WHY FEAR THE AIIB’S STRATEGY?
We could write a hundred pages here, but we’ll focus on three key issues:
Scary Point 1: The AIIB strategy is astoundingly incomplete. Its only real allusions to ‘greening infrastructure’ involve reducing carbon emissions — by reducing traffic jams and vaguely attempting to slim down massive emissions from project construction.
This is ridiculous. In the many remote and wild areas where AIIB-supported projects will be constructed, far and away the biggest impacts of infrastructure expansion are to open lands to a Pandora’s box of new environmental pressures — such as deforestation, habitat fragmentation, fires, wildlife poaching, illegal mining, and land-grabbing.
This Pandora’s-box issue is so central to infrastructure that failing even to mention it — or identify strategies for managing and reducing it — should set alarm bells ringing everywhere.
Scary Point 2: While unleashing an infrastructure cyclone, the AIIB scheme doesn’t even mention the desperate need for Strategic Land-Use Planning and Strategic Environmental Assessments.
That’s like trying to do major surgery while wearing a blindfold.
Our natural world is a complex mosaic of biodiversity hotspots, critical migration corridors for wildlife, remnant habitats for endangered species, and rare ecosystems.
According to WWF, the Belt & Road will impact hundreds of threatened species including Tigers, Giant Pandas, and Saiga Antelope, and around 1,800 Important Bird Areas, Key Biodiversity Areas, Global Biodiversity Hotspots, and Global 200 Ecoregions.