Published on Nov 7, 2012
Tom Deweese talks with Gary Franchi about the growing concerns over National Heritage Areas and land-grabbing by a predatory federal bureaucracy
The Great Global Land Grab -- Hedge Funds & UN REDD Programme
Uploaded on Aug 19, 2011
From Alan's June 10 and July 11, 2011 broadcasts. Listen to Alan's talks and donate to him at
The World Bank report on 'large scale land acquisitions' recently revealed dramatic increase of investor interest in agricultural land since the 2008 food price spike, with reported farmland deals amounting to 45 million hectares in 2009 alone and most of it in Africa. Joining ABN from Lagos on the implications of the report's findings is Dennis Aliga, CEO of DMA Capital Group.
Stop Africa Land Grab
The target locations of most land grabs are in the Global South, with 70% of land grabs concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa. Other primary areas of note are in Southeast Asia and Latin America.
ABOUT LAND GRABBING IN AFRICA:
Land Grabbing in Africa: a Review of the Impacts and the Possible Policy Responses a research funded by the Pan Africa Programme of Oxfam International, conducted by Tinyade Kachika, Senior researcher.The research highlights issue such as:
- The Rise of Land Deals in Sub-Saharan Africa
- Land Grabbing and Risk for Small Scale Farmers,
- Land Grabs: Another Yoke over Women’s Land Rights?
- Opportunity for Groups at Risk: The African Union’s Continental Standards on Land Question
Food Crisis and the Global Land Grab – a website, dedicated mainly to news reports about the global rush to buy up or lease farmlands abroad as a strategy to secure basic food supplies or simply for profitFarmgrab.org, a website, dedicated mainly to news reports about the global rush to buy up or lease farmlands abroad as a strategy to secure basic food supplies or simply for profit. Its purpose is to serve as a resource for those monitoring or researching the issue, particularly social activists, non-government organisations and journalists.
Click here to go to farmlandgrab.org
More than 1,500,000 African people have been displaced leaving millions homeless or without land
More than 1,500,000 people have been displaced in Africa ... and much of the country from Mogadishu to the Kenya border ...... leaving millions more homeless or without lands ...
Click on the twistie below ()to expand each section:
African “Arc of Conflict”
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Despite the signing of the Lusaka Peace Accord in July among the seven African armies engaged in a war there, the truce has been violated by all countries and tensions continue. In addition, as the country becomes more accessible, immense humanitarian needs are being uncovered. The war already has displaced 1 million people and put several million at the risk of starvation.
Republic of Congo
Its ongoing civil war offers no hope of a quick solution in 1999. More than 500,000 people have been displaced thus far. Between 10,000-15,000 people died in 1999 alone as a result of the conflict.
Ethiopia and Eritrea
Fighting continues between these two countries over a border dispute. Thousands have been killed and there are estimated to be hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people. There also have been reports of forced emigration, ethnic cleansing and military action against civilians in both countries.
Extensive and extreme poverty has been exacerbated by a culture of violence, clan warfare and drought in Somalia, primarily due to years of clan-fighting. There are more than 400,000 Somali refugees, and much of the country from Mogadishu to the Kenya border operates as a stateless, clan-controlled society. Constitutional provisions and national laws are inoperative, except in break-away (and, as yet unrecognized) Somaliland. Recently, the country has faced floods and droughts, as well as a ban on the export of livestock to Saudi Arabia and other nations. About 1 million people in the central and southern regions are affected, 300,000 need food aid, including 200,000 children.
Sudan’s civil war has continued for the better part of four decades. Virtually all of Sudan's nine neighbors have become embroiled in the conflict in some way over the years. Relations with Ethiopia have improved this year and a peace deal with Uganda was brokered earlier this month. Yet, no lasting peace agreement has been brokered between the SPLA and the government in Khartoum. In terms of human costs, more than 1.9 million people have died in southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains since 1983 as a result of the war, according to the U.S. Committee for Refugees. Fighting also has caused massive internal displacement, leaving millions more homeless or without lands to farm and threatened by starvation and disease. Furthermore, the south is far behind the north developmentally due to the war and benign neglect during colonial rule. Violence is expected to continue.
Oxfam Warns of Land Grab Dangershttp://www.celsias.com/article/oxfam-warns-land-grab-dangers/
Oxfam today launched a major new report, Land and Power, to highlight the growing pace of large-scale land deals abroad, often brokered at the expense of poor communities that lose homes and livelihoods - sometimes violently - with no prior consultation, compensation or means of appeal.
Preliminary research indicates as much as 227 million hectares - about the size of Western Europe -may have been sold, leased or licensed in such deals since 2001. (1)
This new wave of land deals is not the new investment in agriculture that millions had been waiting for. Many of the deals in developing countries are in fact "land grabs" where the rights and needs of the people living on the land are ignored, leaving them homeless and unable to grow enough food or make a living.
Oxfam's research outlines a Ugandan case study where at least 22,500 people lost their homes and land to make way for a British timber company, the New Forests Company (NFC). Evictees told Oxfam they were forcibly removed and have been left without enough food or money.
Despite court orders restraining evictions by the company, eye-witnesses say company workers took part in some evictions anyway. NFC denies itsinvolvement in any evictions. (2)
"All our plantations were cut down - we lost the banana and cassava. We lost everything we had," said one of the Ugandan evictees, Christine*, a farmer in her mid 40s. "The company's casual labourers would attack us -they beat and threatened people. Even now they won't let us back in to look for the things we left behind. I was threatened - they told me they were going to beat me if we didn't leave."
The Uganda case clearly shows how land grabs are slipping through the net of existing safeguards. Investors, governments and international organisations must prioritise an end to land grabs by fixing current policies and regulations, which all too often fail to ensure local people are consulted or treated fairly, and by ensuring all relevant international standards are respected.
"Investment in agriculture should be good news but this land rush isreversing decades of hard-earned improvements to people's lives," said Stansfield. "We need urgent global action so that local communities with relatively little do not lose everything for the benefit of a few. It's time to secure a future where everyone has enough to eat."
* Names changed
1. This data is compiled by the Land Matrix Partnership, a coalition of academic, research and non-governmental organisations. The 227 million hectares figure is based on information on land deals over 200 hectares from a range of sources including government reports,academic research, company websites, media reports and the few contracts that are available. Lack of transparency makes it difficult to get exact figures, but to-date up to 1,100 of these deals - amounting to 67 million hectares - have been cross-checked and the coalition is continuing the cross-checking process. It is calling for increased transparency among companies and governments so that the true scale of the problem can be accurately understood.
The Land Matrix Partnership includes the International Land Coalition,the universities of Bern and Hamburg, the French research institute CIRAD, the German agency for technical cooperation, GIZ and Oxfam.
2. The evictions took place between 2006 and 2010. One High Court order was granted on August 24, 2009 and remained valid until March 18, 2010. The other was granted on June 19, 2009 and remained in force until October 2, 2009. Both orders were to restrain evictions by the company.
The New Forests Company stated the majority of local residents had no legal right to the land, they had left peacefully and that the process was the sole responsibility of the Ugandan National Forestry Authority.It told Oxfam it had brought jobs and amenities to local communities and its activities had been approved by the Forestry Stewardship Council and International Finance Corporation.
Download the report Land and Power here :
New Forests Company investigation into Uganda land grab risks credibility gap
NFC has taken responsibility for organizing the investigation - including the identification of people to participate in the Steering Committee, and the selection of an auditor to carry out the investigation. While this may be acceptable for an internal inquiry into the company’s practices, this process is not likely to give the credibility that an independent investigation would, given the seriousness of the impacts on affected communities, including allegations of abuses and violence.
In order for the investigation to be regarded by all key stakeholders as independent, credible and trustworthy:
- It is essential that the selection of the auditor and Steering Committee is not carried out by NFC alone behind closed doors;
- Instead Oxfam recommends that this role be taken on by an independent Chair, acceptable to all parties, who would then consult all stakeholders regarding the appointment of members of the Steering Committee.
- The Chair would also hold responsibility for the appointment of an internationally credible auditor, to be approved by the Steering Committee.
- The Steering Committee would then draw up the Terms of Reference and Scope of the investigation, in consultation with all stakeholders.
A key issue must be to determine the respective responsibilities of NFC and other actors – including under international standards. Of paramount importance is that the outcome of the investigation must ensure redress for those who have been affected by the evictions.
It is a matter of grave concern that local communities report that NFC workers have, over the course of the last two weeks, been asking questions of community members. Oxfam has heard that people whose stories have featured in recent media coverage have been sought out in particular. Community members have said that some of the interviews were recorded on video. We have also heard that police arrived to question specific people in an NFC vehicle. We are concerned that such actions may prejudice the forthcoming investigation.
Read moreOxfam case study: The New Forests Company and its Uganda plantations
People from the Luo tribe, who returned to their ancestral homeland after post-election violence, waited for food in Kisumu's Nyalande slum, Feb. 27, 2008. (Reuters)
Martha Thompson, a resident of Jamaica Plain, is Rights in Humanitarian Crises program manager for the Cambridge-based Unitarian Universalist Service Committee. Accompanied by UUSC program director Atema Eclai, she is visiting Nairobi and Kenya's Western and Nyanza provinces, touring internally displaced persons sites and assessing the humanitarian situation for the UUSC.
By Martha Thompson
Monday, March 3 2008
ELDORET, Kenya -- The two months of post-election violence that has plagued Kenya has created a new geography.
Francis, our driver, points it out to us as we drive through Kisumu in Western Kenya.
"Here is where they burned houses and shops," he points to burned out brick hulls. "Here is where the fighting was really bad. Here is where the police shot a man as he walked out of that house."
On the road to Eldoret, he points out burned stores, the stones and burned remains of tires where there were roadblocks. "That one, that was a bad roadblock."
The post election violence has left an overlay of physical scars on the country. It has changed the way people remember places.
We are travelling to Kisumu, Kakamega, and Eldoret in Western Kenya to look at who is getting left behind after the violence. We are looking to talk to people displaced by the violence and the groups that work to support them in order to get an idea of both the needs and the gaps.
We find plenty of gaps.
Thousands of Luos and Luhayas have been driven out their homes in Naivasha and Nakuru. For their own safety, they were bused east to their ethnic groups' "Ancestral homes." Churches and local groups in Kisumu organized hastily to welcome them in 3 transit centers.
Grace, a local leader, takes us to the Anglican transit center in Kisumu, which has recieved 10,000 people to date. It's all run by volunteers, on days that 800 people arrived at once, women from the town cooked around the clock, stirring huge pots on outside fires.
Tents and mosquito nets are strung along pillars of a half-built cathedral. Women carry water through what will be the nave, and children play in what will be the choir.
"Our cathedral is blessed by the displaced before it is built," says one of the volunteers as he shows us around.
Thousands of people have come, been fed and given shelter, and then sent on to their places of origin.
At the Catholic shelter in Kisumu, a group of school kids sit around a table under a tree with a seminarian who is holding an informal class. First- and second-graders clamber over each other to show their compositions and drawings accompanied by English words -- "Look at mine."
"See what I can draw," they say gleefully in Luo. One short boy with a smile that almost closes his eyes shows me his English composition, "School is better than eating ugali (cornmeal mush)."
Their resilience is remarkable. Their parents' sadness and fear shows in their eyes, but these children can find joy in the reassuring familiarity of school lessons.
Over 500,000 people are estimated to be displaced in Kenya. Half of them were in internally displaced persons camps, half with families and friends. The IDP camps were often separated by ethnic group, Kikuyu were in some camps, and Kalenjin, Luo and Luhaya in others. People from different sides of the violence were put in different camps for safety.
A large relocation of the population is now under way, as people are being transported from their home provinces to those province that were their "ancestral home," or ethnic homeland. But this solution to ethnic violence only appears simple.
Thousands and thousands of Luos were put on buses and sent to the transit camps mentioned above in Kisumu. From there, after two or three days, they were then transported to their home villages. Or as the Bishop said to us gently, "It's diplomatic to say they are at home, but for many of them there is no home, no land."
On paper, they are no longer displaced. Many will be welcomed and looked after, but for many, this is no longer home. Relatives are dead, their families moved away decades ago. Many are dropped off into villages they barely know. Urban store owners are not ready to take up life as farmers. High school kids are afraid their schooling will be interrupted. For these people, their problems are not solved, life is not yet back to normal.
Here in Elodoret, we are staying in a hotel where the parking lot is filled by jeeps of aid organizations. Eldoret has many thousands of displaced still in camps. The people who are staying in the camps are receiving aid and they are receiving attention because they are highly visible, but the people who are being resettled are receiving almost nothing, and as they disperse to the country side they become invisble to the outside world.
A grandmother talked to us this afternoon, her voice trembling as she explained she had lived in Naivasha for thirty years as a flowerseller. Now she looks after the children of her four dead daughters. She was driven from her home and forced to flee to Kisumu.
She has been brought to her "ancestral home." She has lost all her belongings and her goods. She looks at us and wonders, "How do I feed and clothe these grandchildren now?"
If resettlement is to be a building block of peace, and not a stumbling block, these people need support and they need it quickly.
For more information on the UUSC and its activities, please visit its website at www.uusc.org. For information on how you can contribute to the Passport blog, please contact the Globe's assistant foreign editor, Kenneth Kaplan, at K_Kaplan@globe.com.
UN warns Kenya aid need may grow
World Bank Rejects Oxfam Call For Moratorium On Land Grab
07 October, 2012
The World Bank has rejected a call by Oxfam International to freeze the lender’s investment in land-intensive agricultural projects, saying such a move would not help prevent abusive practices in the purchase of acreage.
In a time of increasing food prices, speculation with food, land grabbing poses immediate problem in societies overwhelmed with poverty and food security.
A Bloomberg report by Sandrine Rastello on said:
Oxfam, in a report released on October 3, 2012, urged the Washington-based bank to declare a moratorium on its agricultural investments in land to “create space to develop policy and institutional protections to ensure that no bank-supported project resulted in land grabbing.”
According to the Oxfam report, there have been 21 formal complaints since 2008 by communities from Asia to Africa saying projects funded by the bank violated their land rights.
A global rush to buy farmland triggered by the 2007-2008 spike in food prices has continued, with international investors focusing on the poorest countries with weak land-rights security for deals, a report by the Land Matrix research group said in April.
According to Oxfam’s report released yesterday, an area of land the size of London is sold to foreign buyers every six days in poor countries.
The World Bank said in a written rebuttal it “does not support speculative land investments or acquisitions which take advantage of weak institutions in developing countries or which disregard principles of responsible agricultural investment.”
A moratorium “would do nothing to help reduce the instances of abusive practices and would likely deter responsible investors willing to apply our high standards,” it said.
Still, making sure projects meet such standards “is challenging,” it said.
The World Bank itself in a 2010 study said foreign purchases of land posed risks to the livelihoods of farmers in some countries. At the same time, the bank, whose mission is to eradicate poverty, estimates that the world will need a 70 percent increase in global food production by 2050 to feed the additional 2 billion inhabitants on the planet.
The worst U.S. drought since the 1950s sparked a 10 percent gain in the bank’s Food Price Index in July, it said Aug. 30, adding that further weather disruptions or rising energy expenses could increase grain costs already at a record.
Oxfam said the bank plays a pivotal role in land acquisitions through direct financial support for investment in land, policy advice to governments and as a standard setter for other investors. With a freeze, the lender could review its advice and craft tougher policies to stop land grabs, Oxfam said.
*“World Bank Rejects Oxfam Call to Freeze Land Investment”, October 4, 2012, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-04/world-bank-rejects-oxfam-call-to-freeze-land-investment.htmlhttp://www.countercurrents.org/cc071012.htm
Media reactions to World Bank deal about
transparency on AFRICAs Land Grabbing
10 April 2013
The European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the EU struck last night a deal on transparency of extractives industries. The agreement will be adopted by the Parliament and the...
9 April 2013
In response to the World Bank’s statement to build capacity and safeguards related to land rights, Oxfam’s land grab campaign lead Hannah Stoddart said:“The World Bank’s acknowledgement of the risks...
2 April 2013
Acting head of Oxfam’s Washington office Didier Jacobs said:“It’s refreshing to see a world leader outline a bold, focused and measurable vision. Oxfam applauds refocusing the World Bank on...
27 March 2013
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27 March 2013
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27 March 2013
Anna Macdonald, Oxfam’s Head of Arms Control, said:“We see some improvements have been made since the last draft was issued but there are still some important problems with the new text.“The scope...
26 March 2013
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23 March 2013
In response to the release of the revised text last night (Friday), Anna Macdonald, Oxfam's Head of Arms Control, said:“We are extremely disappointed and don’t believe this is the best that...