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The end of the poldermodel? : the role of dissent in Dutch international water policy

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The Dutch NGO Both Ends is involved in two Strategic Partnerships for Dialogue & Dissent funded by the Netherlands government. One of them, the Fair Green & Global (FGG) Alliance, support capacity building of civil society organisations (CSOs) to effectively voice their views and hold policymakers and companies to account. The role of dissent is seen to contribute towards equality, equity and justice. The lessons learned by the FGG Alliance to address the concerns of Indonesian CSOs regarding land reclamations in Jakarta Bay Masterplan will be taken up to support CSO involvement in the Manila Bay Sustainable Development Masterplan in the Philippines. The challenges and opportunities for CSO involvement in Dutch-funded interventions in developing countries are briefly outlined. Presentation by Giacomo Galli at the WASH Debate “Dialogue and dissent: Looking at the role of civil society in achieving SDG 6 by 2030”, in The Hague, the Netherlands on 26 June 2019.

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The end of the poldermodel? : the role of dissent in Dutch international water policy

  1. 1. www.bothends.org The end of the poldermodel? The role of dissent in Dutch international water policy Giacomo Galli g.galli@bothends.org
  2. 2. Strategic Partnerships for Dialogue & Dissent Fair Green & Global (FGG) Alliance • Strengthening civil society organisations (CSOs) to effectively voice their views and hold policymakers and companies to account. • Working towards sustainable, inclusive and community driven initiatives. • >1000 CSOs supported Global Alliance for Green and Gender Action (GAGGA) • Focus on grassroots groups and movements; women claim their rights to clean water, food and a clean, healthy and safe environment. • In 2018: 14 women´s funds, 6 environmental justice funds, 43 NGOs and 364 grassroots groups; 30+ countries.
  3. 3. The role of dissent Providing equal opportunities  Addressing root causes  Dismantling power structures
  4. 4. Example: Jakarta Bay Masterplan (NCICD) • Indonesian CSO’s against land reclamations; Dutch masterplan foresaw many more reclamations • Local CSO’s excluded from decision-making • FGG partners with local CSO’s to address concerns to Dutch government • New design is now on the table; process still closed off for CSO’s
  5. 5. Example: Manila Bay (1) Manila Bay Sustainable Development Masterplan • 30 month project, now halfway • Local consulting firm and Dutch expert team with NGO’s • Both ENDS, IUCN and partners in outsider role, early involvement. • Clear intention on taking up lessons learnt from Jakarta Bay • Large number of meetings, focus group discussions • Opening up process • More than adding some elements, it is about asking different questions & looking from a different lens “Do not add women and stir”
  6. 6. Example: Manila Bay (2) • Consultation falls short • Communities cannot participate on par • Hostile environment • What’s on the agenda? Who defines? • Reclamations and displacement campaigns ongoing, possibly incited by masterplanning • Are these worries taken into account? • Who gets to speak? Who else? • Rights-holders vs stakeholders; Who benefits,
  7. 7. The end of the poldermodel? Challenges • CSO’s will step out of dialogue if outcome seems pre- defined • Design processes are too determined by ‘experts’ • Economic diplomacy leads to politically desired outcomes, not challenging the status quo Opportunities • More coordination of NL-funded interventions while pushing for process innovation • Consider CSO-led ‘people’s plans’ as a viable alternative
  8. 8. www.bothends.org Take-aways • Water interventions take place in a contested, social+political reality and become part of this reality • Dissent crucial part of democracy, this also applies to water projects • MFA’s ‘organize your own dissent’ is commendable, more work needed to integrate dissent in conventional water management Contact: g.galli@bothends.org

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