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 / 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.
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.
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 / 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 / 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 / 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 / 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.
Publication / 9 April 2014
Blog / 29 January 2019
The climate debate in the Netherlands is bogged down in what we can change at home and does not touch on our actions abroad. And that is a missed opportunity. Precisely because our international trade model is both so influential and, at the same time, such a widespread cause of pollution, changes in that policy can have an immediate effect.
Video / 10 April 2014
This short animation functions as a primer to the policy paper written by Both ENDS, and makes the case for an investment policy that aims for an energy independent Netherlands, a country that goes about its daily affairs in a social and environmentally sound way.
News / 9 December 2019
At the end of November, the organisations WALHI South Sulawesi (part of Friends of the Earth) and Both ENDS filed a formal complaint with the Dutch export credit agency Atradius DSB. Despite the warnings from local communities for the negative consequences of a land reclamation project in the bay of Makassar, Atradius DSB advised the Dutch government to provide dredging company Boskalis with insurance for the execution of the project. The consequences for the fish stock, the beach and the lives of thousands of small-scale fishermen and their families are severe. Atradius DSB has not sufficiently investigated these harmful consequences beforehand.
Event / 20 September 2019, 19:30
Last June, after months of negotiations in five different 'climate roundtables', the Dutch government presented its Climate Agreement . Negotiations had taken place in a roundtable for 'industry', for 'built environment', for 'electricity', 'mobility' and for 'agriculture and land use'. Climate measures that the Netherlands can take within its borders are pretty much covered by these climate roundtables. But the Netherlands also has a huge climate footprint outside its borders. It seems we have forgotten about the 'International' Climate Roundtable.
External link / 22 May 2018
On Friday, the long awaited policy note by Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag was published. We searched for the spirit underlying it: What trends does this minister consolidate and deepen? What is new? On what issues is the paper silent and what do those silences tell us? Both ENDS' director Danielle Hirsch published her reflection on the policy note on the website of Vice Versa (in Dutch).
Blog / 19 September 2019
Reward high-risk international business projects investing in a green future and stop support for the international fossil industry
The climate is 'hot'. Everyone is talking about it. 'Everyone needs to do something' calls the government in its recently started public campaign. Good plan. Let's really do something. For a start, we can stop supporting international trade in fossil energy by our own multinationals. That would free up 1.5 billion euros which we could use to combat climate change on an international scale and at the same time give our own innovative businesses a boost. Today's Vergeten Klimaattafel (Forgotten Climate Roundtable) will discuss the opportunities for the Netherlands to have a real impact. And those opportunities are enormous. Because our big money and our influence lie beyond our borders.
Publication / 17 November 2019
News / 16 August 2019
Today, an op-ed by Nathalie van Haren and Stefan Schüller was published in the Dutch national newspaper De Volkskrant about the IPCC's latest report "Climate Change and Land". Below you find the English translation.
News / 8 December 2015
Both ENDS has, as a member of the RSPO, participated in a dialogue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Netherlands is the largest importer of palm oil in Europe and wants to promote sustainable trade and production chains.
News / 14 December 2018
During the 24th Conference of the Parties (COP24) of the UNFCCC taking place in Katowice, Both ENDS partner Raju Pandit Chettri – director of Prakriti Resources Centre in Nepal - was one of the selected Southern leaders to meet with the Dutch Minister of Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade, Sigrid Kaag. We asked Raju about his expectations, messages, Kaag's responses and his experiences of the meeting.