Thursday, 22 September 2011

Land grabbing, the modern colonialism

Oxfam has just released and interesting report entitled Land and Power. The growing scandal surrounding the new wave of investments in land on the land grabbing phenomenon. It's emblematic the story of 20K farmers evicted by their properties in Uganda cited in the Oxfam website.  During the World Social Forum held in Dakar, Senegal last February 2011, social movements, organizations of small food producers and other civil societies organizations released a collective appeal against land grabbing. Over 650 organizations have already endorsed it. The petitioners demand that:

  • States, regional organizations and international institutions guarantee people's right to land and support family farming and agro-ecology. Appropriate agricultural policies should consider all different types of producers (indigenous peoples, pastoralists, artisanal fishermen, peasants, agrarian reform beneficiaries) and answer specifically to the needs of women and youth.
  • FAO to adopt strengthened Guidelines on Governance of Land and Natural Resources be strengthened, to be based on Human Rights as defined in the various charters and covenants - these rights being effective only if binding legal instruments are implemented at the national and international level to impose on the states compliance with their obligations.
  • Moreover, each state has to be held responsible for the impact of its policies or activities of its companies in the countries targeted by the investments. the supremacy of Human Rights must be reaffirmed over international trade and finance regimes, which are sources of speculation on natural resources and agricultural goods.
The petitioners also urge the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) at FAO to definitively reject the World Bank principles for responsible agricultural investment (RAI), which are illegitimate and inadequate to address the phenomenon, and to include the commitments of the ICARRD as well as the conclusions of the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) in its Global Framework for Action.
Peasants affected by land grabbing will hand it over to governments during the negotiations on the Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in Rome from 10-14 October.

The so called Dakar Appeal against land grab has been already signed by almost 1K institutions. Among these also, ActionAid and The Oakland Institute the US Think Thank that wrote a number of reports on the bad situation in some African countries like Ethiopia and Sierra Leone. In the African continent the recent large scale investments in land are resulting in food insecurity, the displacement of small farmers, conflict, environmental devastation, water loss, and the further impoverishment and political instability of African nations.

More information at:
Food security and the global land grab
World Social Forum 2011 - Dakar, Senegal
Conference Report of ICARRD
Press release on the Oakland Institute website
Towards volontary guidelines on responsible governance of tenure of land and other natural resources (FAO report, 2009)
volontary guidelines on responsible governance of tenure of land and other natural resources (Zero Draft)

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