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Both ENDS has turned 30!

Welcome to our special anniversary website! In December 2020, Both ENDS turned 30. A good moment to reflect on how things have changed for all of us over the years and what our joint future will look like.

On this website we will be publishing a selection of stories, interviews, and pictures of past and present. Scroll down and enter three decades of connecting people for change. Enjoy reading!

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Reflecting on thirty years

Reflecting on thirty years: a conversation with Theo van Koolwijk and Daniëlle Hirsch

Theo van Koolwijk coordinated the IUCN project that became Both ENDS. He was the organisation’s first Director, a position he held from 1991-1998. During his tenure, Daniëlle Hirsch became involved with Both ENDS as a volunteer and consultant. In 2003 she became policy advisor on water management. Since 2008 she has served as Director.

Together they look back on 30 years Both ENDS

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The Foundation of Both ENDS

In 1986, representatives from 15 Dutch environmental organisations met to discuss the daily reality that thousands of nature- and environmental organisations in developing countries have to cope with. These organisations often operate within a context of political repression and lack information, contacts and financial, political and moral support. In reaction to this serious issue, Dutch environmental organisations created Both ENDS: Environment and Development Service.

Read more about the history of Both ENDS


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The Narmada River and global financial flows

The history of Both ENDS’s work on financial flows can be traced back to social movements of the 1980s and 1990s. At the time, activists around the globe converged during the Annual Meetings and Conferences of the world’s most powerful international financial institutions (IFIs), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, to condemn their harmful lending practices and policies of forced austerity. IFIs, both then and now, typically invest huge amounts of public funding in large infrastructure projects, like hydroelectric dams, which cause severe social and environmental devastation.

30 years of watching international financial flows

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“I want to be part of a generation that is more responsible”

Julius Mbatia is one of the more than 300 young environmental leaders from Asia, Africa and Latin America that received support from the Joke Waller Hunter Initiative (JWHI). For our 30 year anniversary, we talked to this inspiring young Kenyan about the present and future of local and international climate policy, environmental policy and human rights.

Read the interview with Julius Mbatia

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interview Irene

“The thinking was: let’s not waste our time with gender”

Irene Dankelman was Both ENDS’s first project coordinator when Both ENDS started as a project of IUCN NL. She is now a member of the Advisory board of our JWH Initiative. Irene told us about those early days when she started researching and writing about women and the environment, and about how Both ENDS put this topic on the agenda.


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Pieter Lammers

The new paradigm of sustainable development

During the early years of Both ENDS, environmental issues were not really an issue within the development sector. Pieter Lammers, who worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when Both ENDS was founded, looks back on the context of development cooperation around 1990.

Read how sustainable development gained ground

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waterartikel Melvin

Water governance from the ground up: “It’s about giving people a voice”

The urgent need for a socially just and ecologically sustainable approach to water governance became evident early on in the history of Both ENDS. In the 1990s, Both ENDS was supporting people’s movements against huge, destructive hydroelectric dam projects, like the Narmada dam, in India. While campaigning against such top-down approaches to water management, Both ENDS and partners realised that the widely accepted concept of ‘Integrated Water Resources Management’ (IWRM) was not delivering on its promises of inclusiveness and sustainability.

Read about our road to inclusive water governance

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Sjef Langeveld

“You can only solve the great issues in the world together with the people directly involved”

Sjef Langeveld was the director of Both ENDS from the end of 1999 to the end of May 2008. He looks back on an eventful decade, in which Both ENDS slowly came of age. Start from the strengths that are already there, that was and is Sjef Langeveld’s motto: ‘I took the gold in the organisation as my starting point.’

Read the interview with Sjef Langeveld

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Artikel Niger Delta

30 years of struggle in the Niger Delta

In the 1990’s, the executions ofKen Saro-Wiwa and eight other activists was the sad cause of a wave of international attention for the Niger Delta and the Ogoni people. Both ENDS, just established with the aim to strengthen environmental movements in the South, started a campaign in the Netherlands. Since then, we’ve been involved in the struggle of local people against the severe pollution, human rights violations and loss of livelihoods caused by oil drilling in the Delta.

Read more about Both ENDS and the Niger Delta

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