Known as ‘land grabs’ in the media, large-scale land-based investments have generated much international debate. Some commentators have welcomed the new livelihood opportunities investment may bring to lower-income countries. Others have raised concerns about negative social impacts, including loss of local rights to land, water and other natural resources; threats to local food security; and the risk that large-scale investments marginalise family farmers.
IIED is working with partners to understand and document the scale of private sector engagement with REDD+, which aims to reduce emissions and conserve forests in specific countries. We are doing this by developing a series of national-level case studies and a global database.
Taken together, national laws, international treaties and transnational contracts define the terms of an investment and the distribution of its risks, costs and benefits. Getting the law and contracts right is a critical part of ensuring that an investment contributes to sustainable development.
Investors are increasingly interested in accessing land and natural resources in some of the world’s poorest countries. While this can create new opportunities for local communities, it also comes with risks. These new pressures on land require communities to develop new resources and capabilities to make decisions on the potential risks and benefits of engaging with investors and to block plans if they’re not in their best interest.
Can a half-acre of dry earth be more precious than gold? To farmers in some of the world's poorest countries, the answer is very literally yes. Goldmining, agribusiness and other interests are pushing farmers off the land they need for crops, and polluting their waterways.
Land is life for millions of people across rural Africa. It is central for ensuring they have enough food to eat. Even if they are involved in other trades, land is an essential safety net for the rural poor during times of economic instability and helps define cultures and identities.