News, Analysis and research on Land Reform and Agrarian Change around the world
Recent protests in North Africa and the Middle East have been linked in part to rising food prices, which hit a record in January, according to the United Nations.
ABSTRACT Faustino Torrez summarizes the findings of the Agrarian Reform Commission of La Via Campesina, an international peasant movement that initiated the Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform.
KEYWORDS integral agrarian reform; World Bank; land grabbing; peasantry; food sovereignty
ABSTRACT Shalmali Guttal and Sofia Monsalve argue that climate change will mean a change in local knowledge and resilience, which are at the basis of good agricultural and ecosystem management. Before new ways are found, rural communities are likely to be rendered more vulnerable and dependent on external inputs and techniques, and lose precious local knowledge about food, medicinal plants, soil, water and coastal management, and forest and biodiversity protection. Therefore, public policies and resources must be redirected towards supporting land use and agricultural practices that cool the planet, nurture biodiversity and save energy. These policies will check global warming, achieve food sovereignty and reduce distress out-migration from rural to urban areas.
KEYWORDS commons; agribusiness; agrofuels; biodiversity; local knowledge; smallhold producers
ABSTRACT In their introduction to this journal issue, the Land Research Action Network warns that a new global wave of land grabbing is underway. The current trend of investments is triggered by the interrelated crises in food, finance, energy and climate that have been spurred by decades of corporate driven globalization, neo-liberal policy regimes and natural resource exploitation. They argue that one positive outcome of the multiple crises is a renewed interest among peoples, academics, entrepreneurs, scientists and policymakers in alternative models of production, consumption and using energy and resources. They look forward to measures that will redistribute, protect and nurture land and water resources paving the way for a new framework of governance of land and the natural commons, which puts local communities in control of their own territories and livelihoods.
KEYWORDS privatization; world bank; IAASTD; biodiversity; eco system; livelihoods
ABSTRACT In the contemporary world we face a systemic crisis where multiple dimensions converge, including an economic crisis, a financial crisis, a climate crisis, an energy crisis, a food crisis, and runaway land grabbing. Peter Rosset argues for a paradigm shift toward food sovereignty based on genuine agrarian reform and sustainable peasant agriculture, which he sees as the only way to address the multiple crises.
KEYWORDS La Via Campesina; food sovereignty; food crisis; agrarian reform
For generations, the peoples of the Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) have practised locally-developed, diverse forms of agriculture and fisheries.
Participatory democracy has been studied as an auxiliary to state processes and as an institutional and cultural part of social movements. Studies of the use of participa- tory democracy by the Zapatistas of Mexico and the Movimento Sem Terra (Landless Movement—MST) of Brazil show a shared concern with autonomy, in particular avoidance of demobilization through the clientelism and paternalism induced by gov- ernment programs and political parties. Both movements stress training in democracy (the experience of “being government”) and the obligation to participate. Detailed examination of their governance practices may be helpful to communities building democratic movements in other places.
Keywords: Democracy, Social movements, Governance, Zapatistas, Movimento Sem Terra, MST