Every year, millions of people are forcibly driven from their land, homes, and farms to make way for hydropower dams, large-scale plantations, oil and gas pipelines, and other mega-investment projects. These projects are often touted as “development,” but in practice, they provide few local benefits, while exacting a devastating toll on the well-being of affected communities and their environments. Countless livelihoods have been destroyed, along with the natural resources that underpin them, impoverishing communities for generations to come and causing a breakdown in social networks and cultures. Human rights defenders who dare to resist these projects have faced criminalization and repression.
The global financial system is fueling this crisis with its relentless pursuit of new resources and markets. As capital becomes more interconnected, communities are excluded from investment decisions that affect them and then face further marginalization when they are forced to shoulder the costs.
Inclusive Development International was launched to fight back.
We have been deeply inspired by people who have risked their lives and liberty resisting displacement and other human rights abuses caused by unjust development, unbridled greed and unchecked power. We have witnessed the destruction of entire communities whose struggles have become our own, but we have also seen how the world’s most powerful corporations can be held accountable by organized communities engaged in persistent, smart and strategic advocacy.
We founded Inclusive Development International in 2012 in order to bring new resources and strategies to support those fighting on the front lines for just and inclusive development.
We partner with grassroots organizations and local communities around the world to defend their land, natural resources and human rights against threats from harmful investment projects. Together with our partners on the ground, we have prevented harms and obtained remedies after the fact in cases many believed “impossible” to win.
Behind many harmful investment projects is an invisible web of actors, including multinational corporations and their subsidiaries, commodity traders and buyers, private equity and debt investors, and development finance institutions. Many are bound by rules that require them to do no harm and respect human rights and the environment. Others are global brands that care about their reputation and profess to be responsible corporate citizens. Yet because of the opaque nature of international financial flows and supply chains, communities are unable to devise advocacy strategies that seize upon these critical points of leverage to defend their rights.
The cornerstone of our approach is unravelling and exposing the investment and supply chains behind these projects. Upon request from community advocates, our researchers use the financial sector’s own technology and tools to follow the money, identify pressure points for advocacy, and place this information in the hands of those whose lives depend on it.
We then work with communities over the long haul to prevent harms and secure justice by leveraging pressure points through sustained, multi-pronged, and evidence-based advocacy strategies. In doing so, we are increasing the financial and reputational costs for investors that enable and profit from human rights abuses and environmental destruction, creating a powerful deterrent for irresponsible investment.
At the same time, we develop tools and resources to help strengthen the movement for corporate accountability, and we campaign at the policy level to change the way financial institutions and multinational corporations do business.