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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

One Degree Removed

Over the last two decades, three men have exerted control over a set of massive mining concessions in a region of northeastern Nicaragua known as the Mining Triangle (Triángulo Minero) . Despite protections for Indigenous land rights in Nicaraguan and international law, American mining engineer J. Randall Martin and two business partners — Thomas W. Lough of Canada and Sergio Ríos Molina of Nicaragua — have obtained approximately 200...
From Extraction to Inclusion report cover

From Extraction to Inclusion

From Extraction to Inclusion, analyses Papua New Guinea's economic and development performance since its independence in 1975. While the economy has relied on the large-scale extraction of abundant minerals and other natural resources, on most indicators PNG is faring worse than its Pacific neighbors and any progress that has been achieved does not reflect the huge value of the resources extracted.

Driving Dispossession report cover

Driving Dispossession

Driving Dispossession: The Global Push to “Unlock the Economic Potential of Land,” sounds the alarm on the unprecedented wave of privatization of natural resources that is underway around the world. Through six case studies — Ukraine, Zambia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, and Brazil — the report details the myriad ways by which governments — willingly or under the pressure of financial institutions and...

Green Resources’ pine plantation in Kachung. Credit: Kristen Lyons / The Oakland Institute.

Evicted for Carbon Credits: Norway, Sweden, and Finland Displace Ugandan Farmers for Carbon Trading

Evicted for Carbon Credits: Norway, Sweden, and Finland Displace Ugandan Farmers for Carbon Trading , brings forward irrefutable evidence that the Norwegian forestry and carbon credit company, Green Resources, forcibly evicted villagers around their plantation in Kachung, Uganda. The establishment of the plantation on land previously used by subsistence farmers precipitated an on-going food security crisis that has not been addressed by the...

Kara parent and child sitting along the bank of the Omo River. Copyright: Kelly Fogel

How They Tricked Us: Living with the Gibe III Dam and Sugarcane Plantations in Southwest Ethiopia

How They Tricked Us: Living with the Gibe III Dam and Sugarcane Plantations in Southwest Ethiopia , reveals the dire situation faced by the Indigenous in Ethiopia's Lower Omo Valley and calls for urgent action by the government. For years, the Oakland Institute has raised alarm about the threats that the Gibe III Dam and sugarcane plantations pose to the local population in the region. Now, several years on, new field research reveals the true...

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Blog

A seed fair in Democratic Republic of Congo. Credit: Alexa Reynolds, ACF DR Congo

Emperor Has No New Clothes

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The EBA program was not created to help farmers. The Bank's claims to support farmers via the EBA is inherently contradictory to the own raison d'être of the program. The best way for the World Bank to assist farmers would be to disband the EBA program altogether.

Maasai villagers, their faces are hidden for their protection. Credit: Oakland Institute

Tanzania's Withdrawal from the African Court on Human and People's Rights

Monday, December 9, 2019 Anuradha Mittal

A Wrong Move for the Country and for the Continent Maasai villagers, their faces are hidden for their protection. Credit: Oakland Institute When domestic mechanisms fail and there is no rule of law, independent regional and international mechanisms are essential to ensure accountability and human rights for all. This December 10th, recognized internationally as Human Rights Day, it is necessary to challenge Tanzanian President John Magufuli...

Forest view. Credit: Janhavi Mittal

Dalit and Adivasi Women at the Forefront of the Forest Rights Movement in India

Monday, September 9, 2019 Janhavi Mittal

The Supreme Court of India is set to rule on a case, Wildlife Trust Vs the Union of India, which could result in the eviction of 1.9 million forest dwellers from the country's Indigenous and traditionally marginalized communities.

As India celebrates independence day, a curfew pass for a resident of Srinagar serves as a reminder of the selective and paradoxical nature of this freedom as the valley remains in a state of lockdown. Photo: H Zargar.

Legalizing Dispossession: A Tale of Two Indian Land Grabs

Thursday, August 15, 2019 Anuradha Mittal

India's 73rd Independence Day merits introspection on the deep crisis faced by the world's largest democracy. Two recent attempts at perpetuating unprecedented land grabs, mark the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government's proclivity for legalizing dispossession and marginalization of the most vulnerable.

Nivada Rana (R) and Roma Malik (L), one of the leaders of the All India Union of Forest Working People, with the author. Credit: Janhavi Mittal / The Oakland Institute

Who is Afraid of the Forest Rights Act?

Monday, August 5, 2019 Janhavi Mittal

International civil society must continue to demand that the government of India not only defend the FRA, a progressive legislation that protects traditional forest dwelling communities, but also ensure its careful and widespread implementation.

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