G20MegaProject campaign

On the occasion of the forthcoming G20 summit (Hangzhou, 14-15 November), the G20 Megaproject campaign by the Heinrich Boell Foundation – North America, aims at raising awareness on the revamped infrastructure interest in the economic governance agenda and its controversial impact on development. A real race to build infrastructures, access natural resources and markets is taking place worldwide (esp. in countries in the 'South') through public private partnerships and mega projects.  'Although PPPs and megaprojects may be valid for some sectors and circumstances, 'the G20 bias toward such projects will not serve equitable and sustainable development. Nor will the current iterations of the standardPPP contract and principles related to investment and corporate governance set forth by the G20 and associated institutions' (Heinrich Boell website).  

Via the hashtag #G20Megaprojects it is possible to read about themes such as megaprojects, private public partnerships, new investment rules, debt, climate, energy and taxation and better understand the current trends shaping the world economic governance and related challenges for the people and the planet. 

Antonio Tricarico and Xavier Sol in their article Mega-infrastructure as structural adjstments 2.0 critically look at this 'revived love' for mega-infrastructure in times of crisis. They point out that in the name of “development,” many of these massive projects may not meet the needs or may actually harm  local communities  in the global North and the global South.  They argue about the undemocratic way in which these projects are established, with total disregard for their environmental, social, and economic impact.  Moreover the prevailing model of public-private partnerships (PPPs), in many countries and sectors, has proved to be not economically viable and the proposal to bundle PPPs in investment portfolios for global traders is premature, at best, and foolhardy, at worst. The article puts it very clear that a new wave of privatisation is taking place via a new form of PPPs operating through a financialised model. Its goal is to allow investors to buy into “tradable PPPs” through financial assets which will be associated with a bundle of new mega-infrastructure, reflecting the kind of Ponzi Scheme logic that led to the last financial crisis. 

In the article by Aldo Caliari 'The G20's principles on institutional investment: A Trojan horse for finance-driven infrastructure', the hidden truth behind the OECD eight 'High level principles of long term investment financing for institutional investors' and its guidelines report, is explained. There are a number of points – the author says – that alter the way common citizens may understand infrastructure and their rights as citizens. Whether it is about favorable business climate, rule of law, rights regulation, risk management, or other related issues, the emphasis is always put on the need for governments to put in place actions and measures in favour and supportive of the investors, while a very discretionary approach is reserved to environemntal, social and human rights safeguards.  

Read more via the G20MegaProject Campaign  (Heinrich Boell Foundation North America website)