Lorenzo Cotula's blog posts
The European Union's negotiations with the United States over the investment chapter of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership propose a more balanced text than many earlier treaties. But the EU has not made a compelling case for including an investment chapter in the first place.
Investor-state arbitrations can affect important areas of public policy – from environmental protection to public health. Yet many people may have never heard about this mechanism for settling disputes between investors and states, particularly in low and middle-income countries.
As trade talks regain momentum, 'land grab' activists are scrutinising negotiations and pioneering new opportunities for public accountability.
A new report claims that European demand for biofuels is not to blame for land acquisitions in poorer countries. But evidence suggests that the issue is more complex than the biofuels industry would like us to believe.
African governments have played a key role in allocating land to investors. Recent developments hold out promise for more carefully thought out approaches by them in the future.
A recent US judgment is a setback in efforts to improve corporate accountability, but promising developments elsewhere are creating new opportunities.
Greater transparency was a key theme at the World Bank land conference last week. Transparency is critical, but without greater accountability to local communities it is not enough.
Corporate interest in agricultural investment is up, but a new report shows that policies are skewed against inclusive investments. We need to reshape them so investments meet local people's needs and aspirations.
Researchers studying land acquisitions in the global south face many challenges, including trying to measure the exact scale of the problem. Developing rigorous methods to assess how the rush for land is exacerbating land scarcity and affecting people locally is perhaps the most promising way to measure what the scale of the land rush means for recipient countries and the people who live in them, says Lorenzo Cotula.