28 March 2011

When is a Land Deal a Land Grab?

A new report will be released this week in concert with the international conference on the global land grab to be held at IDS next week.

The Journal of Peasant Studies (JPS) Forum on global land grabbing, with three leading commentators, debates the sometimes hidden impacts of land deals and sets the scene for wider debates at the upcoming conference. The conference papers are available here.

Klaus Deininger, a senior economist at the World Bank examines the risks associated with single owners of large land holdings and the institutional reforms needed to make land deals successful. Olivier de Schutter, the UN Rapporteur for the Right to Food and Professor of Law and Human Rights at the Catholic University of Louvain, promotes small family farms and human rights in the context of contemporary debates on land grabbing. And Tania Murray Li, Canada Research Chair and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, examines how land deals can lead to dispossession and "rural exclusion".

Saturnino Jun Borras at the Institute of Social Studies in the Hague, Ruth Hall at the Institute of Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies in South Africa and Ian Scoones at IDS, are founder members of the Land Deals Politics Initiative which is organising the Global Land Grab conference.

It will be interesting to see what the evidence says about when a de jure land deal is simply a de facto land grab and whether there is anything public policy can do to prevent one turning into the other. Will do a post later next week.
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