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Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa: Publications

Reports

The Great Land Grab: Rush for World’s Farmland Threatens Food Security for the Poor

The Oakland Institute sounds the alarm on the threat that land grabbing poses to food security and livelihoods. Land grabs--the purchase of vast tracts of land from poor, developing countries by wealthier, food-insecure nations and private investors--have become a widespread phenomenon, with foreign interests seeking or securing between 37 million and 49 million acres of farmland between 2006 and the middle of 2009.

In October 2005, the Oakland Institute published its report, Food Aid or Food Sovereignty? Ending World Hunger in our Time. Since then the issue of food aid has taken center stage in foreign aid, global hunger, and development discourse, sparking interest and debate amongst policy makers, media, and civil society internationally.

 

If we think of hunger in terms of numbers then the solution also seems as though it should be found in numbers. 

The goal created at the Second World Food Summit in 1996, to reduce the number of malnourished by half by 2015, was a result of governments thinking in terms of numbers. But if hunger had been understood as a reality faced by individuals and families, we would have realized that hunger is also the ultimate symbol of powerlessness.

 

Turning the Tide: Challenging the Right on Campus, report cover.

Turning the Tide, with an introduction by historian Howard Zinn, presents a historical analysis of how the Right has advanced its agenda and strategies used to gain political influence on campus. It asserts that through strategic planning and massive funding, the Right has been able to reach and influence students and dominate the campus arena, and ultimately reshape politics and public policies at the national, state and local levels.

In the summer of 2005, the world rocked to Live Aid concerts and the Make Poverty History Movement celebrated developed countries’ fresh commitments towards the International Development Goals (IDG), development assistance, and debt cancellation at the G8 summit in Gleanagles. Some three thousands miles south of this euphoria, a nation witnessed thousands of its children die of hunger. This was summer 2005 in Niger, the poorest country in the world.

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Rufino Dominguez, coordinator of the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations (FIOB, Frente Indigena de Organizaciones Binationales) says there are about 500,000 indigenous people from Oaxaca living in the U.S. – 300,000 in California alone. Economic crises provoked by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other economic reforms are uprooting and displacing Mexicans in the country’s most remote areas, where indigenous people still speak their native languages.

Going Gray in the Golden State

For a startling number of seniors in the United States, aging is marked by intensified physical deprivation, insecurity, isolation and humiliation. Approximately 9 million Americans live below the poverty level, and of this group, seniors constitute nine percent.

The 2008 Food Price Crisis: Rethinking Food Security Policies, the latest in the G-24 Discussion Paper Series, is a timely report as member states of the United Nations come together 16-18 November, 2009 at the World Summit on Food Security in Rome, in an effort to find lasting solutions to world hunger. Intended to inform current policy discussions on how to address ever-growing food insecurity, the report contends that it is essential to examine the structural causes of growing food insecurity and to understand the dynamics that have propelled the food crisis.

High food prices in 2007-2008 threatened the livelihoods and food security of billions of people worldwide for whom getting enough food to eat was already a daily struggle. All over the world, individuals, civil society groups, governments and international organizations took action to cope with the crisis triggered by skyrocketing food prices.

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In the 1920s and ‘30s, a robust citizen movement to protect local economies from the impacts of chain stores swept across the nation. One ardent spokesperson, writing in a 1929 issue of Harper’s magazine, argued that “chain stores represent a sort of absentee landlordism. On our Main Street, and on thousands of other Main Streets, there is a situation where policies are dictated and standards are set by men who have possibly never seen our town.”

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