This Giving Tuesday, Help Protect Indigenous Land Rights Around the World

Wegnerki Village near Turmi, April 2018. Copyright: Kelly Fogel

Wegnerki Village near Turmi, April 2018. Copyright: Kelly Fogel

Today, the Oakland Institute celebrates a major victory against the privatization of the commons at a time when corporate interests have intensified their takeover of forests and customary lands around the world—from Brazil to the Congo Basin to Papua New Guinea.

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Our report, “The Highest Bidder Takes It All: The World Bank’s Scheme to Privatize the Commons,” denounced an unprecedented, aggressive attack on land rights by the World Bank through its Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) project, which promoted large-scale industrial agriculture at the expense of farmers, pastoralists, and Indigenous Peoples. It prescribed that governments become land brokers and transfer public and customary lands to private ownership so that the land can be put to its “best use.” It ignored the fact that billions of rural poor live and work on these lands, which are essential for their livelihoods while representing ancestral assets with deep social and cultural significance.

Our findings generated outrage around the world—and were echoed in opinion pieces by senior United Nations officials, policy think-tanks, and NGOs, as well as in communications by environmental organizations in Europe, Asia, and Africa.

In response, the World Bank delayed the 2019 EBA publication, which provides key policy prescriptions to governments on agriculture, for almost a year. In a major development, the Bank’s just-released 2019 EBA report has dropped the new land indicator. Instead, it pays heed to our demands by recognizing the importance of customary land rights, and by announcing that safeguards to protect these rights should be “a development priority.”

This is a triumph for billions of family farmers, pastoralists, and Indigenous Peoples around the world who rely on their land for their livelihoods, as well as for the 280-plus civil society organizations who have joined our campaign to push back against the World Bank.

We dismantle ‘development’ myths and campaign in partnership with communities in their struggle for justice.

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With gratitude from the struggle,

Anuradha's Picture Anuradha's Signature

Anuradha Mittal
Executive Director