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Land Rights

The purchase and lease of vast tracts of land from poor, developing countries by wealthier nations and international private investors has led to debate about whether land investment is a tool for development or force of displacement.

Overview

Over the last eight years, there has been a significant increase in land-based investment, both in terms of the number of investment projects and the total land area allocated. Industrialized nations and private foreign investors have driven demand for arable land in developing regions, particularly in Africa, but also in South America, and Asia-Pacific.

The lands offered to investors are frequently in use although occupants lack legal claims to the land and access to legal institutions. As demand for land assets increases and governments and multilateral institutions promote land investment, displacement and impact on livelihoods have become serious sources of concern.

What we are doing about it

The Oakland Institute is committed to increasing transparency about land deals including the terms of the deals, the actors involved, and the impact on people and the environment.

Publications

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The Looming Threat of Eviction: The Continued Displacement of the Maasai Under the Guise of Conservation in Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Looming Threat of Eviction: The Continued Displacement of the Maasai Under the Guise of Conservation in Ngorongoro Conservation Area , reveals the Tanzanian government’s plans to evict over 80,000 residents — mostly Indigenous Maasai from their land, further restrict the livelihoods of those remaining, and destroy buildings in Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA). Announced in April 2021, evictions of local residents are scheduled...

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Doing Business With the Bolloré Group

Violations of the United Nations' Principle and Code of Conduct The Bolloré Group is a major supplier to the United Nations. The UN pays Bolloré over US$50 million every year for logistics and other services. Between 2015 and 2019, different UN entities — including the UN Procurement Division, the World Food Programme, and UNICEF signed over 200 contracts with the Group for a value of over a quarter billion dollars. In...

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In King Leopold’s Steps: The Investors Bankrolling the PHC Oil Palm Plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo

As community efforts to reclaim 100,000 hectares of their ancestral land, initially seized over a century ago for oil palm plantations, are met with violent repression, unlawful arrests, and murder, In King Leopold's Steps: The Investors Bankrolling the PHC Oil Palm Plantations in the Democratic Republic of Congo unveils the names of the investors financing the plantations in the DRC.

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Endless War: The Destroyed Land, Life, and Identity of the Tamil People in Sri Lanka

Endless War: The Destroyed Land, Life, and Identity of the Tamil People in Sri Lanka , brings forth shocking new evidence on the extent of the continued persecution of the minority Tamil population in the North and East of the country. Under the guise of “development projects,” government driven Sinhalese colonization is growing within Tamil areas with the intent to change demographics and deny Tamil communities access to their land...

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This Is Our Land: Why Reject the Privatization of Customary Land

This Is Our Land: Why Reject the Privatization of Customary Land , is an educational resource that debunks myths used for privatizing land around the world, while providing facts on how customary tenure systems are critical to protecting livelihoods and ensuring sustainable development for the people and the planet. The privatization of land consistently serves the interests of private investors and multinational corporations at the expense of...

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Blog

A boma in the Ngorongoro District

Indigenous Peoples Must Be at the Center of Global Conservation Efforts

Wednesday, July 21, 2021 Ben Reicher

At its annual meeting on July 16-31, 2021, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee will discuss protection of the world’s most priceless cultural landmarks. A critical issue for this discussion is whether the voice of Indigenous communities, for whom some of these protected areas are home, will be audible and considered.

The Oakland Institute's research team visiting impacted Miskitu communities living beside the Rio Co

Amid the Political Crisis in Nicaragua, Foreign Gold Mining Companies Amplify the Repression

Tuesday, July 13, 2021 Josh Mayer and Anuradha Mittal

Indigenous and Afro-descendant people in Nicaragua's Caribbean Coast region face violence fueled by an alliance between the government and mining companies.

Plantation at Bukaleba. Credit: Kristen Lyons

Security for the Big Polluters: Plantation Forestry for Carbon Offset Delays Action on Climate

Tuesday, July 6, 2021 Kristen Lyons

Kristen Lyons investigates how climate policies such as carbon offsets simply provide security for big polluters, while leaving our planet in danger.

Farmers lead protest against extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, January, 9th 2021.

Fuel on the Fire: The World Bank’s Complicity in Duterte’s War on Farmers in the Philippines

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 Andy Currier

The government’s development strategy prioritizes a "modern" export-oriented commercial agriculture system that directly threatens farmers' and Indigenous Peoples' right to land and life. Those who organize and resist are killed or imprisoned with impunity in President Rodrigo Duterte's Philippines.

USAID project mapping and titling land in Petauke, Zambia in July 2018. Photo: Sandra Coburn

Land Unchained?

Wednesday, September 16, 2020 Andy Currier

Shifting land registries onto blockchain is a part of the broader move to "unlock the economic potential of land" in order to put more land and natural resources into exploitation by private interests.

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