements), and getting companies to sign the voluntary textile agreement.
At the same time, however, we are still the second largest tax haven in the world. Thanks to the Netherlands' 'favourable' tax regime, multinationals can avoid paying taxes on a large scale. We are also a long way behind other EU member states in terms of sustainable energy, and invest heavily in the fossil fuel industry beyond our borders. And we support companies that want to do business abroad, but do not make a great effort to ensure compliance with human rights.
Sustainable development requires coherent policy
The Netherlands has great potential to take the lead within and beyond our national borders. That leadership calls for coherent policy. Both ENDS believes that the most important opportunities lie in four themes:
- Fossil-free investments
The Netherlands has signed the Paris Agreement on climate change. That means that we must make every effort to reduce our CO2 emissions. And not only in the Netherlands, but also abroad. Currently, public money is still being used to fund investments in fossil fuels. Both ENDS considers that incompatible with the agreements reached in Paris and is working with many others on the divestment of our own pension and tax contributions from the fossil industry.
The choice is clear: we should vote for political parties whose programmes acknowledge that climate change can no longer be postponed and have adopted concrete measures to tackle it in the coming period of government.
- Citizen participation: exporting the 'polder model'
The Netherlands has a wide variety of provisions in place to ensure that citizens can participate in discussions on developments affecting their immediate surroundings. Plans are made public, local participation meetings are organised, and the authorities have to acknowledge and respond to all objections. Every person in the Netherlands can participate and lodge objections freely and safely.
The Dutch government must continue to propagate this 'polder model' of participation and consensus. Leadership by the government, combined with a development budget that supports the participation of people and civil society organisations in political and decision-making processes are essential to ensure that people in other parts of the world are also able to participate in decisions that affect their lives.
Parties that believe that international cooperation is not only about strengthening the Netherlands' trade relations but, more importantly, about strengthening democratic decision-making processes and protecting human rights are the best proponents of our polder model.
- Fair taxes
Tax competition between countries has led to progressively falling tax rates for large companies, making it an all-out race to the bottom. The Netherlands is taking the lead in this race, and citizens here and abroad are footing the bill. As a member of Tax Justice NL, Both ENDS has joined the call for a fair tax system.
More and more parties are acknowledging that the Netherlands is playing a pivotal role in tax evasion worldwide and that this is one of the main obstacles to increasing global equality.
- Social and sustainable trade agreements
It is now widely accepted that CETA and TTIP can have a negative impact on people and the environment, because they give priority to the trade interests of the private sector. This also applies to bilateral agreements. People in developing countries often suffer the negative effects of such agreements. Both ENDS wants to see human rights and sustainability given the greatest priority in concluding trade agreements.
Some political parties oppose trade agreements because they want the Netherland to turn its back on the rest of the world. But there are also parties that, like Both ENDS, are critical of the form and content of the current agreements and call for international trade to be structured in a way that is good for people and the environment, both in the Netherlands and abroad.
What do parties say about human rights, development and climate?
If you don't know which party deserves your vote, and share our wish for fair, sustainable policies: fill out the various voting tools listed below (in Dutch) and choose which party best suits your ideas.
- Groen Kieskompas by Greenpeace, IVN, Friends of the Earth NL, Natuur & Milieu, de Vogelbescherming and WWF NL
- MVO Kieswijzer by MVO Platform
- Fairkiezingswijzer by Fair Politics
- Kieswijzer duurzame economie by Duurzaambedrijfsleven.nl and De Groene Zaak
Read more about this subject
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 / 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 / 22 October 2017
More than six months after the Dutch elections took place, a long period of debates, negotiations and incertainty has finally come to an end. The new coalition of center-rightwing parties was sworn in last Thursday the 26th of October. Having Sigrid Kaag of the liberal-democratic party D66 as the new Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation in the third Rutte government (Rutte III), we can look forward to where the opportunities lie in the new coalition’s plans to make the world fairer and more sustainable. The Coalition Agreement, which tries to build a bridge between the political centre and the centre-right, is a smart piece of work in terms of reaching compromises. In the current international climate of societies progressively growing apart, that is a striking achievement.
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.
Elections are soon to be held in the Netherlands. The political parties are sharpening their knives and have outlined their plans in hefty manifestos. Not surprisingly, they mainly focus on domestic issues. International themes are primarily addressed in terms of opportunities for Dutch companies and threats in areas like health, privacy and competition that we need to protect ourselves against. But if we want to make the Netherlands sustainable, we especially need to look at our footprint beyond our own borders and make every effort to reduce it. In the weeks leading up to the elections, Both ENDS looks at where the parties' manifestos offer opportunities to achieve that.
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
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.
News / 10 August 2021
As a response to the latest IPCC report, the directors of IUCN NL, Tropenbos International, Wetlands International, Both ENDS and the Institute for Environmental Security wrote an op-ed about the role nature policy can and should play in stopping climate change, which was published in Dutch in De Volkskrant of August 10, 2021. Below, you find the English translation of the article.
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/
Event / 10 March 2019, 13:00 - 16:00
On Sunday the 10th of March 2019 Both ENDS will be taking part in what is expected to become the largest climate march in The Netherlands as of yet. The march is organised by Milieudefensie, Greenpeace, Oxfam Novib, FNV, De Goede Zaak and the Woonbond and supported by Both ENDS and a large number of diverse civil society organisations. Together, we demand a safe future for ourselves, our children and for all people whose lives have already been or will soon be made almost impossible because of the effects of climate change such as droughts, disease, floods or food shortages.
News / 6 November 2023
On 27 October, RTL Nieuws reported that the Steungroep Nicaragua considers the millions of euros that the Dutch development bank FMO is investing in Nicaragua irresponsible. When asked, FMO stated that 'it had to continue to support its entrepreneurs in difficult times'. Both ENDS believes that the choice to continue to invest in Nicaragua brings substantial risks, which FMO does not take sufficiently into account when deciding on financing. Previous FMO investments have caused harm to people and the environment and, in some cases, even led to violence – with, as its lowest point, the murder of Berta Cáceres in Honduras in 2016.
News / 11 September 2023
Danielle Hirsch, our director, is running as candidate for GroenLinks-PvdA in the parliamentary elections in November this year.
News / 14 March 2021
A number of our colleagues at Both ENDS made a lot of noise at various locations around the country today, as part of the national Klimaatalarm (Climate Alarm) campaign. Annelieke Douma gave a short speech in Haarlem on the major role played by the Netherlands in climate change and environmental degradation beyond our borders. She made a number of suggestions that would immediately make Dutch foreign policy a lot more climate-friendly. Below is the text of her speech.
News / 22 May 2018
On Friday, the long awaited policy note by Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag was published. The note was the outcome of a process of consultation, scientific analysis and much discussion within and outside the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We searched for the spirit underlying it: What trends does this minister consolidate and deepen? What is new? Are those new aspects a superficial change of discourse or a genuine break with the past? On what issues is the paper silent and what do those silences tell us?
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
Letter / 22 March 2023
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.
Letter / 4 May 2020
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. Both ENDS and MVO Nederland (CSR Netherlands) – are particularly concerned about what we hear about human rights, climate and the environment. We ask the Dutch government, in a letter to Minister Kaag, to commit to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the goals of the Paris climate agreement.
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.