Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017

spotlight coverGAAM has contributed a short article about aerotropolis projects to the Spotlight Report on Sustainable Development 2017: Reclaiming Policies for the Public. The report, by the Reflection Group, a global alliance of civil society organizations and networks was launched on 10th July and is being discussed at the High-Level Political Forum, the United Nations’ central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The GAAM article The ‘Aerotropolis’ phenomenon – high risk development thwarting SDGs was written by Anita Pleumarom, coordinator of Tourism Investigation and Monitoring Team (t.i.m.-team) and appears as a box on page 115 in chapter 11, which relates to SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) 11, to Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. The SDGs, 17 in total, a set of goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda, were adopted by countries on September 25th 2015. Each SDG has specific targets to be achieved over a 15 year timeframe, by 2030.

The Spotlight report assesses the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, analyzing systemic problems in its realization. Governments recognized the essential role of the public sector, including public finance, in achieving the SDGs. But this role is being undermined by privatization and public-private partnerships (PPS), which have strengthened the grip of corporate power on people’s lives. GAAM’s aerotropolis article outlines how this new form of airport-centric development, driven by a combination of private business interests and state control and spreading rapidly worldwide, works against achieving progress towards the SDGs, as it ‘profoundly subverts the goal of building inclusive, equitable cities’. The report provides a breadth and depth of information to help enable civil society to reclaim public space, and measures that governments should undertake to establish the requisite regulatory and global governance framework.

 

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Airports in India

The ‘Airports in India’ report by Equitable Tourism Options (Equations), is a useful critique of government plans for massive airport expansion. Published in May 2015, the report is skeptical regarding the viability of plans to construct 200 new airports over the next two decades, when most of India’s established airports operate at a loss. Vast amounts of public expenditure on airport infrastructure would benefit only a small wealthy minority, in a country where 22 per cent of the population live below the poverty line.

In many instances new airport plans are rushed, without proper consultation of the local community and the requisite environmental clearances. Several Indian airport projects have met with opposition from affected communities. The Bhogapuram airport project has seen massive protests by farmers (also see GAAM blogposts from 15th April and 17th April 2015). Airports in Sikkim and Aranmula have been stalled by community protests. There has also been vigorous opposition to privatization of Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai airports. Chennai Airport is thought to have 2,000 acres of land which the private operator can lease for facilities like five-star hotels. The report urges the government to reconsider new airports in favour of upgrading existing airports.