Who is the “real” farmer? Contestation in the Committee on World Food Security

Who is the “real” farmer? Contestation in the Committee on World Food Security

by Annette Schramm, University of Tübingen, Germany

The Committee on World Food Security (CFS) might not be the most well-known institution in global governance, but it is of high relevance when it comes to issues of food security, land governance or the future of agriculture. Thanks to a Civil Society Mechanism (CSM), which is unparalleled within the UN system, civil society plays an important and very active role in this forum. Yet, this space has come under threat recently when a seemingly new player took the stage – the World Farmers Organization (WFO). In the struggle for legitimacy within the CFS, both civil society and the WFO claim to represent “the farmers”. But who is the “real” farmer?

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Framing identity in contestations over land in post-repatriation settings: The case of southern Burundi

Framing identity in contestations over land in post-repatriation settings: The case of southern Burundi

by Rosine Tchatchoua-Djomo, Leiden University, the Netherlands

The shift from violence to peace in Burundi has been marked by heavy contestations over land as a result of mass displacement and repatriation (see Kamungi, Oketch & Huggins, 2005). To facilitate policy-making, these land disputes have been framed by different (inter-)national actors as opposing two major camps: repatriates vs occupants. In this dichotomist representation, repatriates refer mainly to former Hutu civilians who fled mass violence perpetrated by former Tutsi-dominated ruling regimes; while occupants involve civilians who took over refugees’ land in their prolonged absence. Yet, these land disputes are much more complex than that. Read more

Same same but different… Challenges in the research on traditional authorities

Same same but different… Challenges in the research on traditional authorities

by Sarah Kirst, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

A small village in the northern part of Ghana: Together with my research assistant and eleven other men – the elders of the village – I am sitting in the shade of a big sheanut tree. Shortly before I already made a courtesy call on the chief of the village. I paid him my respect by presenting him the obligatory drinks money before asking him for his permission concerning the upcoming interviews with his elders. These days he is old and fragile. Yet, few years earlier he was the one who decided – in consultation with his elders – to lease out thousands of hectares of community land to a Norwegian company. Read more

Discussing the Natural Resources-Conflict Nexus

Discussing the Natural Resources-Conflict Nexus

Natural resources are ever more contested – be it land, forests, minerals, water or pastures. From Papua New Guinea to Brazil, from Kenya to the Middle East, peasants, pastoralists, indigenous people, or urban dwellers, but also political and economic elites, claim access to these resources. Global climate change has furthermore strong effects on the availability of renewable resources, as do various kinds of land, green or even blue grabs and increasing population growth. How do these conflicts arise, how are they pursued, and how can they be solved – these are some of the key questions of our new blog.

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