• Tom Deligiannis
    Thank you for your very interesting posting. Resource capture continues unabated, it seems. There have been cases recently where public exposure and anger at these leasing deals has resulted in their being overturned. Clearly greater transparency and watchfulness by civil society can also play a role in helping to forestall land grabs, along with the factors you note above.
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18337694112852162181 Geoff Dabelko
    I look forward to reading the report to see if it can help answer how the equation between these kinds of purchases outweigh buying on the international market. Alex Evans presented a very plausible hypothesis at the Wilson Center last week when he flagged the national food protectionist response during the 2008 food price spikes. Food exporters started shutting it down and the international trade system was shown to be completely unprepared to deal with the food security threat of protectionism rather than the displacements of free trade (of course backed by heavy developed country farm subsidies). Look to Global Dashboard blog for Alex's take on this issue.
  • http://www.panearth.org/ SESALMONY@aol.com
    There is an urgent need to examine the science of human population dynamics. The topic of human population dynamics has not been and is not now being openly discussed.

    Let us imagine for a moment that the growth of the human population today is the “mother” of human-driven global challenges looming before humankind and knowledgeable people willfully refuse to speak about why the unbridled increase in absolute global population numbers is occuring. How can that behavior be construed as correct? On what authority is silence in response to science condoned? Who has the right to deny the existence of knowledge of something that threatens all of us? Is there no one who has determined that experts have a “duty to warn” humanity in such dire circumstances as exist when the very future of children everywhere could be put at risk soon?

    Before I started the AWAREness Campaign in 2001, I fully anticipated that the publication of peer-reviewed scientific evidence regarding human population dynamics and human overpopulation of the Earth would be rigorously scrutinized, carefully examined and objectively reported by appropriately trained and educated experts. To my astonishment that did not occur. The experts remained mute. The evidence was neither sensibly refuted nor affirmed. There was only a deafening silence. After some months passed, I concluded that experts must not believe the evidence regarding the human population but could not rebutt it either. So the AWAREness Campaign began. Even now, years later, I believe the silence of so many indicates that the research is virtually irrefutable on the one hand and unbelievable on the other. It appears that we are in need of a transformed scientific imagination by means of which scientists with appropriate expertise are freed from inadequate thought and time-honored theory…freed to carefully examine and skillfully report new, unforeseen and unfortunately unwelcome scientific research regarding the human population.

    So here we are in 2010. With the rare exception of a handful of pre-eminent scientists who are willing to speak truth-as-he-sees-it to the powerful, elective mutism is effectively vanquishing science with regard to extant evidence of human population numbers.

    If the research to which I have unsuccessfully tried to draw attention for so long is fatally flawed and completely wrong, then I trust esteemed scientists like Geoff Dabelko at the WWIC accept my invitation to expose me for the fool that I surely am. On the other hand, if the scientific evidence is somehow on the correct track, then there is plenty of work for everyone in the human community to begin doing in earnest. It appears to me that there is just enough space-time for us to transform human consciousness, adopt sustainable lifestyles and right-size business enterprises, but we need to get started now.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population, established 2001
    Chapel Hill, NC
    http://sustainabilityscience.org/content.html?contentid=1176
    http://sustainabilitysoutheast.org/
    http://www.panearth.org/
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08467259827528678494 Michael
    Tom, your point about civil society oversight is an excellent one. It — and also the media — must be on the frontlines to warn against potentially troubling investments. As you suggest, general publics have had more success than governments or international organizations in squelching investors' plans. Geoff, my sense is that these large-scale land acquisitions were indeed a direct response to the protectionism imposed in 2007-08. With food exporters shutting down their exports, market shortages ensued and commodity prices became too high for food-importing nations to bear. With insufficient land and water to obtain food indigenously, these nations simply looked abroad.
  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16652548783647029675 Teal
    The World Bank seems to have a bit of a crisis of identity: a risk-averse lending agency or a politically-powerful development organization. The land grabbing report is filled to the brim with this internal struggle — the normative standards for all investors, the safe practice guidelines for responsible sale of massive amounts of land…they do indeed smack of a large bank eager to open a BOP market. Perhaps I am the naive one, but it strikes me as a bit scary to have the Bank back land grabbing. I'm not sure it's wrong, but with the most powerful development agency (not money wise, but clout wise) giving an essential seal of approval I fear negative social and environmental outcomes. But, I hope this fear is misplaced.
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