The term ‘shrinking spaces’ describes state actions that aim to restrict civil societies’ activities. In this article I investigate in how far spaces for civil society action are also influenced by changes in land control by looking at two cases of large-scale land transformations in Senegal. Read more
by Sandra Koch, Green Scenery/AGEH-Civil Peace Service
Christian Schulze, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Sierra Leone
In Sierra Leone, the livelihoods of the majority of the population, particularly the rural poor, are based on secure and equitable access to land, fisheries and forests. Increasing pressure on these resources in the last decade alongside their highly unequal distribution have contributed to disputes and conflict over access and user rights, which were already a key driver of the Sierra Leone civil war from 1991-2002. Read more
Sina Schlimmer, Sciences Po Bordeaux, Les Afriques dans le Monde
Questions arising from the phenomenon of the “global land grab” have been shaping the agendas of NGOs, World Bank conferences and academic seminars for about a decade. The publications dedicated to this hot topic are nearly uncountable. This ongoing discussion about a seemingly new wave of large-scale agricultural investments by international companies in countries of the Global South poses several methodological and conceptual challenges for scholars. Basing on the results of my PhD research, this article invites to reconsider the hype on “land grabbing” as a public problem which is constructed on different levels. Read more
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?