Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
08-01: Lessons from a Decade of Large Scale Land-Based Investments
Wednesday, 22/Mar/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Mathieu Boche, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, France
Location: Preston Auditorium


ID: 271 / 08-01: 1
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Academic research on land governance / rigorous impact evaluations

The global land rush 10 years on: Taking stock of commercial pressures on land

Lorenzo Cotula, Thierry Berger

IIED, United Kingdom

Pressures on land and natural resources are growing in many low and middle-income countries. This trend partly reflects long-term changes in national societies, linked to population growth, changing land use and socio-economic differentiation. But it is also the result of global market and policy forces, which in recent years have fuelled a wave of large-scale land investments in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Dubbed “land grabbing” by the critics, these processes have triggered lively debates about development pathways and control over resources. There is a substantial body of research on the scale, drivers, features and early outcomes of these land investments. But with a few important exceptions, much research has primarily focused on specific sectors, particularly agriculture, and changes in global markets since mid-2014 have significantly changed the international commodity landscape. Building on a global research project and drawing on data from multiple global databases, repositories or platforms, this paper takes stock of evidence on changing commercial pressures on land and resources, and related responses in policy and practice. The paper takes an integrated approach to understanding commercial pressures on land and natural resources, and considers evolutions both in patterns of actual investments and in the wider frameworks governing them.


ID: 135 / 08-01: 2
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Academic research on land governance / rigorous impact evaluations
Keywords: Land Matrix, land transactions, large-scale land acquisition

International Land Deals for Agriculture. Fresh insights from the Land Matrix: Analytical Report II

Kerstin Nolte1, Wytske Chamberlain2, Markus Giger3

1GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Germany; 2University of Pretoria; 3University of Bern

Large-scale land acquisitions continue to be an important

issue for governments, development organisations, NGOs and

farmers’ organisations all over the world; this remains the case

even in times of global economic slowdown, recession and

crisis. The scale of this trend and its significant impacts on rural

transformation and livelihoods make it necessary to further

monitor, observe and positively influence such deals wherever


The Land Matrix Initiative is a global partnership which aims

to improve transparency around large-scale land acquisitions. It

collects and provides data and information through a network

of global and regional partners.

This report aims to contribute to the body of knowledge available

on land acquisitions in low- and middle-income countries by

presenting an up-to-date analysis of the data contained in the

Land Matrix database and providing complementary evidence

based on case studies. It provides a concise overview of general

trends and developments, as well as regional and local insights.

In particular, the report gives an update on recent developments,

zooms in to focus on the key target regions, investigates who

acquires land and discusses emerging evidence on the impacts

of large-scale land acquisitions. Additionally, through a number

of case studies, it provides

insights into realities on the ground.


ID: 605 / 08-01: 3
Individual Papers
Oral Presentation
Topics: Academic research on land governance / rigorous impact evaluations
Keywords: Archetypes; Global land rush; Large-scale land acquisitions; Livelihoods; Meta-analysis of case studies

Sustainable livelihoods in the global land rush? Archetypes of livelihood vulnerability and sustainability potentials

Christoph Oberlack, Laura Tejada, Peter Messerli, Stephan Rist, Markus Giger

University of Bern, Switzerland

Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) have become a major concern for land use sustainability at a global scale. A considerable body of case studies has shown that the livelihood outcomes of LSLAs vary, but the understanding of factors and processes that generate these livelihood outcomes remains controversial and fragmented in terms of cases, contexts, and normative orientations. This study presents a meta-analysis of 44 systematically selected studies covering 66 cases in 21 countries to explain varying livelihood impacts. Results show that LSLAs affect livelihoods through a small set of archetypical configurations. Adverse outcomes arise most frequently from processes of (1) enclosure of livelihood assets, (2) elite capture, (3) selective marginalisation of people already living in difficult conditions, and (4) polarisation of development discourses, and less frequently from (5) competitive exclusion, (6) agribusiness failure, and (7) transient jobs. The processes are activated in specific configurations of social-ecological factors. Moving beyond diagnosis, the paper identifies archetypical potentials for safeguarding or enhancing sustainable livelihoods in LSLA target regions at multiple levels of decision-making. Finally, we analyse how contextual factors modify these general insights. The results can be used to better link local case studies with regional and global inventories of the global land rush.