Numerous studies have shown that large scale land-based investments in developing countries are fuelling corruption and illegalities (Dealing with Disclosure, Global Witness, 2012), and can lead to biodiversity loss, deforestation, and other permanent environmental damage. The effects on customary systems of tenure and traditional livelihoods of millions of people and particularly women can be devastating. In Zimbabwe, for example, biofuel is often produced on land acquired in shady deals between an international investing company the government, and unscrupulous local communities.
In Cameroon, industrial oil palm monoculture development sponsored by EU financiers is depriving local farmers of their land and threatening large forest areas.
Fern and TI commend the EU Parliament for sending an important signal to EU donors as they consider increasing land based investments in Africa, and ask the EU to establish legally binding standards to regulate large scale land investments in developing countries. This will eliminate EU funding for projects associated with human rights violations, land grabbing, and deforestation.
We call on the EU to:
- Ensure implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure including its anti-corruption principles, as part of any land based EU funding.
- Apply and further develop anti-corruption legislation and ensure the complete disclosure of land deals, and the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, inclusive of men, women and young people.
- Increase policy coherence and synergies between international land investments and forest policies, including adopting specific measures to tackle large scale land investments, and associated rights abuses linked to conversion timber stemming from land use change for commercial agriculture and plantation development.
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T: +49 30 34 38 20 666
Image: Flickr, Brian Harries