Home » Feature » The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Labour and Environmental Concerns

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank: Labour and Environmental Concerns

Sanjiv Pandita



The recent establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is widely seen as a major shift in the regional and global economic leadership, with overwhelming support not only from Asian economies but also from major European countries. As an institution that aims to redefine the global economic order, the AIIB poses a significant challenge to the established US, Europe and Japan-led multilateral institutions. It is widely seen as part of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ policy aimed at building infrastructure along the ‘silk road’ under the leadership of Chinese economic might. This paper argues, though, that while traditional economic powers feel challenged by the AIIB, the new bank is, in actuality, based on similar ‘neo- liberal’ paradigms followed by other multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank, IMF, or the ADB, which will ultimately lead to the further marginalisation and dispossession of Asian communities. This paper attempts to highlight the labour and environmental concerns that the AIIB brings with it, and argues that the new institution does not posit any change or improvement in the conditions of working people in the region. It analyses what the AIIB entails for workers and communities in Asia, and its possible impacts on the environment. It also highlights some of the initial responses and concerns from the civil society against this financial body.

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