1. United States: Advocacy groups fear UN-World Bank proposal will encourage land grabbing (GRAIN, La Via Campesina)

| April 26, 2010

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A conference held this week could shape the way major institutions look at land deals in Africa. The World Bank is holding its annual conference on land policy and administration. A document proposing principles for responsible land investment will be on the table.

But a group of more than 100 civil society organizations say there’s no such thing as a good farmland deal. They worry the policy will encourage land grabbing. And that more land will be taken away from farmers.

La Via Campesina is an outspoken international peasants’ movement. It’s one of the leading groups opposing the land investment proposal. The group calls it an attempt to “reduce the risk of social backlash” against land grabbing.

La Via Campesina maintains that small-scale farming is the solution to food shortages. The group argues that farmland deals only promote large-scale agriculture.

The proposal in question was developed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, International Fund for Agricultural Development, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, and World Bank Group. It proposes seven principles for responsible land investment. These include: respecting existing land rights and ensuring consultation, transparency, and accountability in land deals.

Advocacy groups counter that land grabbing must be stopped immediately. The World Bank conference will take place in Washington, United States, on April 26 and 27.

-To read the Principles for Responsible Agricultural Investment that Respects Rights, Livelihoods and Resources proposed by the FAO, IFAD, UNCTAD, and the World Bank Group, go to: http://www.donorplatform.org/component/option,com_docman/task,doc_view/gid,1280

-To read the statement Stop Land Grabbing Now prepared by La Via Campesina, FIAN, the Land Research Action Network, and GRAIN, and signed by more than 100 civil society organizations, go to: http://www.grain.org/o/?id=102

-To see the full agenda for the Annual Bank Conference on Land Policy and Administration, including links to papers that will be presented, go to: http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTARD/0,,contentMDK:22537817~pagePK:148956~piPK:216618~theSitePK:336682,00.html