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The Oakland Institute Impact Report

August 15, 2023
Maasai women in Kenya sitting underneath the shade of a tree

Dear Friends,

Land is Life. Land is sacred. It is culture, sustenance, and spirituality for billions of people on this planet. This drives our work at the Oakland Institute. Defending one’s land is a never-ending battle — it keeps unfolding on as many fronts as there are forests, rivers, deposits of mineral resources, and arable land.

Our report on Ukraine reveals land is at the core of the conflict — control of the agricultural land in the country known as the breadbasket of Europe is a major stake in the war. Our rigorous investigative research exposed the financial institutions and investors insidiously supporting the consolidation of farmland by oligarchs and Western financial interests, while Ukrainians die to defend their land.

Distress calls from the Indigenous communities in Kenya and Tanzania that we received in recent years intensified our work against “fortress” conservation. Top-down conservation and foreign tourism schemes demand “peoplefree” wilderness. Land without people to entertain foreign tourists is conservation colonialism — depriving local communities of natural resources that they have stewarded and are essential for their survival.

The same “development” model girds industrial agriculture, mining, and logging — that not only steals land but also rivers and waterways, which end up being depleted and polluted.

More than ever, we are steadfast in our commitment to mobilize and take action against these ravages. Partnering with farmers, pastoralists, and Indigenous communities to defend land rights is also about preventing corporate greed from destroying biodiversity, depleting our natural resources, and worsening the climate crisis.

In this 2022 Impact Report, you will read about resistance and resilience from five continents — a testimony that regardless of the odds, building cross border alliances is the way forward to tackle the many challenges of our times.

I am proud of our accomplishments — working closely together with communities from the Midwest of the United States, Kenya, Tanzania, DRC to Ukraine, Nicaragua, and Sri Lanka. And I am grateful to our partners, collaborators and all who have generously donated their time and energy. And to our donors and supporters — who power this struggle for land and life. Thank you!

In Solidarity,

Anuradha's Picture Anuradha's Signature

Anuradha Mittal
Executive Director