DEBT, DISPLACEMENT, AND BIODIVERSITY LOSS Assessing the Gender, Environmental, and Human Rights Implications of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.


This report exposes the human rights and environmental impacts of China-backed infrastructure projects in Kenya, Indonesia, and Argentina, focusing on women in all their diversities. The projects are all part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), an immensely ambitious global development strategy led by China which aims to promote connectivity and economic cooperation across participating countries. Through case studies of projects in these three countries, this report demonstrates the significant adverse effects of the BRI’s implementation on human rights and the environment.

Firstly, the report highlights the human rights implications of BRI projects, specifically on women in all of their diversities. It examines the unequal power dynamics and social structures that exacerbate gender inequalities, leading to violations of women’s rights. The research reveals instances of forced displacement, gender-based violence and other rights violations, particularly against Indigenous and local communities. The report also exposes the limited and unequal access to economic opportunities from these development projects, inadequate consultation processes and insufficient safeguards for women’s rights during project planning and execution. Furthermore, cultural norms, discriminatory practices, and a lack of gender-responsive policies further marginalise women, particularly those from vulnerable and marginalised communities.

Secondly, the report sheds light on the environmental impacts of BRI projects. It identifies the widespread ecological damage from large-scale infrastructure development, including deforestation, habitat destruction, water pollution, and increased carbon emissions. These environmental consequences have far-reaching implications for local communities, biodiversity, and the global climate. As primary stakeholders in natural resource management and household well-being, women are disproportionately affected by the degradation of their environments.

The research report also emphasises the interconnectedness between human rights and environmental concerns. It underscores the importance of adopting a gender-responsive and rights- based approach in BRI project planning, implementation, and monitoring; this includes engaging women and diverse stakeholders in decision-making processes, conducting gender and environmental impact assessments, promoting sustainable livelihood options for affected communities, and ensuring access to justice and remedies for rights violations.

Read More:

English Version: EN-BRI-Paper-2023-1

French Version: FR-BRI-Paper-2023-1

Spanish Version: ES-BRI-Paper-2023-2

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