FoE International News

Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) is a federation of autonomous organisations from all over the world. Our members, in over 70 countries, campaign on the most urgent environmental and social issues, while working towards sustainable societies. FoEI currently has five international programs: Climate Justice and Energy; Economic Justice, Resisting Neoliberalism; Food Sovereignty; Forests and Biodiversity; and Resisting Mining, Oil and Gas.

Web: www.foei.org

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Action alerts:

http://action.foei.org/page/speakout

www.foei.org/take-action

FoE International's web radio station (in five languages): www.radiomundoreal.fm


Victory at the UN Human Rights Council

FoE International and other social movements are celebrating a significant victory − a majority in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted yes to a resolution to begin work on an international, legally binding instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations with respect to human rights.

Jagoda Munic, chair of FoE International said: "This shows movement building can really change the power balance and expose US and EU commitments to the corporate agenda." The US and EU not only fiercely opposed the proposal, but also actively bullied other countries to side with them, threatening them with financial and development aid losses.

FoE International worked with other members of the Treaty Alliance (treatymovement.com) on advocacy work in Geneva and in capitals in the EU, South Africa, Costa Rica, Mexico, Brazil and elsewhere. During the Week of Mobilization organised by Swiss NGOs and the Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power (stopcorporateimpunity.org), FoE groups from Europe, Nigeria, Uruguay, Palestine, Guatemala, Brazil and Real World Radio were involved in the special session of the Peoples Permanent Tribunal, side events and street protests.

More information: www.twnside.org.sg/title2/FTAs/info.service/2014/fta276.htm

UNHRC Resolution A/HRC/26/L.22, Elaboration of an international legally binding instrument on Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises with respect to Human Rights

http://ap.ohchr.org/Documents/E/HRC/d_res_dec/A_HRC_26_L22_rev1.doc

Defending the environment, defending human rights

A new report presents a snapshot of FoE International's efforts over a two-year period to respond to and disseminate testimonies and information about attacks on environmental defenders. It is an alarming picture that calls for urgent action to stop the sources of institutional violence against communities and against the defenders of human rights.

FoE International, 2014, We defend the environment, we defend human rights: Denouncing violence against environmental defenders from the experience of Friends of the Earth International, www.foei.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/We-defend-the-environment-we-def...

FoE International Biennial General Meeting and environmental democracy conference in Sri Lanka

From 30 September to 6 October, FoE Sri Lanka hosted a conference on environmental democracy and also the FoE International Biennial General Meeting.

More than 100 delegates from Sri Lankan non-governmental organisations joined FoE delegates from 64 countries at the environmental democracy conference. The keynote address was delivered by Vedda chieftain Vannila Attho, leader of the indigenous peoples' group in Sri Lanka.

One of the major problems identified by FoE groups across the world was the expansion of the fossil fuel industry and its land grabbing. Globally, around 50 million acres of land sold as 'unused' or 'undeveloped' have been taken away from local communities. These communities lose not only their land but also their livelihood and culture. Participants at the conference developed a number of strategies and principles to improve environmental decision-making and address these global trends. Firstly, people who live in close proximity to natural resources should have the right to access information when resource extraction on their lands is proposed. Secondly, local communities should also be consulted about questions of resource management and have the right to veto unwanted development without fear of persecution. At the meeting, FoE International created an emergency fund to respond to urgent cases where community rights defenders are at risk.

The conference heard of inspiring cases in which communities had been able to challenge development plans affecting their lands. To fight against oil extraction in Niger Delta, FoE Nigeria couldn't expect support from their government. Therefore, they worked closely with FoE Netherlands to take Shell to the Dutch national court. FoE won the case and affected communities are starting to see tangible benefits.

Among other decisions, delegates at the FoE International Biennial General Meeting voted to welcome a new member to the federation, the Bulgarian non-governmental organisation Za Zemiata (from now on also known as Friends of the Earth Bulgaria) after two years of associate membership, and welcomed the addition of two new associate members − Centar za životnu sredinu (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and the Russian Socio-ecological Union (Russian Federation).

− Audrey Arjoune, Friends of the Earth

More information:

Biennial General Meeting:

www.foei.org/news/friends-of-earth-sri-lanka-hosts-the-friends-of-the-ea...

The role of communities in environmental decision making conference:

www.foei.org/news/the-role-of-communities-in-environmental-decision-maki...

Nilgala environmental protection society 'tree ordination' campaign:

www.foei.org/news/the-story-of-tree-ordination-in-sri-lanka

FoE Czech Republic receives EuroNatur Award

On 8 October, nature conservation foundation EuroNatur presented the EuroNatur Award for 2014 to the Czech environmental and nature conservation organisation FoE Czech Republic/Hnutí Duha.

EuroNatur President Christel Schroeder said: "Over the last two decades Hnutí Duha has shown outstanding commitment to the protection of the Bohemian Forest National Park. Their contributions to the conservation of natural resources along the European Green Belt with their international understanding of civil society involvement are a shining example to us all."

The Bohemian Forest is a low mountain range along the German-Czech-Austrian border. Today this mosaic of ancient mountain spruce forests, moorland and wild flower meadows offers a habitat for endangered species such as the lynx, elk, Eurasian three-toed woodpecker and Western Capercaillie. FoE Czech Republic works closely on its conservation work with German nature conservationists in Bavaria, such as FoE Germany/BUND Naturschutz.

The natural treasures of the Bohemian Forest are under threat − the core zone of the National Park has gradually been further split up and reduced in size over the years to accommodate logging, hunting and other activities, backed up by violent police interventions.

More information:

EuroNatur:

 www.euronatur.org/EuroNatur-News.english.0.html

FoE Czech Republic / Hnutí Duha:

www.foei.org/member-groups/europe/czech-republic

European Green Belt Initiative:

www.euronatur.org/Green-Belt-Europe.1358.0.html

100 years of FoE Norway

For 100 years FoE Norway/Naturvernforbundet has been the country's leading environmental organisation. FoE Norway celebrated its first 100 years with a festival in the woods ­ where more than 100 participants experienced Norwegian nature at its best ­ and a grand celebration in the centre of Oslo.

In its early years, Naturvernforbundet's work was focused on nature conservation. In the 1960s, the organisation's membership rose from 1 000 to 30 000. Membership continued to grow in the 1970s and work broadened to encompass issues such as oil spills, hydroelectric development and acid rain. From the mid-1980s, the Chernobyl disaster increased awareness of the dangers of the nuclear industry. Ozone holes scared the world to international action, climate problems came onto the agenda, and Naturvernforbundet joined the FoE network.

From 2000, the fight against the oil industry to preserve nature and climate really took off. FoE Norway and Young Friends of the Earth Norway have worked with others to ensure that there is no oil drilling in the beautiful areas of Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja.

www.foei.org/news/100-years-of-friends-of-the-earth-norway

FoE Norway / Naturvernforbundet: www.foei.org/member-groups/europe/norway

Report: The great REDD gamble

Governments around the world are recklessly betting that a risky method called REDD, or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation, will reverse deforestation and help fight climate change. FoE International's 'No REDD' position has been developed after long discussions amongst our members, and is based on our work with local communities and Indigenous Peoples, our collaboration with allied civil society organisations and social movements such as La Vía Campesina and World Rainforest Movement, and our involvement in tracking the development of intergovernmental climate change negotiations.

FoE International, Oct 2014, The Great REDD Gamble,

www.foei.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/The-great-REDD-gamble.pdf

Report: The dash for shale gas in Argentina

In a new frontier for shale gas, big energy companies such as Chevron, Shell and Total are heading south to drill in Argentina, including in protected natural areas. Argentina is host to the second largest number of unconventional gas reserves and fourth largest number of unconventional oil reserves in the world.

This dash for unconventional fossil fuels is taking place at the expense of the interests of local communities, workers and the environment. A report by FoE Europe documents how the companies are pressing for weaker rules to make it easier and more profitable for them to exploit unconventional fossil fuels. Field visits in Argentina and thorough investigations found that secrecy surrounds the drilling operations, public consultation is limited and violations of environmental and indigenous communities' rights are occurring.

FoE Europe, 2014, Heading South: The dash for unconventional fossil fuels in Argentina, www.foeeurope.org/heading-south-190614

What's wrong with our energy system and how do we fix it?

The world's current energy system is unsustainable, unjust and harms communities, workers, the environment and the climate. This is fundamentally an issue of corporate and elite power and interests outweighing the power of ordinary citizens and communities. FoE International's new website www.goodenergybadenergy.org explores why a just, sustainable, climate-safe energy system is more urgent than ever.

www.goodenergybadenergy.org is about the central problems with the current energy system; the drivers and logic that underpin these problems; the destructive impacts of the energy sources on which the system is primarily reliant (oil, gas and coal); and energy sources that are misleadingly put forward as 'clean' energy alternatives (nuclear power, industrial agrofuels and biomass, mega dams and waste-to-energy incineration).

Preventing Ebola in Liberia

FoE Liberia/SDI is working to turn back the Ebola epidemic through its work with the Community Awareness and Support Team (CAST). Ebola has killed thousands in Liberia and continues to cripple daily life and push the already fragile Liberian health service to the brink of collapse. FoE Liberia and the CAST team have been distributing Ebola prevention kits and information. To date, the distribution has reached the population of 37 villages in Grand Bassa and Rivercess Counties. The initiative is currently funded by individual donations and contributions from other members of the FoE International network.

If you can donate to support the Ebola prevention work of FoE Liberia and CAST, please visit:

www.foei.org/?page=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/contribute/transact&reset=1&id=9

More information:

www.foei.org/news/blogs/inside-the-fight-against-ebola/

www.foei.org/news/update-from-liberia-cast-initiative-delivers-500-ebola...

FoE files OECD complaint against Rabobank for illegal palm oil

Milieudefensie/FoE Netherlands and FoE Europe have filed a complaint with the OECD against the Dutch Rabobank. The complaint focuses on multiple loans from Rabobank to the Indonesian palm oil company Bumitama, which is accused of managing an illegal palm oil plantation and causing deforestation.

Rabobank demands of its customers in the palm oil sector membership of, and compliance with, the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Bumitama is known as a company that has repeatedly caused deforestation of protected nature reserves and has been marketing illegally produced palm oil. Since July 2012, five complaints have been filed with the RSPO against the company. To date, none of the complaints has been brought to a successful conclusion. Meanwhile, Bumitama has continued to manage the illegal palm oil plantation.

www.banktrack.org/show/news/friends_of_the_earth_files_oecd_complaint_ag...