Land rights advocates are hoping ASEAN will come up with a regulatory framework to check private sector investment in land, particularly for agriculture, as land grabs and land-related conflicts soar in the region.
Last week, the Land Matrix "land grab" database was released. On paper, they have a strong methodology and strict criteria about projects to be included. In practice, they seem to violate their own rules, at least when it comes to Chinese "projects" in Africa.
The global rush to buy farmland continues, and international investors are focusing on the poorest countries with weak land-rights security for deals, according to a report by the Land Matrix research group.