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RE: Re: Unnecessary Imposed Megaprojects: 8-11 May

from John Mugabushaka on May 08, 2014 12:15 AM
Congratulations Chris on this discussion about Inga Dam Project Phase Three in DRC. I do share your views. Even the Capital City, Kinshasa, is nearly always in the dark. In some suburbs they have electricity 3 days per week and for an hour or two on the day it is available. I just returned from the Congo one week ago!

In contrast. Southern African countries to which the Congo exports the product have no electricity problem at all.

I have also noticed that electricity export does not appear as a source of income in the DRC National budget.  Where does the money go? I think the answer to this question is the general problem for the DRC. If the G20 summit is really interested in helping developing countries, they should honestly invest their efforts into fighting corruption/investment/money laundering issues in those countries. One of the ways of this is promoting and helping to develop true and strong democratic/accountable systems instead of supporting "strong men". 

From: chris williams [will0447@...]
Sent: Monday, 5 May 2014 12:50 AM
To: wsf-extended-discussion@...
Subject: [wsf extended discussion] Re: Unnecessary Imposed Megaprojects: 8-11   May

Agree with Patrick that it is imperative to contest on megaprojects.

The civil society advocacy effort for G20 is up and running, with a
conversation space here, http://www.c20conversations.org.au/node/419339 that
has identified some new issues.  However, I see a major input on current
megaproject issues to come from Rosia Mantagna, Romania this week.  Last
year's forum was helpful, alerting all to the Stuttgart21 disaster.

Following the C20 conversations, a draft Discussion Paper (ala Position Paper)
is here, http://www.c20conversations.org.au/node/436637 and open for comment
until 16 May.  The C20 proposed position is then presented at a Civil Society
summit in Melbourne, 20-21 June.

I can't fathom how Infrastructure projects barely rated a mention during 2013
G20 in Moscow yet, from January 2014, OECD's reckoning is there are $50tr of
essential infrastructure projects to be completed by 2030.  Where have these
projects come from?  Why weren't they 'essential' prior to 2014, and now they
threaten the viability of the international financial system?

One project sneaking under the G20 radar is the Inga III dam project on the
River Congo.  International Rivers has been trying to generate awareness of
this megaproject, still with unresolved social and environmental issues from
Stages 1 & 2.  The generated hydro-electricity is to feed into the South
African power grid and the multinational-owned mines in Democratic Republic of
Congo, whilst the nearby settlements and townships in DRC continue to go
without electricity.

Inga III's other dilemma is there are only 3 bidding consortia, and two of
them have previously been 'black-banned' by World Bank for corruption or
unacceptable practices on other World Bank projects.  This leaves only one
bidding consortia, in a one-horse race to determine who the winning bidder
will be for Stage III of the megaproject.  I understand WB is trying to
rearrange consortia to work-around this dilemma (and their own
rules/procedures), but it still smacks of corruption.

I'll be at the C20 Melbourne summit next month and, most likely, at the G20
Leaders' Summit in Brisbane in November to try to add to infrastructure
accountability via Ciranda.  Join me.

On May 04, 2014 07:46 PM, Patrick Bond wrote:
> > On 2014/05/04 12:05 PM, chris williams wrote:
> > ... Here in Australia (hosting G20 meetings) we learn that OECD has
> > identified $50tr of infrastructure projects it wants to fund prior to
> > 2030.  How many unnecessary, imposed projects will that be?
> > Furthermore, OECD seeks to tap $29tr of global pension funds, which
> > include past and present contributions of workers. Presently, unions
> > are stirring on this matter, but the composition of worker pension
> > funds seems to vary country - to - country, so any inquisition or
> > opposition will take skill and time to mobilise.
> It is vital to contest the G20 - and BRICS (which is due to launch its
> BRICS Bank in July at a summit in Fortaleza, Brazil) - on megaprojects.
> Here is one of interest: a $25 billion port/petrochem expansion in
> Durban, South Africa. When, last Monday, as you see below, /The
> Economist /and /The Guardian's /John Vidal both offered admiring stories
> featuring Desmond v. Goliath, then maybe we have a fighting chance of
> winning hearts and minds! The reason for the press attention is that
> salt-of-the-earth Durban rabble-rouser Desmond D'Sa just won the Goldman
> Prize. Des is profiled in this 6' mini-doccie:
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=taFtYFmFXEE
>   port-petrochemical expansion threatens South Durban
> *Published on 28 Apr 2014 *
> The largest site-specific infrastructure investment in South Africa is
> hotly contested. 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Desmond D'Sa
> and other community residents and experts explore overlapping crises in
> South Durban. They show how displacement, deindustrialisation, the
> BRICS, shipping and trucking, climate and pollution, corruption and
> resistance come together in a $25 billion mega-project disaster. For
> more see http://www.sdcea.co.za, http://ccs.ukzn.ac.za and
> http://www.groundwork.org.za
> ***
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_erEf4zI0BI
>   Desmond D'Sa, 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize, South Africa
> Goldman Prize <http://www.youtube.com/user/goldmanprize>Goldman Prize
> <http://www.youtube.com/user/goldmanprize>
> ***
>   South Africa's 'cancer alley' residents face new threat from port
>   development
> *Decades of activism have made some gains, but the expansion of Durban
> port will wreak new devastation for many communities*
>   * John Vidal <http://www.theguardian.com/profile/johnvidal>
>   *
>       o
>         John Vidal <http://www.theguardian.com/profile/johnvidal>
>       o
>       o theguardian.com <http://www.theguardian.com/>, Monday 28 April 2014
> MDG : 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize : outh Durban Community
> Environmental Alliance Desmond D'Sa
> South Durban environmental alliance co-founder, Desmond D'Sa, recipient
> of the 2014 Goldman prize. Photograph: Jenny Bates for the Guardian
> The smells drifting into the cramped office of the South Durban
> Community Environmental Alliance <http://www.sdcea.co.za> range from
> sweet and sickly to stomach-churning. Volunteers and others who work
> with the small group can see oil and gas plants, refineries, landfills,
> agro-chemical works, shipyards, paper mills and a massively expanding port.
> "We have high levels of air pollution
> <http://www.theguardian.com/environment/pollution> which would be
> unacceptable in the US or anywhere in the rich world. Nearly 70% of all
> South Africa <http://www.theguardian.com/world/africa>'s industry is
> concentrated here. It stinks," says Desmond D'Sa, who co-founded the
> coalition of environmental, community and church groups in 1995 and who
> this week has won a Goldman award <http://www.goldmanprize.org/home>,
> the world's most valuable ($150,000) international prize for grassroots
> environment work.
> D'Sa refers not just to the smells that waft around south Durban, but to
> the 300,000 people, including some of South Africa
> <http://www.theguardian.com/world/southafrica>'s most disenfranchised,
> who must live cheek by jowl with more than 300 industrial plants. Many,
> like D'Sa's own family, were forcibly moved there in apartheid days.
> "I was 15 and we lived in Cato Manor, the biggest community of mixed
> folk in South Africa. It was a very radical place in the apartheid era.
> But mum and dad were brutally forced to move by the army and security
> forces. We were put in a truck, they bulldozed our house and suddenly
> the family of 13 had to live in four rooms in one of Africa's most
> polluted places."
> Racial and environmental injustice went together, he says. "There were
> smokestacks everywhere, chemical works, emissions. We were gasping for
> breath. We began to understand something was very wrong."
> By the 1980s, south Durban had become known as "cancer
> <http://www.theguardian.com/society/cancer> alley" and the toxic capital
> of Africa, with the highest rates of cancer and asthma
> <http://www.theguardian.com/society/asthma> on the continent. More than
> 100 smokestacks belched out over 50m kg of sulphur dioxide each year,
> children in local schools had three times the rate of respiratory
> diseases as those living outside the area and nearly everyone had skin
> ailments and diseases.
> The area is still massively polluted, he says, with regular chemical
> fires and innumerable leaks in the oil and gas pipelines that crisis
> cross the communities.
> "Leukaemia is 24 times the normal there. My mother was ill for years. My
> brother died of cancer, my daughter has asthma. Eleven of the 12
> families in the council block where I live have asthma. In every block
> you have around 50% of people who have respiratory problems. I still
> look out of my window and see refineries. I am a victim as much as
> anyone. We pay the price," he says.
> MDG : 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize : Desmond D'Sa South Durban
> Community Environmental Alliance
> Campaigns in south Durban have forced the government to introduce air
> pollution standards. Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP/Getty
> Perhaps because of the grim physical environment, Cato Manor and then
> south Durban, where people were dumped, became an extraordinary hotbed
> for political resistance to social and environmental injustice. Only
> streets apart lived human rights activist Kumi Naidoo, now director of
> Greenpeace International, fellow 1998 Goldman prize winner Bobby Peek,
> who went on to advise Mandela on environmental issues, and Nkosazana
> Dlamini-Zuma, Mandela's minister of health and now chair of the African
> Union Commission.
> D'Sa, a former chemical worker and union leader, worked with Peek to
> organise the diverse south Durban communities to confront government and
> industry. He helped develop a "smell chart" to help people identify
> which toxic chemicals they were being exposed to, trained people to
> measure pollution and has taken companies to court and closed down
> hazardous waste sites. In 20 years of activism, D'Sa and his small army
> of local volunteers have forced government to introduce air pollution
> standards and got much of the industry in the area to switch from oil to
> gas.
> Standing up to the authorities, however, has led to personal danger. His
> home has been firebombed by unknown people and because of constant
> threats, he lives apart from his family.
> The biggest threat, he says, is the planned expansion of Durban port to
> a monster development able to handle 20m containers a year -- nearly 10
> times as many as today. It would mean south Durban becoming a
> construction site for decades, the devastation of several suburbs and an
> inevitable increase in crime, smuggling, prostitution and air pollution.
> "It will bring major new roads, warehouses, railways. All the green
> space will go. We are not against development. We are against being
> bulldozed," he says. "We thought we were free after Mandela came into
> government. Now we see the Zuma government retreating into nationalism
> and conservatism. Environmental injustice fits into all of this. We are
> promised jobs and better health. But people are not fooled any more."
> http://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2014/apr/28/south-africa-cancer-alley-port-development
> ***
> /The Economist/
> http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2014/04/durban-port-expansion
> Baobab <http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab>
>     Africa
>   Durban port expansion
>       South African campaigner wins environmental prize
> Apr 28th 2014, 11:47 by V.M. | London
> THE man leading the opposition against a proposed expansion of the port
> in Durban, South Africa's largest, has won the 2014 Goldman
> Environmental Prize in San Francisco. Desmond D'Sa, a community leader,
> campaigns against toxic waste dumping in South Durban, a poor but highly
> industrialised area.
> The South African government wants to expand the Durban port to cope
> with growing cargo traffic. The multi-billion-dollar project to deepen
> and widen berths at the container terminal will create the largest cargo
> port in the southern hemisphere, boosting the economy and creating a
> multitude of jobs, according to Transnet, the government-owned
> corporation behind the project.
> Mr D'Sa and his South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, an
> association representing local communities, are sceptical. They believe
> they will gain only casual jobs, while bearing the brunt of the social
> and environmental costs.
> The proposed expansion may displace 30,000 people and affect the lives
> of 300,000 more. To date, the government has not committed to plans to
> rehouse the displaced and compensate those otherwise affected. The
> impact on the area's wildlife has not been fully assessed.
> Local communities have an unhappy history. The south Durban basin, which
> houses 70% of the region's industry, including hundreds of oil and gas
> refineries, chemical companies and paper mills, was originally populated
> by indentured servants working in local sugar plantations. The apartheid
> government forcibly relocated additional residents there to create a
> pool of cheap labor for the emerging industrial economy. Mr D'Sa and his
> family were a part of this forced migration.
> "(The expansion) will cause the biggest social upheaval since apartheid.
> We already suffered enough trauma under apartheid: we lost our lands,
> our houses, our communities. We don't want to go through that again,"
> says Mr D'Sa, who has vowed to fight the plan at every step.

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