Wednesday, December 14, 2011
PUBLICATION: Land Rights and the Rush for Land: Findings of the Global Commercial Pressures on Land Research Project (ILC)
This report, authored by leading land experts, is the culmination of a three-year research project that brought together forty members and partners of ILC to examine the characteristics, drivers and impacts and trends of rapidly increasing commercial pressures on land.
The report strongly urges models of investment that do not involve large-scale land acquisitions, but rather work together with local land users, respecting their land rights and the ability of small-scale farmers themselves to play a key role in investing to meet the food and resource demands of the future.
The conclusions of the report are based on case studies that provide indicative evidence of local and national realities, and on the ongoing global monitoring of large-scale land deals for which data are subject to a continuous process of verification.
But while research and monitoring will continue, this report draws some conclusions and policy implications from the evidence we have already.
Some of the report’s key findings:
- High global demand for land is likely to continue for the long term, although the steep increase witnessed between 2005 and 2008 may level off.
- The land and resource rights and livelihoods of rural communities are being put in jeopardy by the prevailing model of large-scale land acquisition. There is little in the findings to suggest that the term “land grabbing” is not widely deserved.
- The poor are bearing disproportionate costs, but reaping few benefits, because of poor governance, including the weak protection of the resource rights of the poor, corrupt and unaccountable decisionmaking, the sidelining of their rights within trade regimes, and the policy neglect of smallholder agriculture. Women are particularly vulnerable.
- The weak legal protection of resources held under customary tenure makes local people vulnerable to dispossession as governments make land available for private acquisition. Lands and resources which they traditionally own and use in common are especially vulnerable to loss.
- Insufficient action is being taken by host governments to limit the further impoverishment of rural communities that may be expected from the “land rush”. Nor is international law being properly put to work in service of this requirement.
- The challenge is to stop dispossession and land allocations that do not serve a genuine public interest, to legally recognise the rights of the rural poor, and to steer towards more equitable models that give a key role to existing land users.
The full report and summaries in English, French, and Spanish, are available for download here.