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Land Rights, International Law, and a Shrinking Planet

By: International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), Lorenzo Cotula

As the media spotlight on ‘land grabbing’ wanes, there are new opportunities to interrogate the deeper-level transformations in control over natural resources at local to global levels. The effects of some land deals are now visible on the ground. Lands previously used for common grazing or foraging have been converted to monoculture, although only a fraction of the land acquired has been cultivated. Other, less tangible but equally important, changes are also taking place. These are shifting the balance between competing natural resource claims — for example, between local land rights and commercial land concessions — and between private interests and public authority. Developments in international law are shaping these shifts while also creating new spaces for contestation and accountability.

This paper has been produced under the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED)’s Legal tools for citizen empowerment project.

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Uploaded on: Sep 12, 2017
Last Updated: Sep 13, 2017
Year Published: 2015
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