Land grabbing by pension funds and other financial institutions must be stopped
Driven by high food prices, increasing demand for agrofuels, raw materials and grain fed livestock, and low returns from beleaguered financial markets, the number of corporations, governments, public and private financial institutions engaging in large-scale acquisitions of land in the global South. Millions of hectares of land have been leased or bought up in recent years, mainly to produce food or fuel for the international market. As a result, peasants, herders, fishers and other rural households are being dispossessed of their means to feed themselves and their communities, sometimes through promises of jobs, sometimes at gunpoint. Read the full statement.
Oxfam and the undersigned civil society organisations and activist groups serve notice to these pension funds and other private and public financial institutions, and to the States that are in a position to regulate them. The human rights mentioned above imply the extraterritorial obligation of these States to urgently ensure that these funds and institutions:
Stop speculation on land and other damaging investments in the global food chain, including land deals and financial participation in agribusinesses, where land grabbing cannot be excluded ex ante, and investing in complex financial products based on food commodity derivatives or agricultural land.
Publicly disclose complete information about any direct or indirect financing of land acquisition and other deals that might involve land grabbing. Such disclosure should be based upon diligent analysis of the entire investment chain, irrespective of whether or not the financial services provided are earmarked for land acquisition. This is required to break the culture of secrecy surrounding many of these deals, and to allow stakeholders and public interest groups to take action.
Be subject to mandatory, prior and independent assessment of the potential impacts of investments and products on tenure rights, livelihoods, the environment and the progressive realisation of the right to adequate food. These assessments must enable fund managers and other financial institutions to prove at all times that they have no stakes in firms or in operations that are involved in land grabs.