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Land & water governance

In large parts of the world, people depend directly on the water and land around them for their livelihoods. Deforestation, mining, large-scale agriculture, and dams and other infrastructural projects have a serious impact on the quality and availability of land and water, which in turn affects the living environments of local communities. Both ENDS helps these communities to become involved in decisions affecting their living environments and promotes fair and sustainable methods of using and managing land and water.

Through their close relationship with their living environments, local communities often know best how to use and manage land, water and forests sustainably. They use natural resources without depleting them and pass the knowledge and practices they have accumulated over many years on to the next generation. Both ENDS supports and promotes these local methods of land and water management to offset unsustainable, large-scale projects imposed from outside. Examples of such local methods include food forests, participatory forms of land-use planning and water management, and farmer-managed natural regeneration, a way of regenerating areas suffering from drought.

In addition, we support communities that are losing access to and control over their land and water. We help them to engage in dialogue with companies, banks and government authorities whose projects have a direct impact on their living environments. We also inform local people of their rights and the opportunities to lodge objections to these projects at national or international courts or through other complaints mechanisms.

In the Netherlands and at international level, we lobby for policies that promote sustainable land and water management and prevent negative impacts. We engage in dialogue with the Dutch government on its water, land, climate, trade and investment policies and call on development banks to improve their sustainability and human rights policies. We ensure that the voices of Southern civil society organisations are heard in international platforms like the UNCCD and the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and that human rights, especially those of women and indigenous peoples, are respected.

Our work on the subject of Land & water governance

  • Dossier

    Rights for People, Rules for Corporations – Stop ISDS!

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    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.
  • Dossier

    Soy: trade in deforestation

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    The rising demand for soy is having negative consequences for people and the environment in South America. Both ENDS reminds Dutch actors in the soy industry of their responsibilities and is working with partners on fair and sustainable alternatives.
  • Dossier

    The merits of community-based restoration

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    Globally, the area that is suffering desertification and land degradation is ever expanding. Unsustainable and often large-scale agricultural practices, including the copious use of pesticides and fertilisers, are a major driver of land degradation, aprocess that is further exacerbated by climate change, causing more erratic rainfall patterns, longer periods of drought and unpredictable growing seasons. This is very problematic not only for the hundreds of millions of people who directly depend on land and water for their livelihoods, but also for life on earth as a whole. It is clear that this process must be stopped and reversed, better sooner than later. But how to go about it?
  • Dossier

    Small Grants Big Impacts

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    Small grants funds offer an effective, alternative way to channel big money from large donors and funds to local groups and organisations that are striving for a sustainable and just society everywhere around the world. 
  • Dossier

    Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA)

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    GAGGA rallies the collective power of the women's rights and environmental justice movements to realize a world where women can and do access their rights to water, food security, and a clean, healthy and safe environment. 
  • Dossier

    Fair Green and Global Alliance (FGG)

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    Together with civil society organisations from all over the world, the Fair Green and Global (FGG) Alliance aims for socially just, inclusive and environmentally sustainable societies in the Netherlands and the Global South.
  • Dossier

    Wetlands without Borders

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    With our Wetlands without Borders program, we work towards environmentally sustainable and socially responsible governance of the wetlands system of the La Plata Basin in South America.
  • Alternative

    Inclusive Land Governance

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    Both ENDS works with partners around the world to ensure that land is governed fairly and inclusively and managed sustainably with priority for the rights and interests of local communities.
  • Dossier

    The Netherlands and the SDGs: A better world starts with yourself

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    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.
  • Alternative

    Regreening

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    In various countries in the Sahel, vast tracts of land have been restored by the local population by nurturing what spontaneously springs from the soil and protecting the sprouts from cattle and hazards.
 
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