dutch ministry of foreign affairs
It is the young people of today who will live with the long-term results of a degraded environment and climate change impacts — threats that result from the unsustainable economic practices of today.
In Colombia, the abuse of power by subsidiaries of the Spanish energy giant Union Fenosa has mainly affected communities with scarce economic resources on the Caribbean coast. The subsidiary companies —Electricaribe, Electrocosta y Energía Social — have continuously increased energy service costs, violated labour legislation, and co-opted social leadership. Yet the communities affected are determined to resist the current political and economical model, which prioritizes profits over fundamental rights.
Chile’s oldest environmental organization, Friends of the Earth Chile / Comité Nacional Pro Defensa de la Fauna y Flora was born 38 years ago as a nature conservation organization, and today has five regional branches and nation-wide membership. However, new developments in the environmental NGO arena, including a multiplicity of diverse environmental problems, the emergence of other Chilean environmental NGOs (including international ones), and funding obstacles, mean FoE Chile faces critical new challenges and opportunities.
The ongoing expansion of exotic tree monocultures in the Brazilian Pampas, and the Pampas plains of Uruguay and Argentina, threatens the region’s biodiversity and natural resources. This is a consequence of a build up of the region’s pulp production industry; powerful forestry corporations are now investing in new plantations in the Brazilian Pampas to obtain wood supplies.
Friends of the Earth Latin America and the Caribbean (ATALC ) was created in 2001 to provide member groups with a stronger regional role. Yet to gain more influence over the region’s political spheres and social movements, ATALC must increase its public profile. Two years ago, ATALC’s executive committee realized a comprehensive, coherent communication strategy was required to achieve this.
The newly-operational 680-kilometer West African Gas Pipeline (WAGP) from Nigeria through Benin, Togo and Ghana is unlikely to fulfil its promise to reduce gas flaring in the conflict-ridden Niger Delta. Local communities on the pipeline’s path along the Gulf of Guinea have confronted issues including inadequate compensation, insufficient safety measures, pollution and damage to fisheries. Yet there is little recourse to hold the Bermuda-registered West African Pipeline Company (WAPCo) consortium responsible for its actions.
More than half the varieties of yam consumed in Togo are cultivated in the country’s center-west Bassar region. However, cultivation practices there have deeply degraded ecosystems. Urgent measures are needed if Togo is to prevent the loss of varieties of yam that help ensure its food sovereignty, including its only endemic yam species: Phyllanthus rouxii (from the Euphorbiaceae family of plants).
Togo is one of the world’s most impoverished countries. The systemic problems underlying this poverty include lack of public investment due to high external debt payments and lack of tax revenues. Furthermore one third of Togolese, especially those in the rural areas, lack food security, and are confronted with the rapid degradation of their natural resources.
As it emerges from years of devastating conflict, Sierra Leone faces further obstacles in achieving its Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of people without access to clean water. Currently only 46 percent of people in the capital city of Freetown have access to safe drinking water, and only 30 percent to basic sanitation services.
Nigeria and South Africa are both resource-rich countries, especially when it comes to minerals, oil and gas. Yet when multinational corporations exploit this wealth, local communities are too often burdened with the major social and environmental costs.
Climate Change is severely affecting livelihoods in Nigeria by altering seasonal rainfall patterns. Streams and springs are drying up, causing major crop yield reductions and food shortages. However, the level of awareness of climate change impacts is very low. Corporations and the transport sector, the major perpetrators of this damage, have not even begun to take the necessary actions to address these problems. No abatement measures are being implemented to stop gas flaring, Nigeria’s main source of greenhouse gas emissions.
Cameroon has more than 20 million hectares of humid tropical forest: however, illegal and destructive logging threatens this precious natural heritage and the people who depend on it. Europe is a major buyer of Cameroon’s timber, with the Netherlands being one of the biggest markets.