Large-scale infrastructure and extractive industry projects like dams and highways in the Amazon and Greater Mekong basins are often poorly planned, plagued by corruption and move forward with limited opportunities for affected communities to participate. Alternatives to these harmful projects are usually not adequately assessed, and the economic benefits of the mega projects are often over-estimated. The affected communities depend on natural resources like rivers and forests for their livelihoods and culture, but these projects fail to properly mitigate environmental impacts or maximise opportunities for community driven development. There are well-documented cases of projects reducing food supplies, displacing people without adequate compensation and when communities object government and business stakeholders repress them.
These large-scale projects are often funded by international financial institutions (IFIs) or regional financial institutions from emerging countries, such as China and Brazil. The ruling elite in power often captures the benefits of these development projects, while the environmental and human rights repercussions are felt by many on the ground.
We help communities access project information, obtain independent scientific analysis, facilitate community research and work with lawyers to ensure the projects meet local and international laws and standards. We educate policymakers on these issues to improve the implementation of laws, including Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA).