Fresh insights from the Land Matrix Analytical Report II

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Background and objectives of this report
Strong demand for land continues to be a major challenge that highlights the interconnectedness of the global South and the global North: investors from all over the world are acquiring land for agriculture and resource extraction, much of it in the global South. This phenomenon has been dubbed the “rush for land” and has captured much attention from policy-makers, researchers, the media and the public. A peak was reached around 2009 during the triple crises of finance, food and fuel (McMichael, 2012), when a series of large-scale land deals was announced by governments and investors or reported by researchers, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or farming organisations. This raised hopes for some of a faster road to rural development, but concerns were also voiced about potential negative effects on food security, access to land and the future of small-scale farmers in the South by global institutions such as the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Bank, bilateral donors and the African Union (AU). One problem that was widely perceived by policy-makers, researchers and the public was the scarcity of robust data. Due to their controversial context and potential for creating conflict, land acquisitions often take place behind closed doors. A lack of transparency and the marginalisation of local stakeholders weaken the bargaining position of smallholder farmers and pastoralists, including indigenous peoples.

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