Wednesday, December 07, 2011
PUBLICATIONS: CIFOR Papers on Largescale Land Acquisitions and EU-approved Voluntary Schemes for Biofuels
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has two recent publications that may be of interest to CAPRi readers.
- Social sustainability of EU-approved voluntary schemes for biofuels: Implications for rural livelihoods. The rapid expansion of biofuel production and consumption in response to global climate mitigation commitments and fuel security concerns has raised concerns over the social and environmental sustainability of biofuel feedstock production, processing and trade. The European Union has thus balanced the commitment to biofuels as one of the options for meeting its renewable energy targets for the transport sector with a set of sustainability criteria for economic operators supplying biofuels to its member states. Seven voluntary ‘EU sustainability schemes’ for biofuels were approved in July 2011 as a means to verify compliance. While mandated sustainability criteria of the EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED) have a strong environmental focus, a number of these voluntary schemes have social sustainability as a significant component of their requirements for achieving certification. This paper evaluates the social sustainability of these schemes through a review of the substantive content and procedural rules of these schemes, and discusses its implications for rural livelihoods in producer countries. The absence of social sustainability provisions in several schemes, the limited scope of most other schemes and procedural rules providing compliance loopholes point to the urgent need to expand the scope of EU RED to safeguard rural livelihoods in the global South. Available here.
- Contemporary processes of largescale land acquisition by investors: Case studies from sub-Saharan Africa. Rapid growth of emerging economies, emerging interest in biofuels as an alternative to fossil fuels and recent volatility in commodity prices have led to a marked increase in the pace and scale of foreign and domestic investment in landbased enterprises in the global South. Emerging evidence of the negative social and environmental effects of these large-scale land transfers and growing concern from civil society have placed ‘global land grabs’ firmly on the map of global land use change and public discourse. Yet what are the processes involved in these large-scale land transfers? This paper provides a comparative analysis of legal and institutional frameworks and actual practices associated with large-scale land acquisitions in Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. Drawing on policy documents, interviews with government officials from diverse sectors and discussions with customary leaders and affected communities, we explore some of the deficiencies in legislation and practice which currently undermine the ability to safeguard customary rights in the context of large-scale land acquisition. Available here.