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Written by: Michel Merlet
Type of document: Newsletter
Since late 2008, the press has highlighted cases of grabbing and concentration of large amounts of farmland in several countries. During the past year, members of AGTER’s network studied the land issues and made a lot to put the agrarian reform topic back in the international organizations agendas (World Forum on Agrarian Reform in Valencia, 2004 ; participation to the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development-ICARRD organized by FAO in Porto Alllegre, 2006).
In few months, millions of hectares have been grabbed in many countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia and Eastern Europe by a small number of national or foreign companies, showing that the decrease of land access inequalities is not enough. There is a need to prevent the concentration of land and natural resources, responsible for the impoverishment of millions of farmers.
This year, an important part of our work has been devoted to this issue. It appears on the AGTER website, with articles, videos and audio recordings, together in a dedicated section. We realized early 2009 for the International Land Coalition the scoping study and the terms of reference for a global research program. Then the Land Technical Committee of the French Cooperation actors asked us to lead a collective reflection on this subject in order to prepare a position of France on land grabs. The final product of the working group will be available soon.
This rich work of this think tank has put forward original analysis and a better understanding of the phenomena. We will continue this process by ourself during the coming months. A strong mobilization of the civil society will be required from now onto successfully implement effective mechanisms of regulation. The issue of land governance, as well as the climate issue, requires global responses. We hope to contribute to these responses and we count on you to participate in this work.
Michel Merlet Director of AGTER
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