Development is necessary to improve the lives of all people and that might explain why various countries have signed up with United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and African Union’s Agenda 2063. However, we need to implement development ideas that does not endanger our natural heritage as it improves our well-being.
The benefits differ among people. It can be for aesthetic values for someone who likes nature, and for cultural values for a person who grew up in the area. However, the rural areas lack local capacity to lead or represent themselves against unsustainable activities.
Rural people need experienced people in a variety of fields in the environment to represent them to fight against illegal development activities. Even if a local person or a lobby group wants to oppose such developments, they are unlikely to win against a very experienced team of most international companies.
Furthermore, “independent” EIA consultants are on the payroll of the developers, so they do not always find it in them to oppose the people who pay their bills. On the contrast, there are a few organizations that do well in protecting communities including the rural ones against unsustainable development (e.g. FrackFreeSA, Earthlife).