by Linda Wallbott & Judith Kreuter, Institute of Political Science / Technische Universität Darmstadt
Renewable energies are often regarded as a silver bullet to abundant social and ecological problems, amongst them the rising energy-hunger and the challenges of anthropogenic climate change. However, the transition towards renewable energies is paved with conflict – be they discursive contestation, resource competition (including access to land), or concerning policy aims and trade-offs. 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
Dr. Cristina Espinosa, Arnold Bergstraesser Institute, Freiburg
Fabricio Rodríguez, University of Jena
The extraction of natural resources has intensified and expanded since the 1990s, gaining greater significance as a disputed field of social and political tensions since the turn of the century. While some actors compete over access to and control of natural resources, others emphasize the urgency to reverse the exponential expansion of extractive activities. Conflicts over the uneven distribution of risks and benefits associated to the exploration and production of resources have proliferated accordingly. 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?
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
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
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.