Traidcraft | 30 January 2013
Investors running wild on land: the threats posed by international investment agreements
Traidcraft Trade and Investment Policy Advisor Rebecca Varghese Buchholz on the worrying trend of land acquisitions in developing countries...
The increasing scale and pace of land acquisitions in developing countries is a worrying trend. Is this investment leading to greater food insecurity and human rights violations as communities are being pushed off their land and their access to resources curtailed? Or is it in fact leading to increased agricultural productivity and food availability?
A lot depends on the regulation of foreign investment.
With land playing an explosive role in domestic development strongly impacting livelihoods, foreign investment in land more than any other foreign investment, must be carefully governed to ensure that it doesn’t undermine development goals.
However, evidence suggests that current regulation of foreign investment in land is completely inadequate posing additional risks to food security.
A recent briefing note by Traidcraft discusses the threats posed by current regulation of foreign investment in land highlighting that food security and other human rights concerns often come at the cost of excessive protection of foreign investors’ rights.
Reforming the current investment regime of International Investment Agreements and International Investment Contracts to restrict investor rights and increase obligations including compliance with the Voluntary Guidelines on Land Tenure could go a long way in ensuring that investment benefits not only large export sectors but also contributes to food security.