CONSERVATION, EXTRACTIVES & GENTRIFICATION
Development-based displacement is the involuntary removal of individuals and communities from their homes to make way for development or conservation projects supported by the state and/or private sector.
The ascension of the Sustainable Development Goals 2015-2030 (SDGs) renewed efforts to tackle persistent development challenges, and yet, in this strive for prosperity, millions have been evicted from their homes or forced to sell their lands as countries modernise to meet rising service and supply demands among burgeoning populations.
Notwithstanding the Declaration on the Right to Development (1986) and the passage of Agenda 2030 reaffirming development as a human right, the SDGs interlock poverty (SDG 1), environment (SDGs 13-15) and justice (Global Goal 16) with mental health and wellbeing (SDG 3). These same rights to development must protect people and communities from the harmful impacts of modernisation. From lead poisoning in water supplies to oil spillages to toxic waste, families and communities are exposed to serious physiological harm and increasingly burdened by growing anxiety over the long-term impacts, raising serious public health concerns over the way development is being envisioned and implemented.
Dismissed as collateral damage to progress, 15 million people displaced by development have few durable solutions. In assessing states commitment to the SDGs, we spotlight how the move towards overreaching conservation, resource extractives and gentrification policy is pushing poor, marginalised communities to the edges of society, and deeper into poverty. The consequences are wide and deep for people experiencing the loss of social capital, cultural bonds, and displacement into areas of degeneration. By linking psychological stressors to aggressive development and structural violence, we demonstrate how the respect for community rights, equity, and prosperity lie at the heart of global mental health and fulfilment of the SDGS.