Oxfam reaction following outcome of Committee for World Food Security discussion on land grabbing

Published: 13th October 2010


Duncan Pruett: Oxfam policy advisor on land

Good ideas have been put forward, but the question remains whether UN member states will take responsibility for turning these proposals into actions. In spite of a good debate, the first of its kind at the UN, a sense of urgency was still missing. For instance, not one country responded to the civil society proposal to consider emergency measures to stop damaging land grabs today. Evidence shows that this practice is irreversibly transforming the agricultural landscape and putting the livelihoods of countless millions of small scale farmers and other vulnerable groups at risk”.

There appears to be growing support for some important measures such as promotion of the Right to Food in land investments;and the principle of Free Prior and Informed consent and forms of agricultural investment which do not involve the transfer of the land rights of local populations. The strong will to involve local communities in the development of the international response to land grabs is also encouraging. And there was a clear call from several governments for the CFS to be responsible for taking this process forward”.

However, there was a lot of rhetoric about ‘win win’ solutions and many governments seemed mainly eager to promote their own solutions, with precious little self criticism. Furthermore, the unreasonable demands placed on poor countries by private investors were highlighted clearly – some companies have been demanding large tracts of land in Africa for free and offering peanuts in return”.

Governments have until World Food Day to agree on a plan of action to stop the highly destructive impact of land grabs on the lives of poor people”.

Note to editors:

The CFS will consider the outcomes of today’s discussions in plenary.

Oxfam spokespersons are available in Rome for interviews in Italian, Spanish, English, German, Dutch and French.

Follow Oxfam staff tweeting from the Committee for World Food Security #CFS10 event: http://twitter.com/Oxfam/oxfam-cfs10

Contact information

Gabriele Carchella: +39 320 477 78 95 gabriele.carchella@oxfamitalia.org
Magali Rubino: + 33 6 30 46 66 04 mrubino@oxfamfrance.org