Thursday, August 25, 2011
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Ethical Aspects of Large-scale Land Acquisition in Developing Countries
The project ‘Large-scale land acquisition and sustainable development’ (www.landgrab.de) in collaboration with the Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, calls for abstracts for a special issue on ‘Ethical Aspects of Large-scale Land Acquisition in Developing Countries’, to be published in 2012-2013:
The phenomenon of so-called „land-grab“ has lately received considerable media attention. The term encompasses public and private investment in purchase or (long-term) lease of large-scale agricultural land in Africa, East Europe, Central and South East Asia. Whether this phenomenon represents much-needed investment or a foreign “land grab” remains a matter of dispute: Opponents point out that land targeted by Large-scale land acquisition (LaSLA) is neither unused nor underutilized. Thus, they argue, LaSLA will lead to detrimental effects for local communities as well as in regard to the environment. Some authors even count nature conservation issues as one driver of ‘land-grab’. On the other hand, proponents claim that - given certain conditions - LaSLA can result in capital influx, infrastructure investment, technology transfer and job creation. They therefore conceive of LaSLA as offering a possibility for a win-win-situation, allowing to simultaneously exploit so called ‘underutilized’ agricultural potential, thereby contributing to an essential increase in global agricultural commodity production as well as producing much needed rural development in developing countries.
Besides the obvious ethical questions regarding the acceptability of the phenomenon in the light of its consequences for the respective local population, LaSLA evokes several interesting questions for environmental ethicists:
- Are their ethical reasons to oppose the phenomenon that individuals/ corporations own/lease very large tracks of land that go beyond the direct consequences for the respective local population?
- Is agriculture really all about efficiency, that is, about producing maximum (sustainable) yields? If not, what kind of agriculture do we wish for, and why? And how does LaSLA fit into this picture?
- What is meant by concepts such as land sovereignty or a human right to land? Are such concepts conclusive?
- What do (our) considerations about LaSLA in developing countries imply for agriculture and land-ownership in the industrialised world?
Deadline: September 25, 2011