Land concentration, land grabbing and people’s struggles in Europe
Land concentration, land grabbing and people’s struggles in Europe

By Saturnino Borras Jr., Jennifer Franco, and Jan Douwe van der Ploeg*

Introduction: The report and its highlights

Land issues are rarely considered to be a problem for Europeans, or cause for people’s struggles in Europe today, as it is elsewhere in the world – at least in the emerging literature on contemporary global land enclosures. But is this really the case? A closer look reveals quite the opposite. Many deeply social,
cultural, political and economic issues and concerns around land that are associated with countries and peoples in the global South exist all across the globe — including in a region where one might least expect it: Europe. In Europe today, concentration of land under ever larger holdings controlled by fewer hands, resulting (in part) from land grabbing and resulting in shrinking access to land for small-scale food producers, is accelerating. To what extent, how and why this is happening warrants far more critical attention than has been the case to date. This collection aims to address this gap and spark meaningful and constructive discussion. It brings together case studies detailing the nature and extent of these problems in 13 countries. The case studies are capped by a final chapter that reflects on the situations they present from a human rights perspective, using the lens of the CFS Tenure Guidelines on Land, Fisheries and Forests, a new governance instrument that was supported by European governments and addresses tenure issues in relation to national food security and the progressive realisation of the right to food.

The study itself is just an initial attempt in what we hope will become a continuing conversation around land issues in Europe in particular and in the global North more generally. The current study is the product of an intensive and focused collective process, one involving a team of grassroots researchers, academics, and development practitioners, many of whom were already steeped in practical experience and knowledge regarding the particular situations they researched and wrote about here. The seeds of inquiry were planted in June 2012 and began germinating that Autumn; the early growth was examined,
pruned and nurtured in a workshop that was held in Cluj-Napoca, Romania in December 2012; in January 2013 the first fruits were ready for taste-testing via a peer review process and layers of editorial work. The whole project was spearheaded by the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), in close collaboration with the Hands Off the Land (HOtL) alliance and other organisations. The European Coordination Via Campesina is an organisation of 27 farmers’ and agricultural workers’ unions as well as rural movements working to achieve food sovereignty in Europe. The HOtL alliance brings together a number of organisations engaged in raising public awareness within Europe on pressing global land issues, including land grabbing, involving European policies and companies.

…(read more).

Environmental Justice
Environment Ethics
Cyprus International Institute (CII) (Harvard School of Public Health)

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