Farmers demand World Bank stops funding land grabs

An alliance of family farmers, together withs groups for the reform of the World Bank,  are demanding that the World Bank stops funding land grabs and calling for states to comply with their extraterritorial human rights obligations.

Extraterritorial obligations in international human rights require states to avoid action which would stop people in other countries from enjoying their human rights. These include the right to food and housing. The alliance includes  La Via Campesina (Honduras), National Family Farm Coalition (USA), Campagna per la Riforma della Banca Mondiale (Italy) and GRAIN (Canada)

The World Bank is holding a Conference on Land and Poverty from April 23-26 in Washington DC, on the theme of “Land governance in a rapidly changing environment”.  Corporate investors, governments and International Financial Institutions are meeting at World Bank headquarters to “discuss issues of concern to land practitioners and policymakers worldwide”.

World Bank funds a new enclosure movement

In many parts of the world, land is held in common by the people who live on it. They have customary or traditional land rights. But for decades, the World Bank has promoted land privatisation. Its funding for private land-titling programs in many countries amounts to an enclosure movement, taking away traditional and customary land rights titles and handing over private land titles to corporate agribusinesses. The World Bank provides capital and guarantees for big multinational investors, and provides technical assistance and support to “improve the agricultural  investment climate” in so-called recipient countries.

All these measures have increased the concentration of land in the hands of a few.  Multinational agribusiness corporations and financial institutions like private banks and pension funds are rushing to gain control of land, water and related resources. They have leased or bought an estimated 80 to 230 million hectares of land in recent years, mainly to produce food, feed or fuel for the international market.

People who depend on the land for food, water, housing and jobs are being dispossessed

Peasants, herders, fishers and rural households are losing their access to and control over natural resources (land, water, fisheries, forests, pastures), production processes, and the means to feed themselves and their communities. Local populations are being evicted and displaced, human rights such as the right to food and housing are being violated, and the environment, along with traditional community structures, is being destroyed.

Action Aid petition

You can sign an ActionAid petition urging the UK government and European Commission to end their support for biofuels, because of the negative impacts their biofuel policies are having on the food and land rights of people in poor countries.