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Mega-projects: never fair on wealth and power

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The title under which my letter last week appeared, traduced the sense of my message (AJ 12.9.02). There is no conflict between sustainable, locally controlled development and social justice. Indeed, the two objectives are indivisible.What I wish to challenge is the presumption that mega-projects, which are usually negotiated with strings attached, to the extreme disadvantage of the national economy in question, ever result in, or are intended to result in, a fairer distribution of wealth and power.

One example of such a project is the currently planned laying of an oil pipeline through Turkey by a BP-led consortium, which will effectively suspend Turkish law across the corridor in question with no rights of compensation for the farmers and villagers whose land will be bisected. The agreement includes unfettered access to water by the company and exemption from liability in the event of an oil spill.

Kate Macintosh, chairperson, Architects and Engineers for Social Responsibility

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