Global Land News Dec 3 - Jan 7

Welcome back from the holidays and happy 2016 everyone! There were many exciting land stories in the news over the past month - check out this summary from the Global Land News archive. Visit the page to subscribe for our automated weekly summaries - they will be officially starting next week :smiley:

Ecuador: Land grabs in crosshairs of major land reforms

January 7, 2016
in: Land Reform, Legislation

Ecuador’s National Assembly approved Thursday a comprehensive land reform aimed at improving agricultural production, the redistribution of idle land, and ending the concentration of land in hands of few.

Sierra Leone: How a project with good aims delivered bitter outcomes

January 7, 2016
in: Community Rights, Corporate Social Responsibility, Land Grab

Reports about land-grabs in Africa often attack the corporations that stand to profit from such projects. But little is said of the international development banks that fund the projects… Over the past three years researcher Gearoid Millar has been studying the local experiences of a large bioenergy project in rural Sierra Leone. This project leased 40,000 hectares of land and relocated the farms of thousands of people to grow sugar cane and export ethanol to Europe. The project is primarily owned and managed by a private corporation, but is funded by a consortium of development banks and bilateral development organisations in Europe.

Nigeria: Land grabbing in Niger Delta – Govts, community leaders indicted

January 6, 2016
in: Corruption, Land Grab

The issue of indiscriminate allocation of community land to companies in the Niger Delta region has been brought to the front burner by stakeholders on environmental and human rights issues in the area with a resolve to tackle headlong the growing challenge of land grabbing by multinational companies operating in the states.

Ethiopia: Government agency strips Karuturi’s land privilege

January 4, 2016
in: Land Grab

The Ethiopian Agricultural Investment Land Administration Agency (EAILAA) terminated its lease contract with the controversial, Indian based agribusiness giant – Karuturi Global Ltd. … The agency claimed that the company has proven unfruitful despite the 100,000 hectare of land it received about nine years ago at Jikawo District and Itang Special District, Nuer Zone in Gambella Regional State.

USA: The Oregon occupiers’ land dispute, explained in 9 maps

January 4, 2016
in: Conservation, Land Dispute

The decision by a group of activists to seize a small, remote federal building in a corner of Oregon has roots that burrow into a lot of political and social threads… But there’s also the very particular question of how much land the government controls in the state – the same question that animated the dispute with rancher Cliven Bundy in Nevada two years ago…

Myanmar: Land confiscation problems worsen

January 4, 2016
in: Land Dispute, Land Grab, Land Titles

Farmers from Shan State said that they faced threats when trying to retake lands taken from them in southern Shan State and in some case were prosecuted in court instead of having their land disputes settled.

Myanmar: Villagers Retake Land from Gold Mining Company

January 4, 2016
in: Community Rights, Land Dispute, Mining

A local villager May Lwin said, “No land is left for our people for our own business. All lands are for them. The land they are mining now is the land discovered by our ancestors. We have been doing business in these lands on a small scale. These lands were taken from us and these companies bully us. These lands are our village lands so we came and retook our lands today.”

Tanzania: Hanang Pastoralists Secure Customary Rights Over Land

January 3, 2016
in: Land Titles, Pastoralists

The Ujamaa Community Resource Team (UCRT), a non-governmental organisation, has todate helped in the secure of Certificates of Customary Right of Occupancy covering over 5,500 hectares to the livestock keepers in five villages within the district since the programme started a few years ago.

Thailand: Palm Oil Giants Lose Rights to Forest Land

January 3, 2016
in: Forest, Land Reform

Large palm oil companies will lose their lucrative access to forest areas after the Royal Forest Department announced it would not renew plantation concessions. Deputy director-general Somchai Masathian said the land plots should be allocated to local farmers rather than wealthy investors.

Global: Can We Save Tropical Forests to Save the Planet?

January 1, 2016
in: Conservation, Forest, Indigenous

Saving the world’s tropical forests was a central element of the climate change agreement that emerged from COP21 in Paris. Delegates from all nations seem to have finally reached consensus on one point: Saving the planet from climate catastrophe is not achievable without also saving the Earth’s tropical forests.

Cameroon: Land tenure is not only a means, but an end in REDD+

January 1, 2016
in: Community Rights, Forest, Legislation

At a special session of the 2015 Global Landscapes Forum, held in Paris alongside UNFCCC COP21 climate negotiations, two REDD+ specialists currently active in the implementation and research of REDD+ in Cameroon shared their insights.

Global: Indigenous Land Rights Fight Builds Momentum in 2015

December 31, 2015
in: Community Rights, Indigenous

Indigenous communities around the world continued to push to have their voices heard when it came to pressures from non-indigenous mostly moving into territories. The headlines throughout 2015 highlighted indigenous land rights, lawsuit settlements, indigenous recognition in law, and even mandatory inclusion for college credits…

Africa: Land Tenure Security for Transforming African Agriculture

December 30, 2015
in: Food Security, Land Reform

Land tenure policy uncertainty not only discourages farmers from making long-term investments in soil and water conservation, but it also deters efficient allocation of land to more productive farm households… Addressing tenure insecurity in the region is thus key to improving agricultural productivity and effectiveness of income diversification strategy.

Global: Fifteen Indigenous Rights Victories That You Didn’t Hear About in 2015

December 25, 2015
in: Conservation, Dams, Indigenous, Land Dispute, Land Grab, Land Titles, Legislation

Good news. Sometimes, it comes in the form of a cancelled hydro dam that spares 20,000 people from the burden of displacement. Other times, it takes the shape of a simple court admission that Indigenous Peoples do actually make the best conservationists. In this day in age such stories are incredibly rare. They are even more difficult to find amidst the constant deluge of media that doesn’t matter. That makes them all the more valuable. Indigenous rights victories give us all pause to celebrate, to reflect and to rejuvenate our own quests for justice. May we encounter 10,000 more victories just like these in 2016!

Tanzania: Villagers Upset Over Snail Pace Issuance of Village Land Certificates

December 25, 2015
in: Community Rights, Forest, Land Dispute, Land Titles, Legislation

Villagers in land dispute wrangled Kilosa District are demanding expedited issuance of Village Land Certificates and Certificates of Customary Rights of Ownership (CCROs) that they say will help end persisting land disputes.

Indonesia: Tricky Tradeoffs Between Indigenous Land Rights and Deforestation

December 25, 2015
in: Customary Law, Forest, Indigenous, Legislation

Indonesia stands at the brink of a decision that may play a decisive role in determining the fate of its remaining forests. Surprisingly few want to critically and publicly reflect on this decision, probably because the issue is highly sensitive.

Cambodia: Mondulkiri land sit-down ‘fruitful’

December 24, 2015
in: Corporate Social Responsibility, Indigenous, Land Dispute, Land Grab

French owned plantation firm Socfin has restarted talks with indigenous villagers affected by its plantations in Mondulkiri province, with the UN saying the process could be replicated across a region dominated by agro-industrial firms.

Thailand: Farmers, Poor Call for Forest Dweller Rights

December 23, 2015
in: Community Rights, Eviction, Forest, Land Titles

The group yesterday called on Gen Prayut to help push a bill to facilitate the issuance of community land title deeds which had been approved by the defunct National Reform Council to promote the right of people to live in forest areas.

Global: What it Takes to Strengthen Women’s Land Rights

December 21, 2015
in: Customary Law, Land Reform, Legislation, Women

In the run-up to the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, the constitution of the Consortium of International Agricultural Research Centers’ research program on water, land and ecosystems fostered a debate on this issue by posing one key question: What would it take to strengthen women’s land rights in practice?

Kenya: Which Way is the Legal Treatment of Community Lands Going?

December 20, 2015
in: Community Rights, Eviction, Land Titles, Legislation

Liz Alden Wily discusses the history, and present status, of community land in Kenya.

Brazil: Can Industry and Indigenous Interests Avoid a Collision in the Amazon?

December 18, 2015
in: Corporate Social Responsibility, Forest, Indigenous, Natural Resources

At a discussion forum on Indigenous Peoples’ rights and land tenure, a united refrain could be heard coming from opposite ends of the spectrum. There were indigenous and corporate voices calling for greater engagement of indigenous peoples in moving towards a more sustainable development future in the Amazon.

Kenya: ‘Community Lands’ Less About Saving The Past Than Securing The Future

December 12, 2015
in: Community Rights, Customary Law, Legislation

Kenya’s new constitution provides for ‘community lands’. Group ranches and trust lands will be vested in communities. But why, some ponder, would modern citizens want to own land as communities? Is the constitution protecting old ways instead of leading us into the future?…

Indonesia: Inside Borneo’s highest-profile land conflict

December 7, 2015
in: Community Rights, Conservation, Forest, Indigenous, Land Dispute, Land Grab, Mapping

Masrani stood at the confluence of two rivers in Indonesian Borneo as his father recited the most dreadful oath. The extreme form of sumpah adat, a ritualistic nuclear option for Indonesia’s Dayak indigenous peoples, was reserved for dealing with crises nothing else could solve. …Indonesia’s shambolic internal borders are a national emergency. No single map of land-use claims exists; contradictory references persist across the different levels of government. The problem impedes efforts to zone the country for sustainable development and underlies thousands of conflicts that pit communities against companies, the state or each other.

Africa: Regional initiative to restore 100 million hectares of land

December 7, 2015
in: Conservation, Forest, Natural Resources

African countries launched AFR100 (African Forest Landscape Restoration Initiative), a pan-African, country-led effort to restore 100 million hectares (386 thousand square miles) of degraded and deforested landscapes by 2030. The AFR100 target of 100 million hectares has been endorsed by the African Union. So far 10 African countries have agreed to join AFR100 and committed at least 31.7 million hectares of land for forest landscape restoration. AFR100 partners are earmarking more than USD $1 billion in development finance and more than $540 million in private sector impact investment to support restoration activities.