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09-05: Dealing with the Far-Reaching Impacts of Land Access
Land, Inequality and Power in Latin America
1Oxfam America, United States of America; 2Independent Consultant
Latin America is the most unequal region of the world in land distribution. The largest one percent of farms concentrate over half of agricultural land. Huge plantations, extensive livestock farming, mining and oil extraction have expanded rapidly at the expense of land to produce food for domestic consumption, sustain rural livelihoods and ensure the planet’s future. High dependency on the ‘extractivist’ model of production, based on large-scale exploitation of natural resources, drives inequality and leads to greater concentration of land, wealth, and economic and political power. This path to land concentration is facilitated by tax breaks and other public policies, failure to protect collective rights and dismantling support services for family farming. It has also generated more violence against those who defend the land, water, forests, and the rights of women, indigenous peoples and small farmer communities. Combating inequality in Latin America requires addressing the extreme concentration in access to and control over land, as well as in the distribution of benefits from its use. The practices that foster inequality must end and a new redistribution of land is needed, which requires eliminating the privileges of elites and strengthening the rights of all people and communities.
Land Markets in FARC Territory: Access to Land in Post-conflict Colombia
1George Mason University, United States of America; 2World Bank
Post-conflict contexts open up the possibility for wide institutional strengthening. In these situations, governments can again exercise full control over traditionally disputed regions, and are now able to stretch the rule of law into their entire territory, implementing policies in areas where this did not happened during the confrontations. In the particular case of land, it is the opportunity to lay down the foundations for well functioning institutions that can achieve desired levels of efficiency and equity.
Due to the absence of land administration agencies in war-affected regions during long periods of time, there is a serious lack of information about the details of the dynamics of land transactions in such disputed areas; this impedes the accurate design of public policy.
In order to address this issue, this research provides an in-depth characterization of the dynamics of land markets in the 212 municipalities where FARC has exercised ample historical influence.
A qualitative section provides an overview of the tenure structure in areas under analysis, it describes the level of public goods provision and dwells on the functioning of land markets analyzing size, composition and dynamism.
A final quantitative analysis examines the determinants of market thinness in the municipalities under study.
The Determinants of Land-Grabbing in the Colombian Civil War: A Preliminary Analysis
George Mason University, United States of America
Conflicts over land issues have been a constant all throughout the republican history of Colombia. During the nineteenth century, the story of land-related conflicts could be told in chapters describing the failure of three agrarian reforms, all defeated through various means, politically and physically, by the weight of large landowners.
However, the last thirty years have witnessed what can be cataloged as the most recent chapter in the history of conflict over land in the country- land-grabbing.
The dramatic escalation of the internal conflict caused a humanitarian crisis of dramatic proportions, which had as its most salient result, millions of people fleeing their homes in order to protect their lives. This massive forced displacement resulted in important extensions of land being abandoned, a situation that was taken advantage of by unscrupulous parties to seize those lands. In short, property rights were massively affected –land was stolen- while internally displaced population was running to save their lives. In the Colombian context, this has been labeled as land-grabbing.
This paper explores the factors that explain the degree of intensity of land-grabbing in the country at a municipal level with a special interest in cattle ranching as the major economic activity of rural elites in the country.
Land Inequality in Brazil
To be completed
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Conference: Land and Poverty 2017
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