Contested Global Landscapes

A Multidisciplinary Initiative of the Cornell Institute for the Social Sciences

by Anna Locke and Andrew Norton, Overseas Development Institute

Last week saw the annual World Bank Land and Poverty Conference in Washington DC. This event has grown substantially over the years, concentrating in one place more than 800 researchers, development practitioners and partners, civil society organisations and government representatives.

A dominant theme that flowed across the conference was how to get the most out of large-scale land-based agricultural investments by sharing the benefits more widely and guarding more effectively against negative social impacts. The discussion highlighted the role of equitable investment models and greater transparency around land acquisitions.

These are longstanding issues; however, they have been given new urgency by the forthcoming G8 discussions in June, where David Cameron has placed the three ‘T’s’ — tax, trade and transparency — centre stage, and where the question of land transparency is being discussed actively.

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