More than 60 environmental, development and farming groups are calling on governments and financial institutions to put a stop to land grabbing financed by European pension funds, banks and insurance companies.
By Gerben-Jan Gerbrandy and Magda Stoczkiewicz
Europe is on the verge of a global resource crunch, and it is far from ready to tackle it. Over the next two days the European Parliament will vote upon recommendations to improve Europe's resource efficiency levels.The objective is to ensure that Europe maintains its prosperity in a resource-scarce world, while simultaneously building a better future for subsequent generations. But, will Parliament demand concrete actions that actually make a difference?
As pressure on world's natural resources increases rapidly, European Parliament showed overwhelming support today for measuring Europe's use of resources, in a step towards a resource efficient future, including full incorporation of resource efficiency into the Europe 2020 economic agenda. However, Europe will not make the most of the environmental, economic and social benefits of resource efficiency without clear targets to reduce, in absolute terms, Europe's consumption of resources, according to Friends of the Earth Europe.
In Europe, we are currently consuming an area of land one and a half times the size of our continent. This amount is increasing and as a continent Europe is putting more and more pressure on the limited land the planet has left.
Our current land footprint is pushing up food prices, driving land-grabs, contributing to climate change and biodiversity loss, and increasing social inequalities.
Friends of the Earth believes urgent measures are needed to monitor and reduce Europe’s global land use.
Over 100 civil society organisations, including Friends of the Earth Europe, wrote to the European Commission calling for the full climate impact of agrofuels, including indirect land use change, to be taken into account in two key pieces of EU legislation. The full letter can be downloaded on the right.
European politicians laid foundations for a resource efficient Europe today, with wide political support shown for the need to measure Europe's resource use. This is a crucial first step towards reducing Europe's resource use, according to Friends of the Earth Europe, but the European Commission must follow suit in order for Europe to gain the benefits greater resource efficiency brings.
Released on the eve of a World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, a new report reveals widespread violations of people's rights and environmental destruction from a land grab initially funded by the World Bank in Uganda.
The Friends of the Earth Uganda report provides first-hand accounts from communities forced to give up their livelihoods, food supply and access to water.
Palm oil corporations Wilmar International and BIDICO, along with the Ugandan Government and the World Bank, have funded huge palm oil expansion on islands off the coast of Lake Victoria.
A quarter of the islands have already been planted with oil palm. Most of this land belonged to local communities and indigenous peoples.
Brussels, January 12, 2012 – European banks, pension funds and insurance companies are increasing global hunger and poverty by speculating on food prices and financing land grabs in poorer countries, according to a new report released today (January 12) by Friends of the Earth Europe .
As Denmark prepares to take over the presidency of the European Union in January for the first half of 2012, Friends of the Earth Europe has written a letter to the Danish Presidency calling on it to contribute to a more environmentally-friendly and sustainable future, for the people of Europe and other continents.
"The current global economic, financial, environmental and social crises present us with a challenge of historic proportions. Only an urgent, wide ranging and far reaching response can deal with this situation," the letter states.