Across the world, natural resource exploitation continues to happen in the context of mega-projects. The multinational companies that dominate the natural resource industries prefer to pursue large, multi-billion dollar projects rather than operations with a smaller footprint. Mega-projects have proved, again and again, to be extremely risky. Human rights are being trampled in the rush to build large dams, mines, oil and gas pipelines, ports, highways, and railways, and forest-destroying agribusiness projects.
These types of projects are consistently associated with high levels of corruption and human rights abuses, making them especially dangerous for earth rights defenders. As China continues to promote its “One Belt, One Road” development model based on mega-projects, we can expect the dangers to earth rights defenders to continue to grow.